Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Joys of Journaling

DiaryAllenGardinerImage via WikipediaI will be conducting a workshop tomorrow evening (that would be on May 5th, or Cinco de Mayo, as it were) on The Joys of Journaling. It's a part of the Kardon Institute for the Arts Self-Care Series down in Philadelphia.

In honor of this event, I dug out my very first diary which I got for Christmas when I was ten years old. (I know, I know, why the heck is a person with a Jewish mother and a Muslim father getting Christmas presents? What can I tell you? We like giving/getting presents in our family, and we like Christmas songs. I mean, what's not to like?)

Anyway, I've been reading some of the things I wrote back when I was a mere 10, and I have to say they are hilariously funny and sort of poignant from my now forty-five year-old perspective. 

It's interesting (okay, and it's a little embarrassing) to re-visit my younger self and to remember what was so important back then that it caused me all manner of angst. 

It's been an absolute delight preparing for this workshop, because it's no longer (ahem) 1976, and the options for journaling have expanded exponentially. I mean, with the advent of technology (let alone the gradual expansion of my no longer all that young mind) there are, literally, no limits to the many fascinating and creative ways we can come up with to record and to explore our thoughts, feelings, reactions, ideas, identities, and general...stuff!

Admittedly, even though I very much enjoy writing (and reading!) blog posts, and I've certainly written my share of songs that started out in journal form, I remain true to my favorite form of journaling: I have a big stack of trusty wire-bound, college-ruled notebooks filled with the scribbling of whatever comfortable fine-tipped ball-point pen was serving me at the time. 

Now, the plan for tomorrow is to try out some journaling exercises, and I'm hoping to work some music-making in there as a part of the self-discovery process as well. I'll be taking along my little Flip camera and my tape recorder (yes, I did just say that- it's a great gadget, and I adore it for writing songs), so we can try out some alternative journal forms. 

I truly love the act of journaling (even though I sometimes actively avoid it for a period of time until I'm ready to jump in there and look at my stuff). The way I see it, journaling is a conversation I have with myself. 

In terms of being a music therapist, it's helped me define who I am, what I think about the work I do, and, most importantly, it's helped me to learn how to pay attention.

Writing in my diary gives me a chance to say things I can't say to my clients, and it helps me think about why I want to say those things in the first place. It gives me a chance to think through sessions that confound me, and it's a wonderful way to explore the things within me that make it hard for me to hear what my clients (and the other patient people in my life) are trying to say. 

I'm wondering if there are others of you out there who find journaling to be helpful in terms of deepening your work as a music (or any other kind of) therapist. I'd love to hear of your experiences. 


bamamusic08 said...

I agree greatly of how writing definitely helps bring greater realization to you, your life, and your beliefs. Blogging has helped me, so far I think, to deepen the meaning of everything as a whole for me.
If we do not document our emotions and events then who is to say we remember them tomorrow?

meg said...

Hi Roia. I've been journaling since I was 7 years old (my first ever entry was bragging about how I was able to stay up until midnight on New Years Eve). Weirdly, though, I tend to journal in a different place for my personal life than my professional life. Only once in a while do I write about my clients in my regular journal. Usually I do it in a separate place. Either way, though, I love writing in my journals (I have 14 volumes now) and I often recommend it to my private clients. I bet your presentation is going to be awesome.

Roia said...

@bamamusic08 I think it's interesting how blogging has become a form of journaling. I'm not sure if this is what you're saying in your comment, but the thought I had when I read it was that journals, in whatever form, can give us a sense of continuity and context (rather than living life in separate chunks). Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

@meg Hey, lady! Why am I not surprised that you're a fellow journal lover? :- ) I actually have both work and personal journals (and I should really just buy stock in wire-bound notebooks- seriously), but, because I'm me (insert eye-roll), they, of course, spill over into each other. Thank you for the vote of confidence. I think it went pretty well. Now I'm trying to get everyone on the journal bandwagon! So glad you visited!