Letter Writing Journaling
When you read a letter from someone, we are immediatelytransferred into their world, experience, and physicalreality. You can capture the same feeling by writingletters to yourself or about other people in your journal.Letter writing is the easiest form to use in journaling. Onoccasion, you might have already dabbled in writing lettersin your journal.
There are three major benefits to journaling with letters.First, the experience helps organize the event more clearlyin our mind. Second, letter writing makes it easier to seecause and affect sequences of our actions. And third,because of its intimacy, it loosens up our writing style.
Whether you have or haven't experienced letter writingpreviously, here are a few ways you can expand theexperience.
Step 1: Compile a list of people who you want to write aletter to. You can do this as a journal entry and mark thepage with a post-it note.
Step 2: Select a letter style, purpose, before you beginwriting. Since there are various types of letter writingstyles, let me present four types that I have found mosthelpful and have received the most positive feedback in myworkshops.
Style 1: Milestone letters. Writing about milestones isabout picking an event that changed your life. Whether themilestone was minor one or one that turned you around 360degrees does not matter. Even the smallest ones have truthto be released. The milestone will have either altered yourway of thinking, change your relationship with yourself orothers, or even shaken your physical or spiritual beingness.
By writing about a milestone, you weed through and determinewhat is important in your life. Additionally, the exercisehelps you understand what formed the person you are todayand explains what shifted that path.
Style 2: Release letters. Release letters allow you to ventand express your deepest emotions. This style frees buriedenergy, in turn, allowing you to think and feel throughthings, rather than keeping it corked. Please note thatyour experience may not always lead to a resolution,however, it does lead to change. You can't help but cleanhouse of those leftovers.
Here are a few examples on how you can use release letters.
Example: Have you ever finished a conversation with someonethat ruffled your feathers or left you still hearing theirwords like sounds of chalk going backwards across ablackboard? The conversation tumbles repeatedly in yourmind for hours, even days. This is a perfect time to writea release letter. Set a timer for 10 minutes and let it ripacross the page.
What you do with the release letter afterwards isn'timportant. If you feel comfortable leaving it in yourjournal, do so. If you prefer to use separate paper andburn it, do so. If you prefer to tear it out of yourjournal later, do so.
Example: You can use this same exercise to curb overspending. This process came to me years ago when I was anaccountant giving advice on how to curb over spending.
Have you ever been in the position of feeling you just"gotta buy" something. Letís say you are watchingtelevision and you see something you "gotta have." Or maybea friend recommends a book and you still have 10 others toread but the recommendation is haunting you. How aboutseeing something, someone else has that you just "gottahave." The urge, just doesn't want to relinquish its gripeven with conscious "fighting it" thoughts. By writing arelease letter, you can release this urge at least themajority of the time.
You can also use release letters to move you past the urge to eat something that isn't on your food plan.
After several release letters you can even see what need isexpressing itself and triggering these reactions. Once youidentify the trigger, the process need usually subsides.There is no guarantee that this will work all the time,however, you will probably find it provides the release themajority of the time.
Style 3: Wisdom letters. A wisdom letter is writing to yourwisdom self. A wisdom letter works well after a releaseletter because it enables the process of moving on. Theexperience allows the wisdom transition into learning andusually into a more positive light.
Adding dialogue, either in part or as the whole letter, isan excellent way to enhance the experience. Initials willhelp you transition between wisdom self to other self.
Style 4: Thank you letters. Since my parents passed, I'malways coming across things I want to thank them for. Eventhe small things seemed important to share. Now, inhindsight and wisdom, I can see how even the small thingsrippled through my life. These letters are also a specialway for keeping their memory alive.
We both know that an attitude of gratitude is a peacefulplace to be and thank you letters is one avenue you can useto be on that path. Our gratitude feelings fuel ourspiritual connections with the universe and with all livingthings. Peacefulness is also very attractive to others andwhat we want to manifest in life.
You can also use one of these letter styles to let go of the"wish I had said that instead" thoughts and feelings or toshare unfulfilled wishes and dreams that no longer fit butcan't seem to move on.
Letter writing is an excellent way to find closure orcomplete unfinished business in order to heal or learn.Whether you have or haven't already been using letterwriting in your journal, dedicate a whole week or two to theexercise. You might think that when you finish one letter,there isn't another reason to write another. Be patient,another will probably appear because you have uncovered whatwas on top. When you get tired of the exercise, stop, andswitch to another technique.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catherine Franz is a life and business coach living in
Northern Virginia. She has presented journaling workshops
over 20 years. Catherine has authored two great books on
tips and techniques of journaling. Copies available at: