Guest Post: Reality Show: Your Journal As Documentary

Welcome to meryl’s notes blog (this here place you’re lookin’ at) in Plano, Texas. We’re honored to be a stop in Mari McCarthy’s WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour. We’re giving away a copy of her eBook, Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life. Read on to see how you can win.
Mari McCarthyAbout Mari McCarthy: After twenty years as a business consultant Mari McCarthy switched gears. The catalyst was a health issue for which the remedy became her new life path. Mari now assists others with personal development and health issues through therapeutic journaling.
Mari says that journaling has become her “tool for life.” She keeps a journal in her office for assistance in business, one in the family area for use with introspection, and one by the bed for dream work. Through journaling Mari has discovered many things about herself, like her desire and talent for singing! Watch Mari’s video for “To Make You Feel My Love” on YouTube.

Reality Show: Your Journal As Documentary by Mari McCarthy

It might be said that the current-day version of the daily journal is the reality show. Both of these mediums delight in the power of the everyday to shock and enchant us. In both journaling and reality shows, very mundane things take center stage.
There’s a deliciousness in realizing the ramifications of each minuscule moment, whether it’s your own life or someone else’s. There’s a thrill in understanding how the choices we make in the minutia of an hour create our lives.
Unlike reality shows, which tend to be all over the map, documentaries have definite aim and purpose. When people make documentaries, they are exploring a certain thread. They have a fragment and they go looking for other fragments which, when all strung together, make a mosaic that brings a new depth of meaning / understanding to a particular subject.
When people keep journals, they don’t always recognize the thread they’re exploring. Sometimes it’s just a brain-dump, letting out inhibited emotions, letting off a little steam so you can carry on more calmly in your life. (Isn’t that why you watch reality shows?) This kind of journaling is healing and good. Just because it’s unfocused doesn’t mean it has no value.
When you re-read your “reality show” entries after some time has passed, you will see that it is a collection of fragments that add up to more than the sum of their parts. But in the moment, this is neither clear to you, nor important. Only the moment is important. As in a reality show, there’s a chain of events, but you only remember it later.
On the other hand, you can purposefully use a journal as a documentary, one that traces your commitment to something: learning Spanish; losing weight; being a mother; your religious or spiritual faith; your talent for whittling, or whatever. In this case, the overall theme is given (though not necessarily strictly adhered to) and a chain of events is anticipated.
Using journaling as an aid when you anticipate progress – or at least increased understanding – in any given direction can be enormously helpful. Like taking a shortcut when the way is long and arduous, keeping a journal provides a short-hand route to awareness.
When documenting anything, you follow it, ideally from beginning to end. When you follow any aspect of your life or consciousness, you make at least a mental documentary of it. When you keep a journal during the process, you maintain both a bird’s eye and a close-up view. The result? Prismatic!
You know where you are today and you can at any time re-discover where you where in the past. You gain a sense of swimming as opposed to just drifting with the current.
When you document instead of drift, you can perceive all dimensions of your experience. It’s like putting puzzle pieces together. You are building something.
Some people keep two or more journals going at the same time. There’s the daily session with your Inner Coach, and then there’s the journal documentary of your trip to Eastern Europe or your job on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange or your 2011 vegetable garden.
The Inner Coach – your inner reality show – is a staple that’s with you all the time, while the documentary journals come and go. The two kinds of journals serve different purposes, but they are equally indispensable.
Who Are You? ebookComment and win: For a chance to win a copy of the eBook Who Are You? How to Use Journaling to Know and Grow Your Life, please leave a comment at least 50 words long about writing about your life. What kinds of documentary journaling do you do? Do you censor yourself? What’s your approach? You have until 11:59pm on September 1, 2011 to qualify for the drawing. The unbiased and robotic Random.org has the honor of picking the winner.

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