“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.
You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.
And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert, from Eat, Pray, Love
Your New Chapter
If you struggle with feeling good, with allowing in happiness, the best thing I can recommend is that you start keeping a journal where you start telling the unvarnished truth about your experience.
But don’t just write about what’s the matter.
In fact, I’ll be bold here and encourage you to use the blank page to explore what you really want to experience in your life, what you hope for, what you dream of creating.
If you can’t find words, then find images from books and magazines, cut them out, and paste them in your journal.
Scribble. Juxtapose. Cut. Paste. Paint all over it.
See if you can just allow pure feeling onto the paper. Don’t try to interpret anything or worry about what it means.
The inner critic will announce itself. That’s OK. Write down everything the critic says without judging. It will quiet down.
You’ll start hearing other ideas and thoughts. Write down those, too.
Keep all of this private. Don’t feel you have to explain it or what you’re doing to yourself or anyone else. Certainly not anyone else!
When I was an art therapist in working in the psych ward, I did this with my patients.
In our first session, I would bring their medical chart, but also a big, blank sketchbook and brightly colored pens, markers, pretty papers.
I’d begin the session by asking, What is right with you?
This would always catch them by surprise.
Don’t you mean: What’s wrong with me? What got me into this place?
I already know what’s wrong with you. I’ve read your chart. And we can get into that later if you want.
But first, tell me what’s working in your life. What’s good. What’s right with you?
They would start telling me what was good, what was already working, and I’d write it down—inside the blank sketchbook.
It was as if someone turned on the sun in the room. Everything got brighter. The mood of the patient, the energy in the room shifted.
Then I handed them the blank sketchbook, chock full of evidence of their own worthiness, goodness, resourcefulness.
This is yours. Here is where we’ll write your new life story. This is your next chapter. We’ll do it together.
And then it was their turn to author their book. To play with the paints and collage, write with colored markers and sprinkle glitter around with abandon.
I didn’t know therapy could be so fun, they said.
Oh, this isn’t really therapy, I would tell them.
Honestly? I’m just showing you what I did to feel better when I was sitting where you are. This is what helped me most.
Today’s Journal Prompts:
What makes me happy right now is…
The happy that I need to insist upon right now is….
I maintain my happy by…
I will swim upward into my happiness by…
Want to explore all of this more in depth?
The Creative Sketchbook helps you excavate your own true desires, innate wisdom, and intuition, with ease, gentleness and joy.
This workshop is a foundational course for The Creative Sketchbook Teacher Training.
The Journal Prompts in this Post Are Included in the FLOW: 30 Day Journal Project Printables
When I offered the first 30 Day Journal Project, I found that having the prompts printed out in advance helped me get right into my journaling for the day.
I think of this as lazy journaling. 🙂
Fill in the blank, and you’re done!
After I made these for myself, I prettied up the design (and added another layout) so you could use them, too. This is what I’m using for my own journaling.
There is another layout for cutting and pasting into an existing journal.
Get ALL of the FLOW 30 days of prompts & quotes (plus one bonus day) with 2 different layout designs.
FLOW: PRINTABLES | $18
No more blank page. No more writer’s block.
Whether you are brand new to writing or journaling or simply want to break out of a rut in your creative practice, these printable prompts make it fast and easy to get going.
See All 30 Day Journal Printable Designs
There are four different sets of 30 Day Journal Project Printables, beautifully designed, each with a different theme.
Use the printables on your own, or with The 30 Day Journal Workshop
Come on over to my studio in Mexico (via video!) where I’ll show you how to journal with intention and focus as we create two different kinds of handmade journals. It all happens in The 30 Day Journal Project Workshop, designed for experienced and brand new journalers alike!
If you haven’t yet played with imagery (or paint) in your journals, then DO consider joining us!
More on this subject of floating atop your own happiness:
This one of the pieces you’ll find inside the Dreaming on Paper workshop.
Celebrating the ordinary in everyday life… and my favorite footwear for dashing through airports, no less.
Just look at the photo of Henry’s notebook in this post. Especially if you are still searching for the perfect blank sketchbook or journal.