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My Journaling Class

Tonight, I’ll teach the second class in my Journaling for
Deeper Awareness
session. It’s a small class (5) because I scheduled the lesson
rather late in the evening, midweek, and people around here don’t stay out past sundown. Next time, (January) I’m offering a Friday
5:30 after work class, which more people have expressed an interest in
attending. Meanwhile, I’m now working with several lovely writing students who dared sign up for this first attempt to add writing to my Yoga program. The people enrolled
are reflective and open to self-discovery, and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful for their participation. Last week
a few people couldn’t make the first class, so tonight I will play catch up as
the group finally hits it’s stride (or so I hope).  It is an absolute joy to finally be involved in writing as a
teacher, though I will admit I am somewhat conscientious due to this being a
new subject matter for me. I am normally so confident as a teacher, but
something about teaching and not moving makes this experience different.
Movement centers me and makes me feel strong. When I am sitting still and
depending on academic prowess, it feels like my every weakness is winding
around my leg like a boa constrictor and I have to be careful or I will trip at
every turn.   

 But I plow forward, learning as I go. I wasn’t sure where I
wanted to hold the class at first, because the Yoga loft is such an inviting
environment – thought provoking and quiet, and the tranquility in the air is
inspirational for writing in my opinion, but I ended up setting up a round
table in an open space in the lobby near the tea station where I put out fruit
and nuts for everyone to enjoy. It just seemed a more traditional set up for a
writing class, so I bought some comfortable chairs (rather than my metal
folding chairs) and tried to create a more conference type of set –up. After
one lesson, I’m still not sure this is the best way to go, so I might
experiment and invite the students upstairs on longue on the yoga blankets for
some discussion and sharing tonight. That is one thing about teaching a class
for the first time that I hate– you have to experiment and feel your way
through – the necessary trial and error is bound to make the class less ideal
than future sessions when you’ve had time to fine tune your systems for
communicating information. Ah well, we all must start somewhere.

 Last week, the group discussion centered on the value of
journal keeping, issues regarding privacy and writing honestly despite fear. We then addressed an overview of the broad spectrum of techniques available to
help a writer make sense of his or her life. I especially tried to emphasize
how important keeping a journal is, because while it may be a collection of
private meanderings, it still impacts the world. Keeping a journal changes the
way you perceive the world. It changes YOU and that means it impacts how you
react to others and make choices for yourself – thus it creates change. This is
the power of writing – it creates internal shifts that eventually leek out into
the external world. Yep, I totally believe in writing as a path to evolution.  

 Tonight we will begin with exercises to explore the seven
basic techniques used in journals to help develop self-awareness.  (Ha – If you want to know what they are,
you have to sign up for my class). Anyway, rather than get too preachy here,
I’ll just say I am having fun and getting a grip on the subject matter.

 The best thing about teaching is how it forces you to learn.
Organizing a class and teaching a subject that you feel passionate about brings
greater focus to the skill, forcing you to really consider and define what makes
an effective artist.  I became a
much better dancer after I became a teacher. I then became a much better
teacher once I became a school director. Each level requires a deeper look into
the basic elements that unearth talent and unleash potential. Hopefully, the
same kind of thing will be a result of my writing classes. Already I feel
myself becoming a much more organized and effective journal writer. I’ve been
aware of certain journaling techniques for some time, but I didn’t really have the discipline or desire to try them. Now, I feel compelled to explore the
positive and negative fallout of writing lists, profiles, unsent letters,
dialogues, map of consciousness, and altered points of view etc…. Then I can
teach the methods with conviction.  Meanwhile, my personal journal is not only a tool for clarifying my
thoughts and feelings; it’s become a deep pool of creative inspiration and
ideas. Can’t complain about that.

 So, after a long stint of feeling too repressed by my
frustrating life to dare put words on paper, I am writing again, learning and
growing in my zest to become a better teacher. I think this is a good thing all
around – for me and for the students who trust me to lead them towards
opportunities to grow. I guess, time will tell, but I must say, it feels good
to let my fingers fly once again.

 

 

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

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