Connecting with Yourself with Elaine Kiziah

Together with Caylee Grey and guests, we’ll explore what it REALLY means to be an artist. Practically. Warts and all. So that you can be an artist, today, now, even if you work a day job, have a million and one commitments and own a cat that likes sitting on your art.

No more excuses. Okay? Okay.

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One of the biggest things that art journalers struggle with in their creative practice is the journaling part of art journaling. It’s weird. I know. A while back, I invited a journaling expert to help the Get Messy community with how to find the words. Elaine Kiziah completely blew it out of the park with the workshop she created for us. Journaling is an amazing tool to dig deep into your core and to really connect with yourself.

There is a stack of practical ways to get the most of your journaling strung around this episode, and Elaine is such a wonderful guide. Dig deep… connect with your true self and find joy…

Podcast Show Notes


  • connecting to yourself
  • what counts as journaling
  • how to make space when you can
  • how to make contact with yourself
  • how to get what you need from journaling
  • how to do deep inner listening
  • setting intentions and reflections
  • using gratitude
  • being good at talking to yourself, having a wise self and drawing on her wisdom
  • using other people’s words in your journaling
  • mindmapping in journaling
  • phases in journaling
  • the different needs that journaling fulfils
  • Elaine’s journaling process and rituals
  • really great, practical tips for journaling, how to get over the difficulties, and how to make the most of your time in your journal
  • Joybook’s morning sessions

“This is solitary work we cannot do alone” – unknown



(This transcript is automatically generated and is sure to contain hilarious errors as the robots figure out our accents. It is provided here for your convenience)

Elaine (00:02):
Thanks Caylee. It’s really good to be with you. I’m really looking forward to this conversation. This is such a long time coming. I feel like I’ve been dreaming of this moment for months and months and months. It’s funny. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks. It was a while. It was a good while back when you first mentioned this to me that maybe at some point. Yeah.

Caylee (00:32):
So Elaine and I did a workshop with Get Messy and we open it to everyone and you just rocked. And so with that introduction, maybe you can tell us a little bit more about you.

Elaine (00:51):
Sure. so I’m, I’m located in Richmond, Virginia in the, in the us. And I run a a community much like guests get messy. I run a community called joy book. That’s about using journaling and other kinds of soulful approaches to managing your, your time and your life and creating a, a beautiful life, whatever that that means for, for each person.

Elaine (01:31):
But kind of a, a core idea behind joy book is that you know, like in order to have a good life, you need to be in connection with yourself and listening to yourself. So that’s why journaling is so important for that. So joy book takes up most of my most of my time and attention right now, but I also I’m a life coach. And so I, I see individual coaching clients by zoom these days and, and do the occasional workshop, although those are also via zoom these days. And and I am not what most people would call an artist. But I, I do like to think I have sort of an artist soul and which is perhaps why I feel so drawn to the, to the get messy community and the people who hang out here.

Elaine (02:29):
Yeah, I’m a, I’m a very visual person. And in fact, I think joy book kind of scratches that itch for me cause I get to create pretty things in addition to creating the workshops and journaling prompts and and things like that. And I did, I, I minored in art in in college actually so way in my past, there were a lot of pastels and paint brushes like that, but but these days it’s yeah, it’s it’s my journal that gets most of my creative energy and and creating things to support my community

Caylee (03:14):
Creating things, to support your community. That’s a beautiful way of looking at it. I dunno, I feel like you are 100% an artist purely because you’re curating a, you might not be in be using traditional autistic materials, like paint and more paint, and you’re creating something with your words and with your thoughts and with your your truth, your own heart, which is something magical. And that’s why I’m, that’s why I knew you were the perfect person for the workshop because so many students were saying, okay, I’ve kind of got the art part of art turning down. I need some guidance on the actual journaling. And I know for me, that’s been one of my biggest struggles my whole life. I wanted to keep a journal. That was always my goal. And I never could. And I think so are turning full that for me. And that was me being okay with writing down one sentence and that being enough journaling, you know, so what is enough journaling for you each day?

Elaine (04:20):
You know my answer to that has changed over time. You know, like I, I used to think it’s not, it’s not journaling if I don’t sit down and give it like at least 20 minutes of like deep kind of pouring my heart out on the, on the page. But w like, one of the things that we do enjoy book is as we’ve got like super short calls in the morning where a few of us will get together and journal together, and I’ve got these little morning prompts and I it’s, it’s been kind of astonishing to me that like three minutes of journaling can actually have a huge impact on my day. So it’s, it’s like, I, you know, I think of it as like creating this like just creating a little opening, a little space as I’m starting my day, where like, inside that space, I can make contact with myself.

Elaine (05:32):
And, and that those few minutes of contact, or a way of accessing a a soar, so like a piece of wisdom that that can set me on the right path that said, so three minutes is enough, but, you know, like sometimes I I’m really crave like an hour with my, with my journal to like, to go deep with one, you know, with one particular topic. So you know, I think the answer to that kind of depends on what I need from it, what I’m looking for from it. And I, you know, I think of journaling as like kind of a Swiss army knife. It can, it can do so many different things for you, but one of those that, yeah, one of those tools that I flip out for pretty much every day is the short, like getting my head on straight kind of orienting to my day in a way that feels wise and helpful, and allows me to set an attention that serves me as I go through the day.

Caylee (06:47):
How do you find out what that intention is? What is it that it’s serving? Do you know what you needed to do, or do you kind of come there with that expectations and then it just,

Elaine (06:55):
It gives you what you need. Okay. So like what, one of the ways that I define journaling is, so I like to make a distinguish, I like to distinguish between and this is this, this is like, this is my definition, but I like to distinguish between, you know, there, there are a lot of different tools that that involve writing to help you think or get clarity on things. So, you know, like using a planner or keeping a diary, although I know that’s a, that’s an American term in, in in some places of the world, that diary is as what we would call a planner here. But like a diary, the way I differ define that is that it’s kind of looking, looking back at your life like recording recording things that have happened in the past and a planner is about kind of looking forward.

Elaine (08:11):
And I think about a journal as being really kind of rooted in the present moment. But it’s, it’s got, it’s rooted in the present moment, but it’s got like one foot in the past and one foot in the, in the future. So to answer your question about, like, how do you find that intention for me, it’s really about coming fully into the present moment and fully into contact with myself and doing this deep inner listening and, and like listening is, is really a key word for me when I think about, about journaling. It’s, you know, like quieting myself being right here, tuning in inside, and and just kind of seeing what’s what’s here right now, what’s going on right now. And and what do I, what’s that telling me about what I need. And so that’s where the, that’s where the intention comes from.

Elaine (09:23):
And so, like, for instance, some of those quick morning journaling prompts that we do on joy book involve kind of taking a moment to to first checking with yourself and kind of notice, okay, in what’s going on in my body, what’s going on with my heart, what things are on my mind right now, and even kind of spiritually, like, what’s my state of being right right now. And then thinking about, okay, that’s where I am right now, and then doing a scan of kind of the landscape of the day ahead. And then given those two things, here’s, here’s who I am in this moment in this, as I start this day, here’s what I know is ahead of me. Okay. Now let me just invite of a word or phrase that’s that bubbles up as a, as a helpful intention about, okay, these are the facts.

Elaine (10:31):
So what would be the wisest way to approach this day or, or a helpful intention to keep in mind as I move through this day, given, do you do reflection then on your day too often? Yeah. and we used to do that enjoy book and it was just hard to schedule it, but yes. At the end of the day kind of my free go questions that that I’ll use. And sometimes I’ll, I’ll do something a little different, but my three go to questions are about what, what wins am I celebrating from today? What is today teaching me about how to live tomorrow and and then just capturing a few kind of snapshots of moments from the day that, that I call them beautiful life moments. Someone else might call them gratitudes, but you know, just like little snapshots of gosh that made today beautiful. And I want to pay to it and get good at noticing those kinds of things going forward. Yeah. I know for me, gratitude has been such a good tool in my arsenal for just staying grounded and for keeping depression at Bay and all of those things. So I want to ask you, cause I get my husband to write gratitude lists each week and I do them too, and I was a very different, so how small do you go with your gratitudes?

Elaine (12:27):
I go small and big. Okay. Tell me about Kate. Are you willing to give me an example of the range between the two of you? Yeah, sir. I dunno for example, T’s might be our, he ran a marathon this week and mine would be like the flower outside. Our house was very pretty. It was very pink today. Yeah. Yeah. He his gratitude would probably go on my list of wins actually. That’s what I would count as kind of a, a win for those for the day or for the week. And yeah, and, and what you’re describing is more like my beautiful life moments. So yeah, it’ll be like standing outside and listening to the, not hatches in the, in the trees or the color of the sky this morning. Or laughing with my husband. I’m going to tell him that his is wrong, the experts it’s wrong, it’s wrong at all. Yeah, I, you know, like I, I’m not sure that either of my lists are, you know, like necessarily false squirrelly in the box of dry attitudes, but that’s, that’s just, you know, like all three of those things that I, that I reflect on actually make me feel grateful for my life.

Elaine (14:04):
So they’re just kind of different lenses on that topic in a way. So tell me what has been the number one thing that you have gotten out of life from journaling directly from journaling? That is a very hard question cause I’ve gotten so many things out of it. You can tell me three, if you, well probably the one I mentioned most often to my this, this comes up a lot with my coaching clients is, it has, it has helped me get so good at how I talk to myself. You know, cause a lot of us can be so nice to other people, so kind to other people and so unkind with ourselves and the way that we talk to ourselves. And you know, I’m not, I’m not fully sure how the shift, I it’s something I’ve been thinking about about a lot lately and I probably need to go back and start reading my journals from like 20 years ago to figure out how this shift happened.

Elaine (15:32):
But somewhere along the way the journal entries started being less about like I feel this way. I think that way I’m struggling with this. I wish I, you know, I, I, I, and and starting to be a, being a whole lot more you in my journals. So like me talking to myself and actually maybe now that I’m talking out loud about this, maybe part of it has to do with the idea, this idea that that I picked up years ago from, I’m not even sure where, but this idea that we each have a wise self within us. And so we talked about this a lot on, on joy book. And so I use it often in our journaling drawing on that, why self and inviting that wise self to speak in the journal. And so I think probably what happened for me as, as I started inviting that part of myself into my journal, it started to be her talking to me, whoever me is you know, kind of everyday lame. And so the you know, the, the language in the journal was much more like sweetheart it’s okay. Like take a moment to step back and, you know, like offering myself loving advice and reassurance and kindness. And I really think that practicing that on a regular basis in, in my journal started leaking into just the way I talk to myself as I’m going about my day. And I’m, I’m way kinder to myself now than I was

Caylee (17:50):
20 years ago. Yeah. That’s amazing. I’ve been doing some thought work and working with a life coach and I’ve been processing everything through journaling without the art, which has been interesting for me. And yeah, I definitely agree with that with being conduct yourself and treating yourself like you would have friend cause it’s crazy how we just don’t do that. I think with artists is a very big voice in the back of our head. That’s the inner critic always going, Oh, why are you doing this? Why you can’t do anything? Look how bad you are. Are you embarrassed? You know, like that whole dialogue that keeps scarring. And I think the more we practice speaking Chante to ourself and speaking to us like a friend, like you were saying the more that in a critic like that voice is still there, but you’re able to go, like you’re able to have your own inner cheerleader too. And so she’s kind of looking at the art and you’re able to look at it with her listing view and a more objective view and a kind of view, which inevitably makes better off.

Caylee (19:04):
Yeah. So tell me, do you include, I mean, I’m just like, I just love digging into this because I feel like with art Jenning, I’m only scratching the surface of journaling and I’ve noticed it’s Powell already. And so do you ever include other people’s words? Like, do you ever keep it as somewhat of a commonplace book where you store what you’ve learned or what you’ve heard? That kind of thing? Well, first off I should say I have two different journals. I have my my bullet journal and what I call my deep dive journal. And like those daily reflections that we were talking about mostly go in my, in my bullet journal. And when I do come across quotes or words like that, like what you’re talking about, I usually talk those in my bullet journal. So that said I’ve, I’ve had some some really powerful rights that are around using someone else’s words as a as a jumping off point with my deeper dive journaling. So like you know, a particular poem that is really speaking to me like I’ll write that. I’ll write that first in my journal and I have to say it’s, it’s really kind of astonished me that

Elaine (20:48):
Like just the act of kind of mindfully writing a poem that really touches you, like in itself feels like a practice. I’m not sure if I would call that journaling or not. It doesn’t matter what I call it or what you call it, you know, like if it does something useful for you then hooray. But I have noticed that like just, just the writing of the poem itself can take me somewhere deeper. But

Elaine (21:35):
That’s not where I would not where I would stop usually. Like I, I write it down and then use it kind of as a, as a springboard sort of you know, like it again, pausing and doing that inner listening and noticing, you know, what’s, what’s really resonating about this for me. And, and why do I think that is, or what feelings does it bring up and what are those feelings telling me or this? So, so this is a this is something that I’ve discovered more recently with journaling is that like journaling doesn’t have to be just, and probably you and, and the messy ans absolutely notice that it doesn’t just have to be, you know, written words on a, on a page, like paragraphs full sentences. I’ve started using more and more mind mapping who in my, in my journaling. So I might, you know, if I’m starting with a poem, I, you know, I might put like the title of the poem or a phrase from the poem that really grabbed me kind of in the center of my mind map. And then just start drawing out connections. Okay. Like what, what does this bring up for me? You know, sort of answering those, those questions. I was just mentioning. And w like one of the, one of the things that I’ve

Elaine (23:20):
One of the ways that I’ve come to approach journaling for myself for these deeper dives, not those like three minute rights that we were talking about before. But I, I generally think about journaling as not being a, you sit down, you write a journal entry, but really that it has sort of phases to the right. And so I’ve, I’ve really started over, I don’t know, the last five years started really leaning into that. And so I very much think in terms of a actually and the the program that I did for, for MSCI and we absolutely structured it this way, there was sort of a warmup, right. And then there was a deeper dive. So often I’ll use mindmapping just to kind of like, get myself rolling you know, sort of really dig in with the topic or, or discover, like, what do I think about this? Or uncover the questions that I really want to spend some time with. And then, and that feels like a very get messy kind of approach actually. Cause it’s just this, like, you know, like don’t be perfect, although I don’t think you should be perfect about any journaling, but, you know, like be messy, just like throw it on the page, see what emerges and then start working with that.

Caylee (24:55):
Yeah. It’s so funny because I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, too. I think I’ve got this idea in my head that when I come to the art journal, there’s a ritual, you know, our lot to candle in some Sage or something, and I’ve put an odd day for nod and that creates and I know for a lot of people, that’s what it’s like, and it is like a Hurley ritual, but for me, it’s not like that. I think for me, it’s like, I just, I like using this analogy. So bear with me, I just throw up everywhere. And then I kind of just like collect these little pieces and then bring those little pieces into my journal. And, and so I’ve kind of embraced, you know, making a voice note while I’m driving or taking a screenshot of something that I want to explore more deeply and then getting olders inboxes and, and bring them all together and putting them down when I am ready to take some time to create something in my journal.

Caylee (26:01):
So I think there’s definitely something to be said for going against what we typically believe to be the right way to do something. And to just, instead of revolving our laugh around the art and around, I mean, journaling is art, but kind of just having the Oxford in where it can and to take those tiny bits of time. And, and then when we do have Tom later, we’re able to process everything properly and, and think through it. And then like, I could never sit and just journal of, I’ve tried for like how, like 30 whatever years I am minus 10, since stuff like VIN, a little girl to just try and write and write. And so for me, art journaling has been the way that I get that feeling that I want to get from journaling.

Speaker 3 (27:02):

Caylee (27:02):
And I think it’s really inspiring to me What suits you and to do what, what you’re able to and what makes sense to you and also what you’re able to do consistently instead of trying to fit into a certain block, What I would say yes. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I’m, I’m a little hung up on something that you just said though. Cause it made me so curious. And you were saying that what you, what you want from journaling you can’t get without art journaling and it made me so curious about like for you, what, like, how would, how would you capture, like, what is it that you’re trying to get from journaling? I like that question a lot and I think it’s something that everyone should ask themselves and definitely to everyone listening, you should ask yourself what you’re trying to get and then kind of reverse engineer. I think for me, what I’m trying to get from our journal is

Caylee (28:16):
That’s going on in my head. So firstly it’s just to get everything out. And so, I mean, sometimes it is something like morning pages where it would be stream of conscious writing. And then just that irritates me so much that I just need to paint over it for whatever reason that makes me feel better. But there’s also something like meditative about, I mean the art that I create is not very in depth or very technical. It’s basically just me tearing up a bunch of paper and putting it onto the page. And there’s something there, something that happens there that I don’t have words for. I wouldn’t be able to write it down. I don’t Elaine, I can’t, I put it into words what just tearing a piece of paper does. And I think it also goes back to, you know, the fact that I’ve been for the past few years, I’ve been living in a language that’s not my own. And so I’m struggling a lot with English and having a million different languages going in my head and I feel like art and paint, no matter how badly it’s done, I’m able to, to say what I need to without having

Elaine (29:42):
To say it. Yeah. That, that actually really resonates for me. Cause what one of the experiences that I’ve had with my journaling, that’s really striking for me is this awareness that, so I, I actually love to play with imagery in my, in my writing, like metaphor images of a favorite, right. That I’ll come back to again and again is about like kind of thinking of my life as a landscape and, and you know, like standing here and asking myself, okay, looking back at the territory that I’ve just been through, what does it look like? And just, you know, writing a description of that imagery and then, and then, okay. Turning and looking at the path ahead, what’s this landscape that I’m, that my subconscious is envisioning as it, you know, sort of comes up with a symbolic way of thinking about what’s ahead.

Elaine (30:51):
But one of the things that I’ve, that I’ve noticed in the writing is that sometimes that visual imagery for which, for me is captured in words, most of the time that visual imagery can impact me, move me, inspire me in ways that just like very literal words can’t and you know, I think part of it’s that it like it, that it gives you this kind of touch touch stone in a way, or for me, that’s my experience that you know, like if it’s a page full of words, talking about how I feel, what I think what’s next that’s, it’s not as easy to kind of like put in my pocket and take with me as an image of, okay, I see this this Rocky landscape ahead, but there’s this beautiful sunrise. And I’m aiming for the sunrise, you know, or whatever the, the imagery is that like that is, you know, in a, in an instant is something I can access and something that, that moves me. So I don’t know if that’s, I mean, I hear you talking about something that’s in a way, but like very kinesthetic, the ripping of paper and the, and the touching and the, and it almost sounds like there’s something cathartic about that for you. But, but I felt like there was a a similarity in some ways between what you were saying and that experience that I’ve had of, you know, even though I’m using words, there’s something very symbolic and visual. About some of the, the writing that really sticks with me.

Elaine (33:00):
It’s interesting. I think maybe the difference is that you are, you see it in your head. And for me, when I, when I journal, I’m not seeing it in my head at all, I kind of figure it out as I go along. And the way that I create also different, like I’m different to everyone else, but the way I create is I kind of figure out what I need to say. So it’s coming from that side. So as, as you’re going along, you figure out yeah. Which I’m sure is the same with Jen. Yeah. Yeah. Sorry. Interesting. Yeah. What would you say? I mean, it kind of feels like for me that my, like my inner process is as I’m, as I’m writing, if it’s, if it’s the kind of writing, that’s like trying to figure something out or figure out how I feel about something that the inner process is kind of all right.

Elaine (33:58):
What’s the like what’s the question? Or what’s this thing I’m trying to access, okay. Let me sit with that. Create this little pause, listen inward, see what comes up, capture that on the page. And then this thing that I’ve just put on the page is like, then this springboard to kind of the next question. So, you know, like, like maybe I’ll be writing something down that just came from my heart as I’ve been looking inward and I’ll feel like tears starting to prickle in my, in my eyes. And so then I’ll write down, wow. I’m like something about this is, is bringing up tears what’s that about? And then I’ll pause and look inward again and, and listen and see what the answer is. And so it feels like, I don’t know, like these little stepping stones kind of is that anything similar to yours or is yours more just kind of messy? Organic? I wish I could say that it was Macy organic. I feel like to me, that that feels like true artist. If things are just like chaotic, I kind of, I don’t work that way. So I’m finding like, I’m relating a lot to the way you do it. And also where it, where it is also say like, Oh, Whoa, what’s that what we did that come from trying to figure out okay. And

Caylee (35:38):
Then as it goes through, or you might journal something and then weeks later you go, Oh, that was that’s what that,

Elaine (35:46):

Caylee (35:47):
And I like that idea of having a wise self cause now I can be like, Oh yeah, my wise self told me that already. Like now I’m really catching on. Great.

Elaine (35:57):
Yeah. I feel so much gratitude to my wise self right now. It just like, it makes me, it makes me tear up and, you know, the way I, the way I conceptualize the why self is and sometimes you know, like sometimes I do kind of conjure an image and it’s this, you know, like much older you know, like 40 years in the future version of myself, 90 year old, Elaine. But, but absolutely the way I think of my wise self is not only you know, like someone who has a lot of wisdom about about how to be and how to live and how to take the things that come at you with grace. But also as this very like loving, almost sort of motherly in a way kind of a presence that’s there within me if I just access it. And yeah, it’s been, it’s been such a, such a gift.

Caylee (37:23):
It is. And I mean, you created that for yourself. We create the skip for ourself. It’s like this ridiculous loop frat something that my life coach, I love her. I will always get always talking about it, but it’s something she said that so resonated with me is that instead of like learning from your past, you can learn from your future. And so maybe that’s what the wise self is, is you’re drawing from your future knowledge and your future wisdom. And that was revolutionary for me.

Elaine (37:59):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, they’re some of the, some of the journaling prompts that I love working with are kind of along those, those lines. So like even one of the, one of the short ones we sometimes use in the, in the morning is imagine that you’ve already lived to this day. And now you have a chance to live it over again. What advice would you give yourself? Like what, what would future, what advice would future you give you about how to live this day? That’s a good prompt for yeah. And there, and there’s one that I that I like to do, like kind of, as I’m bringing a, a month to a close to is like current self talking to self up a month ago, and then current self talking to self of one month from now and asking for advice about how to approach the coming month. So yeah, it’s fun to play with time as he is

Caylee (39:15):
Stuck in my journey. I like to use the prompt, just she answered, you know, being objective about yourself is just so helpful at seeing your current what’s happening currently or your current truths, your current space that you’re occupying your season that you’re occupying. Cause it’s hard sometimes talking about ourselves. I think, especially as, as women we’re always told, you know, your keep your opinion down. Like you shouldn’t

Elaine (39:47):
Be great. You shouldn’t be this, you shouldn’t be bad.

Caylee (39:50):
And we kind of question our own intuition and ourselves and kind of seeing ourselves as a separate being is so helpful at realizing, Hey, we know what we’re talking about. We know what we want.

Elaine (40:04):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, like really actually intentionally playing with I guess grammatical perspective or point of view would be the official term for that. So like, just like I was saying before, about how my journaling used to be all this, I, I, and now there’s a whole lot more you and how powerful it can be to play with switching those, those pronouns, same thing with the third person, you know, switching to she. And whoever’s listening. I’m probably completely overwhelming them with all these like ideas for prompts. But another one that I love doing in the morning is or actually not just in the morning any time, but is, is about like writing, writing about yourself as if as if you’re like kind of the main character in a novel or something. And I always say to my joy bookers, when we’re doing this, this is not a tragic novel, like this is, we like the main character and she’s living a good life and going to be so not a tragic novel, but like writing about myself.

Elaine (41:37):
Yeah. Like almost as if I’m writing a novel. So Elaine looked up from her desk and the morning light made her blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Wow. And yeah, it’s, it’s kind of amazing, isn’t it? How diff like the, the new perspectives or just new sense of perspective. So like, to be able to back off a little bit and not be so like kind of stuck in the details of your day to day experience and being able to say it with a new vantage point. It’s really, yeah. I’m I’m so with you on the sheet. Yeah. and I think yet to the person listening it’s great to have a whole bunch of prompts and, and I mean, all you’re doing is adding tools to the arsenal that they can carry with them when they come to their journal within art or rotting, Man, this like noise. I should have nine take care. I think it’s not my problem, James, I’ll wait for it’s a little bit and then I’ll carry on with her Christian for you. Yeah. And there’s something I was going to say in response to you, and now I can’t remember what it was. Oh, you can go if you want. Okay.

“In order to get what you need from your journaling, you need to come at it with some kind of intention.” – Elaine Kiziah

Elaine (43:33):
Yeah. I, you know, I think one of the things when, when people are newer to journaling or when they come to me and tell me that they like, they feel stuck with their journaling like I feel like prompts are important are really, really useful. But but I’m, I mean that in a really broad sense. So, so like and I’ve totally encountered people who were like, Oh, I never write with prompts. And great. But I, you know, I do think in order to to get what you need from your journaling, you need to come to it with some kind of intention. And like people struggle when they, you know, show up to their journal, they open their page and then they go, okay, I’m supposed to right now. What do I write about and I, I forget what it was that you said, but so something that you you just said made me so attuned to, to to the fact that that’s that that’s something I’ve learned is really important.

Elaine (45:08):
Like again, start with an intention and that can, that intention can be a prompt. You know, you just need something that points you in a direction and you can, you can totally change direction once you get rolling. And that’s, you know, that’s, that’s what happens when you’re listening to your inner self, your inner self might go, this is not helpful. There’s this thing sitting over here that really needs my attention, but, but the starting, like, you need a direction to move in in order to start. And so, you know, like you know, on joy book, I’ve got this, you know, this big library of journaling prompts, but you know, one way of doing that, but, but it can be like you, you don’t have to necessarily have specific prompts that you’re using, but you do need as you’re, as you’re starting your right to know, like, why am I here? And and and so what does that mean in terms of where I go from here? And so, you know, like if you don’t have a prompt in front of you like just that inner listening itself can be the prompt in a way. And I, you know, I would bet in a way, like when you do your morning pages, that that’s part of what’s what happens when you start, like, there’s this moment of okay, what’s in here.

Elaine (46:54):
And it can be, you know, the right can be, let me just capture what’s in here. For me more often, it’s okay. What’s in here. All right. Then what, what do I need from my journaling, given what I just found from right now that is so, so valuable and so helpful. And I think so often about wanting pages, I just stopped writing. I have nothing to say, and then I’ll write,

Caylee (47:30):
Maybe I’ll write a really have nothing to say. And they obviously, that’s never how it ends. It’s all right. Come to my journal where I’m like, there’s nothing inside here. Don’t worry about it. We can try again tomorrow. And I’m just lying to myself completely. I want to know. Okay. So these, these morning things that you do enjoy book, and I know it sounds ridiculous that I’m asking you this, but how do you journal together? How does that work? Do you, is it, I can’t like, I know, give me a C like we, we, art journal all the time together, but journaling seems so vulnerable and personal. How does it work? What’s what’s the setup.

Elaine (48:20):
Yeah, so we pretty much any of the, any of the journaling on joy Bach. And, and some of it, you know, like goes a lot deeper than that, like this weekend. We’re about to tomorrow we’re about to start a an eight week series of like 90 minute sessions inspired by poet, Ross Gay’s book of delights. So each, each week we’re going to be journaling about delight. So, you know, sometimes it’s 90 minute sessions, similar to what I did on get messy. Sometimes the journaling is in the middle of a group coaching session. So like actually the way it works with the group coaching is people do some reflection prior to the session and they they send me their answers to a few questions. And then I come with a like a little bit of a teaching around a common theme that I’ve spotted and the answers, and then offer some journaling questions for people to write about in reflection to that in a way to sort of coach themselves around that, that theme.

Elaine (49:38):
But whether it’s, you know, like kind of a medium sized right in the middle of a group coaching session of, you know, a three minute, right. And the warning or a you know, a couple of deeper dives as part of a 90 minute session. Usually the way it works is we you know, we show up, we touched base a little bit and, and often at the beginning of the sessions I’ll try to kind of prime people for their writing by, by having us do a little check-in. So and again, this is something I did in the get messy session. Like just take a moment to, to check in with yourself, notice your state of being in this moment, and then think about a word or a phrase that CA that captures your state of being in this moment or begins to capture your state of being in this moment.

Elaine (50:37):
And that’s a way of just like, you know, kind of, I don’t know, sort of opening the channel, making contact with yourself. And so then we’ll usually do kind of a verbal check-in just sharing that, that word or phrase. So it’s, you know, not a whole lot of self-disclosure, but just a word or phrase. And then I offered the prompt set a timer for how, however long we’re going to write. We write until the chime sounds. And then there’s an opportunity for people if they want to to share a little bit about what either what came up when they were, were writing or or what the process of writing was like for them.

Speaker 4 (51:34):

Elaine (51:36):
Yeah, and that’s, and that’s it. So it’s,

Speaker 4 (51:40):

Elaine (51:42):
Often, often we end up having some really beautiful conversations about the things that came up and, you know, one of the things that’s so inspiring about it or moving about it is that, you know, like we’re, we’re all human, we all wrestle with the same stuff. You know, like we all have the same fundamental hopes and longings and, you know, for connection and love and and to be able to feel good about our lives. And so,

Speaker 4 (52:27):
Oh yeah. So

Elaine (52:30):
The, you know, the writing itself, we’re we’re each doing our own thing, you know, and and I, I actually ask people not to read from their journals, and I think we had this conversation in the, in the get messy workshop I did because you, like, you don’t want to get into a frame of mind where you’re you’re actually writing for an audience rather than being just fully authentic with yourself. And then when it comes to the sharing it is just a verbal reflection on the writing that you just did, but, you know, you decide what you want to share or what you don’t.

Speaker 4 (53:20):

Elaine (53:21):
I don’t know, does that, does that give a picture of how it does? Absolutely. I think when people are connecting so deeply with their own heart and coming together and sharing and being vulnerable, there’s so much I don’t know, there’s not really another word for it. There’s just magic that happens when there’s hot and vulnerability and true connection and people just being roll with each other and being allowing themselves to be seen and to see others. It’s really beautiful. It is really beautiful. It, you know, and

Elaine (54:06):
So this is something that like 20 years ago, I would have not I was not aware of about journaling, but like maybe 12 years ago, I started regularly journaling in the mornings a couple of days a week with with a friend like just the two of us meeting in a cafe, picking a topic or a theme and writing, and then debriefing like the same way that we do now on joy bog. And then I think it was six or seven years ago. I started leading a journaling group once a month where people come together to, you know, do the same kind of thing that we’re talking about, right. In response to some prompts or or ideas, images, whatever that I offer and then debrief it like that. And so I’ve, I’ve come to realize that you know, like journaling on my own is a tool.

Elaine (55:25):
I use a lot it’s really important to me, but I’ve come to think of it as a very social thing in a way. And there, and there is, and I can’t fully explain it, but there is something magical about writing in the presence of other people. And maybe it works the same way with art and art journaling, but there’s yeah, there’s just like this energy and and not always, but, but often my juiciest rights happen when there, when there are other, you know, other people with me and, and there’s yeah, I, I can’t explain it. That’s why I keep using the word magic. You can’t explain it. Yeah. It’s magic. And the, I were pro golf who created like one of the, probably most ground breaking approaches to, to journaling, but but it’s out there. There’s a quote that’s often attributed to him. Actually, if you read his book, it came from one of the participants in his sessions. But it talks about this being solitary work that we cannot do alone. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I mean, can you do it alone? Yes. But it’s not exactly the same.

Caylee (57:12):
I mean, for me, I don’t think I would keep on doing it. You know, I think that’s the only reason why I’m still doing this

Elaine (57:20):
It’s cause they other people doing it too. That’s the, yeah. The magic of doing it in community.

Caylee (57:27):
Tell me that, tell me that card again. I just want to hear it again.

Elaine (57:31):
This is solitary work. We cannot do alone. Beautiful, beautiful,

Caylee (57:38):
Man. I think that is, I want to talk to you forever. You know, that I always want to talk to you forever, but I think that’s already good place for us to stop get missions. We’ve been speaking about Elaine’s workshop the whole time. If you haven’t yet seen it, it’s inside the Get Messy library under workshops. And Elaine, can you tell us where we should go if we want to go to,

Elaine (58:03):
Yeah. It’s just joy, beautiful readdress, Joybook, life learning community. And that, that same workshop is also inside joy book along with loads of others. Yeah.

Caylee (58:21):
So do you want to dig into journey? You should definitely definitely go to Joe folk. And you can get more of a lean because this podcast episode is not enough to continue. Thank you so much for the chat today.

Elaine (58:37):
Oh my gosh. Thank you so much. I so enjoyed this.

Elaine Kiziah

Elaine teaches journaling and other soulful approaches to managing time and life. She’s an award-winning trainer, a life coach, and a big-hearted advocate for the meaningful work of listening to your own soul. In January 2020, she launched Joybook — a life learning community offering online courses, journaling prompts, and support related to time management, personal growth, and well-being. Elaine’s motto is, “Life is beautiful. Don’t miss it.”

Caylee Grey, host of Get Messy

The Get Messy Podcast

I’m Caylee Grey. Creator of Get Messy, official fairy freaking artmother and your pro excuse-squashing ninja.

In the Get Messy podcast I’ll be chatting to a selection of amazing, real-life humans just like you are who are dealing with the very same barriers … but overcoming them to create their art.

Together, we’ll explore what it REALLY means to be an artist. Practically. Warts and all. So that you can be an artist, today, now, even if you work a day job, have a million and one commitments and own a cat that likes sitting on your art.

No more excuses. Okay? Okay.