Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Optional: Pens or pencils (at least one per participant)
- Optional: Sheets of writing paper (at least three per participant) or notebooks that can be used as spiritual practice journals (one per participant)
- Optional: Microphone
Preparation for Activity
- Decide whether or not you will encourage journaling throughout the Spirit in Practice workshop series. If so, this activity can provide an introduction to the practice for the course. If not, this activity simply provides an introduction to journaling, which in itself can be a spiritual practice.
Description of Activity
If you choose, introduce the expectation that participants will journal regularly throughout the Spirit in Practice workshop series. (This would be a good time to pass out notebooks, if you are providing them.) Otherwise, simply introduce journaling as a time-honored, powerful, and fun spiritual practice.
Ask whether any participants already have a journaling practice. Encourage those who do to share briefly about it, noting especially any benefits they've observed in their own lives. Then elicit a list of hurdles and difficulties people have had with journaling. Record these on newsprint.
Emphasize that there is no one right way to journal. Entries can take the form of lists; disjointed thoughts doodled on the page; traditional narrative; a letter to God, a revered ancestor, a valued teacher, or a dear friend; ruminations on questions raised by the workshops; a record of dreams; or virtually anything else.
Encourage participants not to let assumptions about journaling keep them from the practice of journaling. Instead, encourage them to use the journal in whatever way keeps them using it, and to call that "journaling."
Note that these journals are for the participants' own private use-no one will be compelled to share anything they've entered. At the same time, everyone is strongly encouraged to make regular entries, at least for the duration of this course.
If time permits, invite participants to make their first entry now. If they would like, they can journal about what brought them here and what they hope to receive.
Including All Participants
Due to learning differences or personal preference, some participants may not enjoy writing. You can encourage these participants to draw in their journals or to simply sit in silent reflection during the journaling time.