I studied handwriting analysis, or graphology, as its known, for several years. Handwriting is a science, and is as unique as the science of fingerprint analysis. It is commonly used by businesses to weed out unwanted individuals during the hiring process. Investigators of crime will often bring in graphologists to determine forgery, or even character traits in a suspect (like the likelihood of dishonesty). Handwriting has always fascinated me, especially when I learned that even alcoholics are trained to write differently in order to change brain patterns.
So, when I was in therapy and my counselor asked me to keep a journal, and to make sure it was handwritten, I had an understanding of why she did not want me to type it on a computer. Handwriting changes the brain!
She gave me a leading sentence to start with, like all the men in my life have been…
Of course, I thought the subject was too broad, and I objected. But I did it because I wanted to break old patterns and become emotionally healthy.
She made it clear that this journaling was for my eyes only, and I should never share it with anyone. That gave me a perception of safety that enabled me to start.
She told me not to plan what I was going to write, not to second-guess or edit myself – a seemingly impossible request at the time – and to keep writing for at least fifteen minutes without stopping.
Something mysterious happens when you’re writing automatically, without censoring yourself. As the hand writes, buried feelings and opinions come to the surface and you are genuinely shocked at what appears on the page! I’m not a brain specialist, so I can’t explain what happens, but suddenly you’re writing memories and feelings you never knew you had. Here’s an example.
In the all the men in my life have been… exercise, my mind started in the present and worked backwards. Of course, Daddy was the one I finished with because he was the first man in my life. I was amazed at the number of men who had been in my life in one capacity or another, so a mere fifteen minutes per time was not enough time.
The conclusion I came to, as I saw definite patterns evolving on paper, was that most men in my life were weak in character and had used me to their own advantage. Wow! I had never seen that before! So what was the next logical question?
What has caused me to settle for weak men in my life?
What was the need I was trying to fill?
Do you see how this could turn into an autobiography? The only difference is that I would be the one learning about myself! One discovery leads to another, and another, and so on.
That’s why I am now a believer in journaling. I’m not talking about a diary or an appointment book where you write what you did that day, or with whom, or what you need to do tomorrow. It’s not about doing. It is more about being. It reveals the why of how you’ve always been, and the how of how different you can be with this new insight.
For example, I’ve taught my daughter to keep a journal of all the times God has provided for her in miraculous ways. It doesn’t even have to be full sentences, just enough dated phrases to jog her memory down the road. That way, when she is discouraged, she can reread the “Blessing Journal” and regain her attitude of gratitude.
I will write more on journaling. This is just to introduce you to one of the blessings I have personally experienced in my life. There’s plenty of data to back up what regular journaling does for us on all levels. We benefit physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We even sleep better, and reduce our anxiety levels; but more about that later.
For now, it is enough to say journaling is one way to allow God to heal us from the inside out. And it costs only the price of a notebook or journal.
(c) 2009 April Lorier