Did you have a diary as a kid? I know I did. I always sucked at keeping up with it. I loved blank books, they held so much potential. But as soon as I started writing in one, I felt I had ruined it, I needed a new, fresh start. I compiled quite the collection of journals and diaries with only one page of writing.
In my adult life, I've learned how to break through the terror of writing the "wrong thing" and developed a journaling skill, because cutting through that feeling of what you're "supposed" to be writing so that you can write what you need to write truly is a skill. But how do you learn that? Wouldn't it be nice to have someone guide you through those first uncertain steps?
Enter Brandy Davis, founder of A Creative Path explorative journaling courses. Brandy's goal is to teach people how to be their own therapists. I've taken her classes before, they are creative and challenging peeks into your own brain, helping to sort out what makes you tick.
"There are so many people who are convinced their lives are miserable, but they're not," Brandy says.
The key to journaling is to help you get through the muddle of your own thoughts and find the true source of your struggles. "You go through the day angry, you're snapping at everyone and can't figure out why. If you take the time to write through it, it usually has nothing to do with anyone else. You woke up on the wrong side of the bed but haven't given yourself any time to get over it."
Her classes cover two different methods for getting into journaling: "Creatively Me" teaches you how to use journaling to uncover your inate creativity, while "Pathways" guides you through the process of using a journal as an outlet for your thoughts and feelings.
Both classes begin with lessons on rethinking what a journal actually is, and learning how to truly use one.
"You don't walk into a therapist's office and have them immediately ask you, 'What's your deepest, darkest secret?' They start with, 'How are you feeling?'" Brandy's classes start with simple, surface questions like this. Each class then builds on the last, probing deeper every time. By the end of the eight week course, Brandy feels confident that you will be able to use your journal to self-diagnose your issues.
Handmade covers from journals Brandy makes herself
While she's written in journals for one reason or another ever since childhood, Brandy has used her own journals to work through her problems for the past ten years. About six years ago, a friend of hers noticed her constant scribbling and asked her about it. He hosted a group which focused on helping people feel better about themselves and break bad habits. Upon hearing how Brandy used her journaling, he invited her to come teach a class for the group.
"I was nervous, but I said yes." The class was held on the rooftop of a Dallas hotel, and in that gorgeous and inspiring setting, Brandy presented for the first time the material that forms the foundation for her current courses. "By the end of the night everyone was crying and discussing, but most of all, writing!" Brandy realized she was living a dream of hers; to help people. "There were several breakthroughs that night which really made me feel great."
Several of the students in her class that night continued to contact Brandy from time to time for advice and assistence. "I've had people tell me that their marriages were saved by using the skills they learned in my class." Brandy says the feeling of knowing she'd truly made a difference in someone's life opened her eyes, and with the encouragement of former students, she drew up the full courses to pursue teaching more seriously.
Brandy feels quite powerfully that journaling is a skill everybody needs. In today's society, we are taught to either shove our feelings down deep inside until they explode, or to constantly broadcast short blurbs in the hopes for some external response. "We don't teach people how to handle problems anymore." She wants to teach the world how to work things out by writing through them, by learning how to be your own therapist.
To find out more about Brandy's classes and how to sign up, visit http://www.acreativepath.org, or follow her on Facebook. Currently, Brandy is hoping to launch a line of products to correspond with her classes, including journals she designs herself and tools to help your writing process. She's running a campaign through IndieGoGo to raise funds to develop her ideas. You can help her out by visiting the campaign page and making a donation! She's also running a contest to help spread the word about A Creative Path. You can check out the details by clicking here!