Creativity As A Spiritual Response

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June = Journals

We are nearing the end of June.  In this month, we have looked at the idea of journals as containers, journals that we keep in various forms, sometimes without calling them journals.

I hope this topic has been useful to you.

When I originally imagined the topic of journals, my desire was to encourage in myself,  and in others, a willingness to look upon their journal writing as and opportunity to make unique and wonderful statements.  Keeping a personal journal is a revealing of oneself at a given place and time, to oneself.  Yes, themes may seem to repeat themselves and yet like a spiral there is probably some movement if we look for it.

My desire has also been to dissuade the understanding of importance of the journal as a tidy account of one’s activities.  Our lives, at least my life, are rarely tidy.  It is in the messiness that I encounter on the page, that things come together and change happens, or seemingly doesn’t.  How about you?  My journals also reveal to me how comfortable I am at a given time with non-linear creative thought which circles and has surprising tangents and then circles again.  I find that paper can hold those tangents in ways that enable me to reflect on them – seeing a continuity I hadn’t previously appreciated, which enables choice making.

What I would like to encourage for you, and for me, is to understand that journals are important tools in one’s creative and spiritual toolbox.  They are not the only one, but as with all genuinely useful tools, when we need them, we need them.   Please keep space and time for your journals, know where they are, and use them.

We will be adding other tools as we go along.

Journal Prompt:  Draw, or write about your current creative and spiritual tool-box.  What is in it?  What do you think you would like in it?  Is there anything in your creative and spiritual tool-box that surprises you?  Why?


Creativity As A Spiritual Response

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June = Journals

Earlier this month,  I marveled at the number of journals for sale on the shelves of a local chain bookstore.  Every time I visit the store I continue to look at them – not desiring them – but rather enjoying their invitation to journal writing.

Personally, I have found in the past that when attempting to write in such  beautiful journals that I am suddenly self-conscious.  I feel that I must write something within those pages as beautiful as the journal itself.  I don’t experience those particular feelings as an invitation to freedom and  self-expression.  How about you?

Throughout this blog I have written often that your journal is just that – a private place for reflections.  Therefore the form that you use is really up to you, and what works best for you.  Please use whatever form that you find comfortable.

However, today I wish to introduce you to a simple art journal, created from general office supplies that you may already have at home.   I have personally used this form of art journal, both as a means of exploration and expression.  If it appeals to you, please give it a try.

Suggested Initial Supply List:

1 Large 3 Ring Binder

3 Ring Plastic Page (Sheet) Protectors

Card Stock


Lined Paper smaller than the size of the sheet protector

Assorted templates

Old Magazines

Glitter (Optional)





If you already have bits and pieces of scrapbook supplies, old buttons, thread or other items that may be decorative, gather them as well.  I keep all of these things in a box so that everything is easily at hand.

Begin by hand writing a brief journal page on lined paper .  Once you have written your journal pages, decide whether you wish the content to be visible or mostly invisible.  Only you know.

Glue the journal page to a piece of card stock.   Using the magazines, create a collage that relates in some way to what you have written.  Glue the collage pieces over the writing so that it is surrounding the writing or even covering the writing in places.  Continue to decorate the page with drawing, collage  until it is visually satisfying to you.

(Should you wish to keep the writing separate from the collage process, place the writing in an envelope and tape or glue the journal page to the card stock and collage around it in that manner.  Continue to decorate the page, possibly decorating the envelope as well.)

Let the collage dry if necessary.

Insert the decorated journal page into a sheet protector, so that it is visible.  The next time that you journal, repeat the same process.  This time, place the decorated collage page into the same sheet protector with the front sides facing outward so that the images can be seen on both sides.  Continue in this manner each time that you create a journal page until the binder is filled.

In a short time you will have a container that is rich both in your own writing, as well as the images you have chosen.






Creativity As A Spiritual Response

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June = Journals

When is the best time to journal?  Morning or Evening?

This kind of question fills me with some consternation – how about you?

I don’t want to add another “should” to the shoulders of men and women who are trying to begin a process of keeping a journal.  My response is, and always will be, when is a right time for you?  Only you know.

I write as a woman who has been a single parent, who has gotten up early to go to work or school and who upon returning home after work or school, had a full evening and fell into bed and was instantly asleep, only to repeat the same thing the next day.

And yet, there are some who are able to write in the morning, and others who write regularly every evening, summing up their day.  There is value in this practice if one can do it.  However, my life has not always afforded me that kind of time.  How about yours?

And yet there is time, if we look for it.  It may not be enough time to write more than a few sentences, but a few sentences are a journal entry,  moment of reflection, a moment of contemplation, a moment of discovery.

What time works for you?


Creativity As A Spiritual Practice

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June = Journals

I love this image that I found on Pexels.  I can remember many happy hours reading and drawing as a child while exactly in this position.  I love the intensity of the child in the image.  What do you think?  Does it bring back any memories?

On June 11th,  I posted a question for your response.  It was “How many different forms of journals do you keep?  I also revealed my early longing for a journal that was similar to a ship’s log, and a search for the appropriate containers in which to reflect upon creativity, spirituality and life.

My own response to my question is that I never found one container that held all that I wanted  to be held.  My ultimate solution was to intentionally choose journals as containers for all that I wish to reflect upon.

Currently I have the following journals:

  1. An art journal of personal thoughts, spiritual reflection as well as creative expression.  This is often, not always, a three ring binder with sheet protectors.  I don’t keep my individual art journals forever.  However, I do want to keep some of my creative work and ideas.  Gluing smaller pictures, quotations etc. to a piece of card stock and then putting it inside a binder allows me to access what I have created.
  2. A HUGE art journal for an on-line creativity and business class.
  3. A notebook journal for dialogues with an individual expressive arts canvas.  The painting also becomes a form of a journal in its own right.
  4. A notebook journal for an on-line marketing group.
  5. A notebook journal for medical appointments and comments that I am keeping on behalf of a family member.
  6. I have a leather journal that I take with me to take notes at conferences and events.
  7. I record quotations that are meaningful to me as a journal page on my computer

In any and all of these “journals”  I may reflect upon my life, my relationship with God, my relationships with others, my creativity, my joys or my fears.   At times I have still more than these particular journals actively in use.  While  I write or create mostly in sequential order, the journal entries may at times invite additions by using another color of pen or by employing collage techniques.  These journals are neither pretty, nor ugly, and certainly not written in precise cursive script.   Rather than a ship’s log, they are places of energy and transformation.

I do not personally intend for my journals to be historical records, rather the purpose is to provide places of personal wrestling, discovery, and creativity.   I do believe that journals can be holy spaces and that the process of keeping a journal is a potentially transformational and holy process.  At this time, these journals work for me.

I don’t share this as advice to follow my style.  Rather, I hope that you might look at where you do engage in reflection, what forms you may use, and how you record your process.   I trust that if you are journaling in any form, and are feeling that you have a place express yourself then your own process is working.  Also, if your desire is for a spiritual connection, a place of prayer, and your current process is working for you, please continue.

If you believe that you do not currently journal, I invite you to look more broadly at the process.  Perhaps you may do so in ways that you may not have previously considered.

A journal can have such a simple format, a piece of paper (lined or un-lined), a pen or pencil, and willingness (or need) to write.

However, your journal may also be a video, a camera, typed on-line, painted, sculpted or may be expressed in a garden landscape.  I heard earlier this week of a person whose quilts are their journal.  The importance appears to be consistency, a willingness to record in some way where one is at this particular moment, a willingness to reflect, a willingness to listen to one’s expression, as well as a willingness to change or be transformed.

What do you think?  What is your ideal container for journaling?







Creativity As A Spiritual Practice

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June = Journals

Many years ago, when I was a teen-ager, a frequent gift to another girl was a diary.  the diary usually had  a pastel cover and an all important lock, with a tiny key.  The pages were lined, with spaces indicated for each entry.  The amount of space for each entry was a total of about an 1 1/2 inches height by about 4 inches width.   This space on which to write was ridiculously tiny.  Perhaps you remember these?

In a digital age, I imagine that these books are far too restrictive to a tech-savvy young person.

However, these books are a reminder of the importance of privacy.  If you are to write about your truth as you experience it in the moment, privacy is one element that becomes invaluable.   My request is that you honor and respect that need in yourself.

Yes, there are diaries and journals that have been published.  And yes, these diaries or journals can provide an invaluable entry point into history including the daily life, spiritual practices, hopes, dreams and concerns of the person writing.  Some have even been written deliberately to be found and shared.

Still, that is not the case for most of us.

If you are to write, or learn to write, from your own truth, be careful who you share it with by respecting your own need for privacy.

And one more thought.

Should you wish to, or have reason to, let go of journals that you have kept in the past.  Please let go of them with care, as you would any valuable document.

Creativity As A Spiritual Response


June = Journal

Writers are encouraged to keep a journal.  Journal writing  creates a space in which other writing can emerge.  Artists too, are encouraged to keep a sketchbook of images they draw.  Writing, as well as images are most often recorded and dated sequentially.  Perhaps by giving voice, and certainly by providing opportunities for reflection, these practices aid creativity.

Whether or not we describe ourselves as writers or artists, most of us have and use a cell phone to record images.  These images may be shared, may be printed, but most often remain on the individual cell phone.

Do these images themselves, dated sequentially, become a journal?  What do you think?  Are they a journal that is kept on the phone, added to, but rarely reflected upon?  Is it possible that reflection upon these images might become a catalyst for creativity?  What might be the result of this practice?  Please comment.


Creativity As A Spiritual Response

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June = Journals

The following is a brief ,and certainly not exclusive, list of journal writing opportunities:

  1. when reflecting on one’s past life or future goals
  2. while in the midst of major life events such as graduations, weddings, births of children or grandchildren, illness, divorce, and terminal illness.
  3. when feeling confused, irritated, or afraid
  4. when feeling overwhelmed with the news, local and world events and tragedies
  5. when traveling
  6. when reflecting upon and responding to a book one has read
  7. when reading scripture verses or other spiritual writing
  8. when praying
  9. when learning something new or establishing a new practice
  10. when practicing gratitude.

Creativity As A Spiritual Practice

June = Journal

By now, you may we wondering what is up with the journals?  It is almost half-way through the month, and this blog is still about journals.  Yes, it is!

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I am inviting you

to journey with me on a two-year plus path of exploring creativity as a spiritual practice.  Together, we will be exploring one topic a month.  I hope that this exploration encourages your own exploration, your own discovery, your own reflections as well as your own artistic and creative expressions

So why did I begin with looking at journals, and keeping journals as a process?  My supposition was that we might need a container, or containers to give space, even a little space, to the places we might venture together.  Journals are time-honored containers for such kinds of adventures.  They are certainly one important item in a spiritual and creative “tool kit”.

At the end of the month, I will introduce the next topic.  Until then, it will be primarily blogging on the topic of journals.  Other offerings related to the topics are being imagined and produced.  I will introduce them as they are ready.

Please comment, ask questions, or make suggestions!    I love taking a journey with companions such as yourself!