My Journal Ritual

Posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016


I use a blank-page hard-bound notebook as a journal. For the last few years I’ve bought them from Olyphant Art & Media in Olympia.


It takes me about seven months to fill this kind of notebook. I write reflections, notes about meetings or conversations, the occasional list, snippets of overheard conversations for use in other writing, and practice my sketchnoting.


I’ve developed a small ritual to follow when I need to switch to a new one. First, I review the filled notebook, page by page. Then, inside the new front cover I copy over several quotes, reminders, and questions from the previous notebook.

I’ll transfer from the filled notebook:

Some language prohibitions I impose on myself when speaking or writing:

“Literally;” “going forward or moving forward;” “say a little bit [more] about…;” “struggle or struggling;” “anyway…;” “kind of, sort of, kinda, sorta.” And what I believe is called “uptalking,” or the rising inflection at the end of a sentence as if one is asking a question but actually is not.

I believe that avoiding these words or phrases improves the quality of my speaking and writing. In this same vein, see and listen to this by Taylor Mali. Two minutes and thirty seconds of brilliance.

A quote from Rumi…

“Out beyond the ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”

Five questions from the July 2010 Shambhala Sun (now Lion’s Roar) magazine…

What is going on right now?

Can I see this as my path?

What is my most believed thought?

What is this?

Can I let this experience just be?

And four questions from Lodro Rinzler…

Is what I’m about to say true?

Is it necessary?

Is it kind?

Is this the right time to say it?

An addition for today’s ritual

Later today, at my desk or perhaps in a coffee shop with my new notebook, I will add to the above this quote from Chögyam Trungpa, from his book Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior:

NownessThe way to experience nowness is to realize that this very moment, this very point in your life, is always the occasion. So the consideration of where you are and what you are, on the spot, is very important. That is one reason that your family situation, your domestic everyday life, is so important. You should regard your home as sacred, as a golden opportunity to experience nowness. Appreciating sacredness begins very simply by taking an interest in all the details of your life.

Then the ritual will be complete, and I’ll turn to the first fresh blank page and try to make a good beginning.