7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life

7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life

I’ll never forget the night I sat down and decided that there was much more to keeping a journal than 30 days of Gratitude.  Don’t get me wrong, that is absolutely what started my goal of journaling for an entire year.  In 30 days, I saw more progress in my outside world than I had in a long time.  Starting a daily journal practice absolutely will change your life…if you commit to getting to know your subconscious mind. 

The thoughts.

There was a chasm, a freaking chasm, between who I wanted to be and what my thoughts were telling me.  I was not living up to my full potential and the 18 years of living with invisible diseases had worn away the once shiny coat I saw of life.  It was dull and bitter.  This wasn’t what I saw my life looking like, I would think through the hazy fog of pain.  Why bother getting out of my pajamas?  My subconscious would tease me.  Get under these blankets and rest.  You deserve it.  You have 7 invisible diseases.  No one blames you for sitting here.  You are just trying to survive.  And that’s when it hit me.

The goal.

I wanted to live, not merely survive.  I wanted to change my thoughts, my world and help others like me.  I wanted to be an inspiration to my children and I wanted my husband to stop feeling so helpless about the physical pain I was in.  I wanted my dad to stop looking at me like he broke me by passing on the genes that made me different.  And one night, it all came to me on how to help others with this.

7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life:

  1. Journaling clears your head.  As you begin the “getting ready for bed” routine, your brain has probably been on some sort of tech.  Your brain still thinks it’s play time actually, so it’s time to start clearing our heads, and start putting our brains to bed so to speak.  It is time to reduce the scattered thoughts that so much information available to us at one time (the internet) provides us.  As we get ready for bed, it is time to increase our focus on a few specific things and start to recharge.  We are now providing the bridge between our subconscious and our conscious waking thoughts.  So much information can just flow if we let go!
  2. Your intentions become more clear.  A few weeks ago, you would have thought I asked people to throw away their phones.  I simply suggested getting an old-fashioned alarm clock and stop relying so much on your phones to wake you up in the morning.  I merely pointed out that the tone with which you start your day stays with you (and that link is even a few years old, it is much greater now as it points out in the study).  So if you take 5-10 minutes to think about what your wrote the night before, and how to utilize the first 10 minutes of waking up as pure visualization, gratitude practice, and goal setting, you will start to see tiny changes in your productivity during the day.  New opportunities will arise.
  3. Abundance in your life will increase by your ability to be very specific with what you want.  Last year, I paid off a very high credit card bill because I wrote about my monthly goals every single month until that thing was paid off.  I was not in a good place financially at the time due to me leaving work to have my “sabbatical” of healing.  This is a true story.  I was driving a mini-van that was falling apart, and I knew that I wanted a new vehicle.  The funds came in for me to pay off the credit card bills, and have money left-over to get the vehicle without worry or fear.  I also renewed my passport and traveled overseas where I had been invited to speak at a conference.  It was exactly what I had written out.  I was specific on some things I wanted to get done and each month as I started a new month, I would plan out that month’s goals.  I got very clear and things changed.
  4. How do you want to feel each day?  Why is it so frustrating that as we live our lives, we focus so much on what we DON’T want to attract??  Why is it that we don’t ever take a minute to connect to how we actually want to feel?  To live?  What do we really want to experience on a daily basis?  I am by no means saying that there aren’t wonderful people out there who can help you figure this out in therapy, but I was spending my co-pay ($25 a visit at the time…now up to $30), trying to get “unstuck” from the depression caused by the diseases when I finally had the Epiphany that if I wrote just a little bit each day on how I wanted to feel, and what I wanted to create, that I could make more progress through the mental jungle in my head than the lady sitting there listening to me could.  I was holding back what I told her anyway (note, you can also use this in addition to, so just letting you know. There are many ways to use journaling).
  5. Gratitude starts to increase as you notice the good in your life.  Do you ever think that someone in your life could use more thoughts of gratitude?  I did too.  But trying to change another person is like changing a light bulb using the Force (unless you truly are a Jedi and I am mistaken).  You can mentally torture yourself about this other situation that you can’t change, or you can start focusing on the good you already have in your life.  As we think about the good in our lives, and we seriously raise our vibration to one of thankfulness and gratitude, things start to take on a whole new perspective.  Trust me, I know.  I will never forget the day I got to stock up my refrigerator with good food because surprisingly, gluten-free items are way more expensive than things with gluten…as well as things that don’t have additives.   I was so very thankful that I lived in a time when I could find the food I needed without getting sick.
  6. Comparison starts to melt away.  I was once friend with someone who always wanted what other people had.  Nothing in life made her happy.  At all.  This kind of stuff melts away as you focus on your monthly goals, your monthly intentions, your happiness and what you have.  Who cares what person x “appears” to have?  Truth bomb.  They are faking it too sister.  Yup.  Marriage might be rocky, job might be stressful, and they never have time to just breathe.  Don’t focus on their fappiness.  <<< My word for Fake-happy I made up one day.  That’s another story before the healing process…read later if you are there.
  7. Journaling gets you closer to self.  Head is where your thoughts are and they are things you really don’t want others to know.  Heart is actually where your self lives.  The two don’t always agree.  In fact, they often argue.  Your head is like “Let’s be practical with this money.”  Your heart is like “Oh my gosh.  I need a pick-me-up today.  Going to shop.”  This is just my example as I couldn’t put 2 thoughts together the other day as it was a bad news day for 2 friends, so I listened to my heart and stopped working and left the house.  AS I let go of that fear though, and learn to write about it, I actually visualize things working out.  Not just for me, but for others in my life as well.  Self is my essence and I know that it distinguishes me from others.  In this instance, I am not talking about the ego.  I am talking about who I was before I let all the labels of disease try to take over that essence.  For me personally, I had to find my way back there and that journey will look different for each and every one of you, but whether you write two lines on a page, draw art therapy photos under quotes, bullet journal, or just jot down monthly goals and intentions, you can find your way back.  Trust the process.

For more information on what came to me one night while I was journaling, see this link on my Mindful Coaching.  If you want some guidance on this process, with no strings attached, you can leave at anytime, click on the word support on that page and find me in my closed group.  The Head|Heart|Health Club would love to see you this month!

Who are you choosing to be?

Netiquette for sharing on Social Media…

So, for what seems to be the thousandth time, I have just explained again on social media how using the share button is actually different from stealing someone’s work.  I have many artist friends.  Many.  We create, we craft, we spend countless hours thinking of how a certain thing looks and how our audience might react to it.  But more importantly, we do it for ourselves.  Not to make millions of dollars, but because we feel this driving need to express ourselves.  If what we do resonates with you, then by all means share our work.  Please.

You can do that in any number of ways.  Copy the link to our site and message your friend.  Share and re-tweet us on Twitter.  Find us on Instagram and click the little heart.  Re-pin us on Pinterest.  Follow a blog.  Use the sharing tools on the blog.  Do you know why these are acceptable?  Because they link back to our original work.  But for whatever reason, when you are on Facebook, you might think downloading our work is acceptable.  Even though that awesome little share button is right there…it is made to circulate things you like.

Here is why downloading is not okay:  As stated basically by all the legal verbiage you can find on FB, When an image is published on the internet, the owner of that image immediately owns copyright.   If you doubt me, here is a reference link and you need to read Is it legal to download works from peer-to-peer networks and IF NOT what is the PENALTY for doing so?

So now you see why my friends are serious about the warnings they give.  “If you use a copyrighted work without authorization, the owner may be entitled to bring an infringement action against you.”  If you are a fan of many of the popular quote photo pages and you absolutely LOVE a particular quote, ask them if it’s on Pinterest so you can re-pin it.  If it’s not, maybe they will make it available for you.  I know I would if you said, I love this quote so much I want to marry it.  Or whatever you normally say.  I taught preschool (reminder).  I don’t adult correctly.

Moving on, but when you leave this long-winded comment on my page after I have nicely explained why the 50 photos you just downloaded into your albums are not actually yours and that’s like me taking all the photos of you, your kids and putting them in my albums and saying they are mine, and you leave me this negative comment, but you threw a Namaste after it, well then, my gosh, that’s ok.  Because you ended with “respect”.  How about respect me enough to begin with and share correctly.  That speaks volumes to me more than explaining away your actions by trying to cast blame.  And for the record, I meditate and am completing a 200-hour Vinyasa yoga teacher certification, but if I broke into your house and stole your things and you caught me, but said Namaste to you as I was leaving, I hope it would be okay with you.



changeLook at that.  Right there, I made a choice to change the way my blog looks just by adding this quote at the top.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous if all choices were that easy?  When Deepak Chopra writes about Applying the Law of “Karma” or Cause and Effect, he has this to say:  Whenever I make a choice, I will ask myself two questions: “What are the consequences of this choice that I’m making?  and “Will this choice bring fulfillment and happiness to me and also to those who are affected by this choice?”

Choices do have consequences.

How often do we genuinely pause and ponder these two questions?  You see the problem is, I think we don’t stop to think about it at all.  If you are about to do something, but you have not given much thought as to what happens next, it is best to actually pause and consider this.  The last year I was teaching, I made a plan to begin changing my career and go after what I really wanted.  I wanted to write, and I found that I had a knack for social media.  I knew that the consequences were going to include struggle as I continued to build up a writing portfolio.

The first time I was contacted by an editor who wanted me to submit an even longer piece for publication, I felt the excitement and happiness of my choice.  The first time I got a rejection letter in the mail, smeared with some sort of greasy substance, I felt the doubt of my choice.  All in all, I knew that my well-being was better off for having made the choice to take a chance.  I knew that without a doubt, my life would not change working all the time and coming home too exhausted to write.  I am happy with change.  Hopefully, my life is about to change again as I am ready for something new. 


Happy Blogiversary to us!  Without you reading my posts, there wouldn’t be a blog.  Ok, that’s not true, I would be lonely, but the truth is, I write for me as I’ve always said.  It heals something deep down inside me that was broken the day I found out about my first diagnosis of an “invisible disease” named Porphyria.  So without further ado, let’s go back there, shall we?  Cue psychedelic swirly things.  And poof!  We are in 1997.  That was the New Year’s Eve all the crazy decided it was time to come out.  It started with tests coming back odd…and I thought my life was just beginning with my soon-to-be husband back then.  Then I get told about the cervical dysplasia and I admit the word pre-cancerous cells is scary.  It just is.

So as we move into 1998, the year does not get any better at that point.  I find a man I am madly in love with and now I am falling apart…in more ways than one.  That’s when the blisters started.  Blisters. Are.  Bad.  These were not your ordinary ones mind you, well have a read over there at my link.  I’ll wait.  Humming music in my head.  Okay, back on track.  See I told you.  They used LATIN words.  Latin.  On me.  Who did they think they were dealing with??  I had a B.A. in English and was a researcher.  Of course I was going to find out what they trying to hide.  And it wasn’t going to be good…but I already knew the that the second she whispered to the other doctor.

Anyway, I consoled myself back then with the fact that out of all the porphyrias, mine seemed to be the less likely to cause internal pain.  I didn’t think about the psychological at the time.  The fact that I was such a strong person and this was slowly killing me inside.  But, I had a wedding to plan so let’s get to the rest of 1998, and how it lingered on.  You will want to read that link over there again.  I’ll wait for you to catch up because that one includes everyone’s favorite subject.  Vampire lore (hint, I do not sparkle, but yes, the burning part is real).  I have been told I am ageless.  There is some truth to that part of the myth as well.  I do get my blood taken for life.  But I would not wish this on even the most fervent Twilight fan.  P.S. that vamp is dumb.  My man Damon Salvatore is much better…in fact any vampire is better than Mr.  Sparkle.  Just my opinion.

Okay, back to me getting married at this point in my life with pints of blood taken every week, no sunlight, no birth control, no alcohol, and blisters still present.  Did I mention my skin burned?  Burned all over, but especially my hands.  Ding, ding ding!  See how I came up with the quote title??  It made perfect sense.  Love of literature combined with the horrible stuff going on in my body.  Poof.  Perfect title.  So let’s finish up remembering why I started this blog by reading this post the Summer of 1998.  And this my friends, is why I need to finish my book.  I believe my story can and does help others feel less alone in this world.  And this was just the beginning.


Guest blogging…

Hey everyone, I am appearing as a “guru” this week.  Isn’t that a fun word to say?  Guru.  “Sheila Burke is an inspirational and spiritual author and the founder the online communities of Hello Peace, Irie and Zensational Living” and this website called HelloPeace.Guru has my latest article.  Please pop over and have a look at her page.  Of course, I ermmm, used my funny GINORMOUS sunglasses photo, and should have used a different photo.  But that’s me…going all Elton John on you.  Except I’m pretty sure his glasses aren’t $5 or less.  Okay, next up, I found out the e-zine I wrote 2 articles for isn’t going to continue.  Sad face.  So I will publish one of those articles here soon as it really went in depth about illness and how to come back from it.

Being a guest blogger is fun and it’s also an easy way to get your name out there.

I also wrote something for this lovely lady that I met in my Wellness University group and she is publishing it on Tuesday I believe.  Here is a little something about Tina C. Hines.  “Tina C. Hines strives to educate, empower and enlighten women as they embark on their own personal journeys.  Tina’s professional career has always had one major focus – to inspire women to recognize that a part of them may be lying dormant within and reconnecting with that woman can transform their lives.”

So if you would like for me to write for you, just let me know.  My goal is to get all of my writings together on living with invisible diseases and publish a book.  I already have it started…just have to complete it.  I also want to launch a better website.  I love blogging and loved that this was a free site, but I need more.  So my next goal is to offer a free sort of e-letter, maybe a newsletter, and then the book.  The days of Facebook being the way I got the word out on my fan page seem to be dying.  I do have my business Vitalize You there, but even that has trouble getting seen.

Don’t be afraid to ask me questions about your own invisible illness.  If I know something that might help you, I will tell you.  I am not a doctor as you all know.  Merely someone who has been researching these diseases for 17 years now.  Give or take which one we are talking about.  And my nightly reminder for everyone:




Jack the Ripper…

Some years back, I traveled to London with a college group.  We were actually studying Children’s Literature in England; however, we got to do some additional excursions.  On reflection of one of the most famous London Walks, The “Jack the Ripper” walk, I wrote this:

It was your typical foggy night. Standing outside the pub in Whitechapel, I decided to have my friend walk me home. We talked about ordinary things like the weather and the latest news. We both worked late shifts and were tired. As we walked, the hairs on the back of my neck started to stand on end. I couldn’t say what was causing it, just a sense something was off.  My friend started talking about the latest girl who was found murdered nearby and what a shame it was that the girl would not see her lover again.  Perhaps that’s what did it…the mention of a lover.  I knew first hand who the girl was because she kept a room next to me.  I glanced around casually, and noticed that the streets were deserted.  The time was pretty late or early in the morning depending on your view.  I looked at the dirty cobbled streets and made a quick decision.  I pretended a rock was in my shoe and told my friend to stop a minute. Carefully taking my shoes off, I threw one at him and asked him to have a look for the rock. While he was busy catching the shoe, I made a break for it.  I knew how far it was to find the nearest “Bobbie” and I also knew who the girls’ lover was.  I would not be next Jack.  Not this time.


It was just meant to be a teaser if you will.  A short little piece on how someone would have felt if they figured out who the murderer was seconds before they realized they were in danger.  Naturally, when I just heard moments ago, that they believe to have identified the killer after all these years, I was intrigued.  Read more here if you are interested:  Jack the Ripper Unmasked

It was only a mater of time…give or take a 126 years.


hidden truth

The Written Word…

As an English major, I was taught to look deep into the meaning behind words.  Authors did not come out and say exactly what they meant.  Woven deep into the tapestry of their words were hidden meanings and plots within plots.  It was up to me, the reader, to figure out where they were leading me.  I am going to tell you that in real life, I really don’t want to untangle what you mean.

I expect you to have a straight forward conversation with me and I’ll be the same way with you.  If you don’t like what I have to say, by all means, don’t ask me questions.  What perplexes me most is when people read into what I am saying or writing for that matter.  The written word can be a lovely thing.  There are approximately 6,800 languages spoken in the world today.  The interesting thing is that if you don’t call me up and actually speak to me, and you catch one snippet of what I am saying without ever asking me questions, it can be like trying to decipher one of the 6,800 languages without having the Rosetta Stone (which was pretty awesome to see).

>> More on using guilt as a weapon here << As some people manipulate with words.

I have found more and more people in my life do not take the time to understand something and appear to be using some version of their own translation system.  It reminds me of the versions of the Bible, and how it has been translated into 6 different versions or more.  The more we translate and change a thing, the more it loses some of its original meaning.  I’m going to be honest, I was not aware of the Douay Rheims Bible until recently.  It is a Catholic translation into English, follows the original canon, which includes the 7 books of the apocrypha, AND predates the King James version, without the same errors and old English writing style.

I found that very interesting.  So the next time you read something and wonder if the person meant some fictitious story you have made up in your mind, kindly ask for their Rosetta Stone.  Just lay it on out there like that and I’m sure they’ll be happy to oblige.  Otherwise, it will be a year later and you’ll still be trying to figure things out.  “Oh no she didn’t.  I can’t believe that she wrote that about ______.”  Not even close.


Motivational Monday…The Love Mindset

“The greatest potential we have for opening our hearts lies in the opening of our minds.  The heart is simply a bank of emotional potential.  It’s a vastness of possible experience.  We all hold within us the capacity for joy, love, and laughter, but not everyone uses that capacity.  In order to use it, we need to reach a unity between heart and mind.”  So begins a paragraph I highlighted in The Love Mindset, by Vironika Tugaleva.  I found this statement to be moving.  Let’s think of every wrong, or every prejudice we feel we have stored inside of us, and imagine it melting away with the opening of your heart.  To do that we often hear, you have to be more “open-minded”.  We, as a collective, could benefit from that statement.

“Each commonality that we acknowledge between ourselves and another person acts as a sedative for the mind.  You find sameness and your mind loosens slightly, opening ever so gently to allow the breeze of love to enter into your core.”  In my experience of teaching little children, I have found that they most often think we are alike until we teach them otherwise.  That’s right.  I had to teach a whole unit on similarities and differences.  I always did it differently than most because I wanted my class to remember that what’s inside us is all the same.  So for me, this book was more about getting back to basics.  Re-setting yourself, if you will, and allowing your heart to be open as it once was.  Before the layers of hate, self-loathing, guilt and anger piled on to cloud your vision.

There were many moments when I reflected on healing my heart in this book, but none so clearly as when I read this passage “That which is good for us requires less upkeep than that which is not.”  For me, I have to crawl deep out of the pits of despair I feel when diagnosed with yet another “disease”.  She goes on to write “Living in a mind polluted with isolating, self-defeating thoughts is very, very difficult.  It is like drowning.  Once in a while, you surface up and take a gulp of air.  You remember that, maybe, you don’t have to suffer anymore.”  If at some point in your life, you have felt that way, you need to hold onto that lifeline being thrown your way and remember that there are countless others who love you and are there for you.  There really are.  So come back up, reach out, and learn what the love mindset is all about.

Vironika Tugaleva is an author, speaker, people lover, reformed cynic, and a different kind of spiritual teacher. She helps people heal their minds and discover their inner strength. *You’re invited to read more about Vironika and her inspiring book The Love Mindset.


*Don’t forget to comment if you would like a copy.  I will enter your name in a raffle and pick two!


Memories are a slippery substance meant to be held for a moment in your mind, acknowledged, then set free again.  They are there when you need them, but you can’t dwell in those moments as they are gone.  If I close my eyes, I can remember the smells of my grandma’s kitchen.  I can remember the pattern of the wallpaper, the tiny ducks walking around with bows on, and the door leading into the magical garage where my grandfather let me pretend I knew Morse code.

I can remember looking through the little window as he said his call sign, and he put his headphones on to “talk” to other Ham radio operates who had their “ears on”.  Playing with that microphone and pretending I was doing the same thing.  I would eventually end up back in the kitchen, as my grandmother was always making something wonderful.  The Kitchen Aid mixer would be whipping up icing, and cakes would be in the oven.  After I had eaten entirely too much icing out of old Cool Whip containers, I would wander off to play.  I started writing a series of children’s books based on my adventures, and of course, have not published them.  In fact, I only read them to my children just as I’ve always done with all my stories.

It hardly seems fair at all that my wonderful, generous, magical, yes magical, grandmother passed away at only 68 years old.  Today would have been her 89th birthday.  Over Thanksgiving, my Aunt remarked about how much my grandparents would have loved being there.  We all smiled that knowing smile even as our minds thought back to different memories for each of us.  Memories have that way of taking us back to the time and place of our choosing.  We can use them for good, or for bad.  We can be remorseful, resentful, or sorrowful that our loved ones were taken from us too early, or we can swallow the lump down and remember the good parts.  We can NOT go back and fix things, change things, or invent cures for cancer.  So stop that right now.  The hardest part of facing your memories is remembering the good without getting a lump in your throat, the tightness in your chest and the urge to cry.  After 21 years, you would think I had mastered that.  Writing this post has proven me wrong.  However, there has always been reason to celebrate today, because God also put my best-friend in my life at 5 (we always debate the earliest date, but we think kindergarten), and her birthday is also today.


The other half of the ghost story…

I couldn’t put into words last week what meeting this author did.  Here was my original post: http://theburnedhand.com/2013/10/24/ghost-stories/

Now, to complete what was actually going through my mind, I have composed this piece for you to read:

The Reappearance of the Pink Rose Petals

As told to me personally by the storyteller and writer L. B. Taylor, Jr.

At the Newport News Fall Festival, some years back (ended up being 1997), I was approached by an attractive, well-dressed lady named Mary.  She told me she had an experience I wouldn’t believe.  Of course, I had been told that before.  But this story is by far my favorite (I asked him to tell me his favorite “ghost” story).

Mr. Taylor is an older gentleman, and as he started this story, I felt connected to him as if my grandfather was telling me this tale.  So here is the tale as it was told to him:

When I was 12 years old, my grandmother died in Roanoke.  Her name was Mary Moody.  I was named after her.  I was always very close to her.  We had a special relationship.  I think she knew she was going to die, because a few days before she had given me her watch, which I had long admired.   She said she wouldn’t need it where she was going.  My grandfather had died a year earlier and I believe she dies grieving for him.

I must stop and use my own voice here to tell you why this gave me chills already.  I was very, very close with my own grandmother, Janie.  I was 17 years old when she was dying of cancer.  I refused to believe she would die up until the day before she passed away.  As the realization struck me what she was trying to tell me, I cried inconsolably.  I was given her watch by my grandfather and wore it every day after that until the chain broke one day and I was afraid of losing it, so I put it away.

At the church where the funeral service was held, as I looked down into the open casket, there were five small pink sweetheart roses in a little bouquet.  There was one for each of her grandchildren.  She had always loved pink roses.  Grandmother was buried wearing a beautiful pearl gray dressing gown.

My grandmother, Janie, also love pink and was buried in a pale pink casket with pinkish Gerbera daises around.

Thirteen years later, I was in the hospital.  A few months earlier I had had a very difficult birth delivery, and there were complications afterward.  I had cancer and it was serious. They were going to operate on me and they weren’t sure I would survive.  I was in an isolated room and only my husband could visit me.  There were no flowers in the room.  A priest was summoned.

Shortly before they were to take me to the operating room, a vision of my grandmother appeared to me, wearing the same pearl gray gown she had been buried in.  I was wide awake.  It was not a dream.  She smiled at me and said, “Don’t worry.  You will live to see your children’s children.”  And then the vision vanished. 

Nurses and attendants came into the room.  As they were lifting me from my hospital bed to a gurney, three pink rose petals fluttered to the floor.  As I said, there were no flowers in the room.  A nurse shouted, “Where the hell did they come from.”

That incident occurred more than 20 years ago, and my grandmother’s prophecy proved to be correct.  I survived the operation and there has been no recurrence of the cancer.  The doctors can’t explain it.

I believe the three pink rose petals represented symbols of my three children.  And I am convinced, as my grandmother told me, I will live to see my children’s children.

By the time he finished telling me this story, tears pricked behind my eyelids and my arms had chills.  You see, I needed to hear that story.  To this day, I miss my grandmother.  I have been having some health issues, and this made me think the story was yet another way she was telling me it was going to be okay.  Another odd fact, when I told my mother about this, she swore we had a copy of this book…that was my grandparents.  When she brought it to me, she said that the copyright was after they had both passed away.  No one remembered buying the book with this story in it, but there it was.

As told by Aimee Halpin in loving memory of Janie LaRue