The "Journals+Journeys" series features
Vagabroad diarists sharing their journey with journaling--
for your inspiration.
Jaleya D. Leonard, a native of Washington, DC, has modeled her life based on the morals and teachings of her Ancestors, continuing the legacy they left behind. Through formal and spiritual training in the healing arts, she empowers youth and adults to heal themselves, follow their dreams, live and love authentically, and fully walk in their truth. In honoring her lineage, she birthed Revelations From The Water™, where her mission is to guide individuals in holistic and ancestral healing through various modalities to remember themselves, accept their roles in
this realm, and fulfill their soul purpose.
At what point in your life did you start journaling? Why?
The earliest memory of me journaling is at eight years old. It started with poetry and then realized that I could use composition books for more than poetry, but to write down my thought feelings that I wished to not disclose to those around me. I really don’t know the an answer as to why I began journaling; it was something that was necessary and required of me. Writing became essential to me in my teenage years, as those years uncovered many truths and non-truths about my life. Writing was my ‘escape’, but I quickly came to the realization that I wasn’t escaping, but rather connecting with myself.
Has your motivation for journaling changed over the years?
Absolutely! I don’t look at journaling as a project anymore. They are, in fact, original transcripts of my legacy that I will leave behind. And since part of my soul work is being a writer, journaling has been necessary for the essence of who I am.
What date did you start your Vagabroad Journal(s)?
I started my Vagabroad Journal on November 2016.
How frequently do you journal?
I journal every day. I have about 6 different journals currently that I write in, and each one has a specific purpose.
Is there a set of actions you take to create space and settle down before you write?
Yes! I have to clean up (I have a whole ritual for cleaning) as well as cleanse myself before I write. Without this, I am NOT productive or motivated at all.
Describe the feeling of finishing a journal.
I’ve never celebrated the finishing of a journal. It’s more like - this journal has now served its purpose and now it’s on to the next one.
What do you do with old journals? What’s the role you want your journals to play in your life many years from now?
I have all my journals, even the ones from childhood. I keep them and I reference them. I also share them with my son. My journals are original transcripts for the legacy I am leaving behind (kind of like artifacts :) )
I know you told me that you’re using your VGB journal in writing your first book! As opposed to journaling when we know our thoughts will stay private, what’s it been like for you to write, knowing that your words will soon be PUBLISHED?
The feeling I get is excitement! My soul work entails me getting out EVERYTHING, taking nothing with me when I transition to the next phase of my life - in another realm. I was so nervous and scared at times because my life in this realm has a specific calling, something that no one else can do. But now that I have accepted that, it is so much more easier for me to move through my purpose.
Would you mind sharing a little about the process of authorship. What’s been the most difficult part? Where are you now in the process? What’s been your greatest lesson along this journey?
The most difficult part about authorship was being patient. I would get so annoyed when I would have to go back and rewrite something. However, once I got out of my own feelings, I realized that it was Spirit calling me to see something from a different perspective, and therefore, I had to be flexible - to tell the story I’m required to tell, not the one that people expect me to tell. And so that requires 100% transparency and vulnerability...talk about trust in oneself! Authorship has pushed me way past my comfort zone, and I love it. I am still writing, but I am almost finished. The greatest lesson in this particular journey of publishing and authorship is that NOTHING is at it seems, and my going within, all that I need is there.
I get so many emails about women going through dry spells with journaling! What’s your solution for writer’s block?
What works for me is that I have developed a spiritual practice that helps me in all areas of my life. So where I feel a blockage or I have no motivation, I relax and allow myself to be OK with the way that I feel. I am gentle with myself and I also extend grace. I get silent and it is there that the next step is revealed to me. I often find that when I have writer’s block, it’s because I’m going against what Spirit has for me. When I remove resistance, my thoughts and creativity flow freely.
What time of day is your ideal writing time?
Typically, early in the morning and just before I go to bed are the best times for me to write.
Where do you like to write?
I like to write near water and just outside in general (in a tree, on the patio of a cafe).
And during the colder months, I write on the floor in my home.
What’s on your journaling playlist?
I don’t have one!
Do you have a “format” to your journal entries?
What’s are some lessons you’ve learned from keeping a journal?
Don’t feel bad about how you once felt.
What’s your favourite writing utensil?
Pens with feathers at the end :) Any kind of pen, as long as it has a feather
What are your 5 favourite words to use at the moment?
How has journaling influenced the way you think/ infer the world?
Writing down my thoughts helps me to think more clearly. There’s a reasoning for everything that I do and when I feel like I don’t know why I do a certain thing, writing helps to bring clarity.
What are some thought patterns you have to battle in preserving the truth and making space for/ being available to inspiration?
The only thing I’ve had to battle is insecurity with myself. I’ve had to realize that my truth is just that - MY truth. And where that truth is, I must follow and stand in it.
I think with many testained women there’s a feeling that we “can’t write very well” that informs why we’ll leave ourselves unwritten-AND THEN there’s the lofty idea of writing a book that scares most from every entering that arena. Can you share some relatable truths about writing (both in journaling and authorship) that can lessen the accessibility gap for teastained women and our words?
...I’ll respond by saying this: too often we fill our minds with negative thoughts (and we don’t even know where they come from) to deter us from our highest truths. When we learn to detach ourselves from outcomes of our work, labels, negative thoughts, and just allow our thoughts and ourselves to flow freely and justly, we will see that our work is so beautiful! There is no ‘right way’ to write.
Why do you believe we have an inclination, an urge to document ourselves? Where does that come from and why should we follow it?
I think it’s the way of the western world, to document everything. However, ancestrally, information was spread orally. Because we are in this earthly realm, I think it’s necessary to have that balance of written and oral communication for ourselves.
Can you discuss why journaling is powerful?
I honestly don’t know if journaling is powerful.
I know that it is necessary for me in the work that I have
been called to do. I cannot live in my head - at all! At one point in my
life I did that and it nearly drove me insane so I write -
even when I went through depression as a teen, I wrote in my journal.
I don’t care how dark or light my thoughts are, I refuse to live in my head.
Why should teastained women keep a journal?
Journaling keeps teastained women centered, focused, and aligned.
What does “Journey Soulfully” mean to you?
Journey Soulfully means to journey through life
that aligns with my soul work and soul purpose.