The "Journals+Journeys" series features
Vagabroad diarists sharing their journey with journaling--
for your inspiration.
Cassandra is a woman whose journal is a daily reminder of tomorrow’s dreams.
At what point in your life did you start journaling? Why?
I actually starting journaling when I was a little girl, back then journals were called Diaries. I love writing in my diary because it was more than a book it was my secret hideaway place. It was the place where I could escape, feel safe and be free to express how I felt. My diary allowed me to express my hopes, dreams and desires. It was the place where I kept all my secrets.
Having journaled from a young age, do you believe you set yourself up for certain successes in your later years? If so, can you name 3 of the most essential of them?
Journaling at an early age taught me the importance of being myself, I was able to see just how different I was from everyone else, I looked different, I dressed differently, I thought differently. I never felt like I had to seek approval from others, to be who others wanted me to be, I was free to just be myself.
It also taught me the importance of living in the moment. Journaling allowed me to literally see that sometimes I may have felt a certain way on a Monday and by Wednesday I felt completely different. That emotions are not black and white, they’re mutli-colored and fickle and sometimes all over the place. It is good to have emotions but not always good to be led by them because they change from day to day.
Lastly, journaling at an early age taught me how important it is to capture and embrace ‘funny’ moments, events I would have forgotten are forever preserved in my journal. Sure one might say taking a picture will do the same thing, but we all know pictures can be deceiving. It taught me that although I am now an adult it is still important to laugh, to have fun and never let the little girl who loved writing in her diary grow up!
Has your motivation for journaling changed over the years?
As women we do a thousand things a day most often times for other people. Journaling allows me to stop the hands of time and focus on myself. It’s a quiet place where I can spend time away from the activities of the outer world and focus on my inner world, my inner peace. I can self reflect, visualize my thoughts on a canvas of paper, express myself freely without judgement. Journaling keeps me grounded and keeps me centered. For just a moment in time I can escape the worries of this world and spend time alone with the beauty of Cassandra.
What date did you start your Vagabroad Journal(s)?
I can’t remember the exact date, you might have it on file. I’ve purchased two Journals...within the last couple of years.
How would you categorize your journal entries in this particular season of your life?
My journal has become a testimony of my life. In this season of my life I understand how important it is to give back to others. That people who are hurting the most feel as if no one cares, they feel unloved. I hope that everything I have gone through can be used to encourage other women who may be going through the same situation I went through years ago. I find in these pages words of inspiration that I can now pass on to help and encourage others. I pray that my journal is used as a testimony to never give up hope, that no matter how bad we think today is tomorrow is always better. Through journaling all it takes is a turn of a page to realize that each day is different and can get better.
Many ask me about journaling freely about themselves. The greatest concern shared with me is that someone will find their journal and they’ll feel ashamed. Obviously this not a concern of yours. Can you give three benefits of writing radically honestly to and about ourselves in our journals?
Journaling is an effective daily practice and we should find the time to include this practice in our daily lives. This practice teaches us how important it is to own and embrace our imperfections.
That there is absolutely nothing wrong with who we are and that every day is an opportunity to do and be better.
Understanding this is when we can begin to realize that it doesn’t matter who finds the journal and reads it. Our prayer is that whoever reads it will learn from our mistakes and find comfort and encouragement in our words. We understand that journaling is a powerful tool— not only does it have the ability to heal us but it has the ability to heal others.
Beyond self care, is there a greater inspiration, vision behind your keeping a journal?
While journaling I am actually rooted in my seat of self. I am alone with my most inner thoughts, where I control the journey, the time and the outcome. It is my story and I am free to create it any way I choose.
Why is journaling powerful?
It’s motivational, encouraging and inspiring. Journaling allows me to keep a historical record of my life’s journey. It keeps a record of my most triumphant moments it also reminds me of my not so best moments. Journaling holds me accountable for I am able to look back in time to see if I have progressed and overcome things of the past. As I face today’s challenges my journal allows me to self reflect of yesterday victories and reminds me that I can overcome any obstacle that is set before of me. As I read my yesterday dreams, I realize through journaling that I have accomplished those dreams and continue to press toward my dreams of tomorrow.
Describe the general relationship you believe is necessary for us to have with ourselves for our journaling to be most fruitful?
There is an old saying that the truth can set us free. Journaling allows us to self-reflect, to be honest and to own our stuff! The worse thing we can do is to be in denial, to lie to ourselves and others. We must find comfort in being human and realize perfection is a destination none of us will ever reach. We are then free to relax and enjoy the journey.
Have you noticed times in your life when it is easier and more difficult to write?
When life get’s tough journaling helps soothe the pain. Writing helps to release the anxiety, fear or hurt that I am feeling at the time. It’s as though the emotions that are bottled are free to roam with the simple stroke of the pen as it meets the paper they become one in the same, addressing the same need of easing my mind, of self expression. My breathing becomes easier, my mind becomes clearer and my thoughts become more controlled. After journaling, the dance between paper and pen has ended and I am whole again, I am at peace.
Many teastained women feel like journaling is a luxury they can’t afford because they have a 9-5, family, etc. Can you speak to this woman? How can we make time to journal when we lead busy lives? Why is it worth it?
I have learned that there is enough time in a day to journal, we just have to ‘set aside’ the time. It is our responsibility as women to take care of ourselves to love ourselves to encourage ourselves and to acknowledge how wonderfully made we really are, there’s nobody else on the planet earth that can do what we do and do it so well. The only way to remind ourselves of this daily is by taking the time out to journal. Journaling allows us to focus in on who’s really important, the number one person in our life, the one who needs us the most, the person in our life who needs consistent love, the person in our life who needs alone time … that person is US!
Do you have a routine? How often do you write?
I don’t have a routine, I write when I feel like expressing myself to myself. Sometimes I write when I have a heavy heart or my spirit is weak. I also write when I am filled with peace, love and joy and I want to remember how that felt.
Sometimes it’s easier to glide through the feelings those sensations bring instead of finding vocabulary for them. How do you suggest one go about journaling such strong sensations?
To me, journaling is not about how I write but how I feel while I write. It is not about writing from a physical place but writing from a spiritual place. If I write from my soul, from my spirit the sensations will come naturally. The words will pour out freely, it will not be forced or made up, the words will just be, they will just be who they are meant to be and they will come from a place where they are meant to come from. Writing from the soul is writing from a place of truth and in that truth we find our most powerful sensations.
Where do you usually write? Where is your favorite spot to write?
I like writing when I’m in my woosah moment, after a long day at work , after I meditate, I light my candles, but on my meditation music and pray. I cuddle up in my favorite chair under my favorite blanket with my favorite pen with the sweet fragrance of lavendar oil lightly burning in my diffuser. There’s nothing more important than me at that exact second or moment while I take my next breath.
What are some songs on your journaling playlist?
I actually like listening to Damien Escobar while journaling.
How long does it usually take you to finish a journal?
I’ve finished several journals, it’s taken me a little over a year to complete one. The funny thing is that I write in several different journals at one time, in no distinct order. It depends on my mood and what I want to express.
That’s really, really interesting!!! Do you ever worry that you’ll lose your sense of chronology by journaling in multiple journals?
Losing myself in multiple journals is what is liberating and freeing and exciting to me and what I love the most about journaling. It’s not important for me to do things in order that’s what the world expects of me each and every day I wake up, it puts me in a box, it puts me in chronological order. I feel I am more than just ‘one’ woman I have different layers of who I am and writing in multiple journals allows me to express myself no matter who I want to be on any given day. I have a choice of which journal I want to write in because each journal means something different to me. I may write in my happy journal, I may write in my sad journal, I may write in my beautiful journal, I may write in my spiritual journal. It’s my choice of who I decide I want to be that day.
How has journaling influenced the way you think?
I love journaling, it is the only way I can actually “see” my thoughts, dreams and aspirations.
Do you read through old journals? How does perusing through old entries impact you?
YES! I love reading my old journals, it shows me just how much I ‘ve grown, it helps motivate me to keep pushing and it helps me remember that I have been in tougher situations before and God worked it all out and I’m still here, I’m still alive, I’m still standing, I’m still beautiful and I’m still the bomb!! I think we forget as woman just how strong we truly are, we are much more than conquerors we are heavenly made and we are Queens.
YASSSS!! It’s so difficult to see the other side when we’re in the MIDDLE of a tough circumstance, but when it’s over we have it all written down and there’s gratitude (and relief). What are some reasons why it’s necessary to write in the middle of a circumstance instead of after it’s over, when all of it’s a memory?It’s important to write down how we feel and what we’re experiencing when we’re in the ‘eye’ of the storm because when we’re in the ‘eye’ we’re the most vulnerable and that’s when we are able to capture the moment from our soul. We can hear our heartbeat, we can feel the hairs stand up in the small of our back and we can count the exhale of our breath. We are present we are aware of everything and everyone that is involved in what we are experiencing as it unfolds right in front of us. This is the best time to “journal”, not after but during our strongest and weakest moments.
What role do you want your journals to play in your life 20 years from now?
I love the fact that journaling allows me to capture my daily walk! I can look back a year from now and see how much I’ve grown, how things bothered me then and the how the same situation doesn’t bother me now. I can literally see my growth, I actually laugh at the way I use to view things and how I view things now. I would never be able to capture my growth if I did not write these things down.
What does “Journey Soulfully” mean to you?
Journey Soulfully tells the story of a soul’s journey while here on earth. I once heard a term that I now live by, “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience but we are spiritual beings having a human experience”. Once I leave this planet and my spirit no longer resides in this body I will remain a “soul” the essence of who I really am. Journaling is the physical proof that I existed for just a short time here in the flesh on earth.
As a spiritual being having a human experience, it is a record of my likes and dislikes, it’s a record of who I loved and who I didn’t love it a record of my pain and a record of my joy, it is a record of how I failed and it is a record of how I succeeded . It’s Cassandra’s book, chapter and verse and it’s all captured in one powerful book, a journal. I hope that if someone was to ever read of my soul’s journey it would be a source of encouragement. That the words that I have written will leave an imprint on their hearts like it did on a blank piece of paper.