The visual journal has power. And I am more convinced than ever that the journal is a powerful tool for life. The journal is not about making “pretty pages” or simply recording life. It is a living document changing to fit mood and circumstance – an Everything Book that aids in the experience of life. It is a place to collect memories, to dream, to dump our emotions, to change our lives, and to make sense of our crazy world.
I wholeheartedly believe the visual journal has the power to change lives, and new life paths can emerge within the pages. I have seen the journal’s power to transform in my own life as well as in the lives of my friends. I have seen how the journal was a large part of Dave seeking and getting his MFA, and I have seen how many of my friends have reconnected with their art and were able to make art a priority once again. Because the visual journal is a place for us to hope and dream it helps create new direction in life and helps us to figure out what we most want from life.
The visual journal goes beyond being a place to plan the future, and it is place to get in touch with our vulnerable aspects – to get to know our selves intimately. Because it is foremost a journal, we deal with the heartache, the drama, and the confusion of everyday life. We pour our doubts and our thoughts into the pages allowing us to process the emotions and the energies that grip us. With words, images, color, and lines we deal with life and make sense of it. The visual journal connects us with ourselves.
I know that my own life gets focus and direction as I work through a myriad of things in my journal, and it has helped change my life. The book, the workshops, the presentations, the seminars, have all come from the journal. Long before I began presenting about the journal with Dave, I kept a journal. Slowly I began to realize its power as I poured myself into it. I dumped my hopes and dreams, my pains and disappointments, my triumphs and passions into the pages of my journal figuring out who I was and what I wanted and needed. And then I began to share. My life took on a new direction as I began to feel like an artist and began to see how the visual journal could affect lives.
To this day, I use the journal to deal with my life and to affect change within it. As I grieve over my recent loss, I work directly and indirectly with that grief, and though I may not be specifically addressing the loss at points as I work, it informs my choices and embeds the pages with an emotion only known to me. My mind turns and churns as I lay down layers of watercolor or ink creating an unconscious subtext. At other times I specifically address the pain and the grief, and it all helps me to cope – helps me to be present with the loss and not bury it inside. Again and again, I have turned to the journal to celebrate the good – to deal with the bad – to discover my true humanness.
So, I keep sharing my journey hopefully helping others in their journey on this earth.