Journaling Practice

Theme: Personal Credo

As part of our annual Coming of Age service, the participating youth share the credo statements they have created after a year of discernment and retreats designed to open their minds and hearts to their deepest values and most sacred connections to life and nature.

Do you have a credo to live by? Try this practice to articulate what you believe and how it helps you live in the world.

Find some music, gather a few colors of pens if it helps you to think more clearly when your journal looks bright and beautiful, and get yourself comfortably situated in a space with something beautiful to look at.

Pick one of the following questions and let your thoughts flow for about 3-5 minutes, or the length of one piece of music:

  • What connections to wonder and awe can I feel in the world and in myself?
  • What values do I want to be more alive in the world?
  • What activities make me feel most connected to my values?
  • Is there something in these answers that you might call God, or the Spirit, or your highest ideal?
  • Where is it, and how would you describe that power?
  • How does that higher ideal and your value set guide your actions in life?

A few more options for engagement: Feel free to come back to do different questions, or to answer the same one again and again, seeing how your answers may change over time. Try to distill these answers into some kind of a positive statement of belief that is between 250-500 words. Put it somewhere where you’ll come back to it every few weeks and test whether your credo is matching your day-to-day choices and reflect on that.

Theme: Embodiment

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day, and we spoke to the embodiments of nurturing in motherhood and in our lives. This week, consider a way that you nurture or are nurtured and do that in a thoughtful and connected way, knowing that nurturing one another is part of our shared religious responsibility as Unitarian Universalists. 

Think about the ways in which you are a nurturer for others or could be.

Do you care for a partner by making them food, cleaning house, taking them out for a nice meal, or giving a massage?

Do you care for friends by lending a listening ear over coffee, sending a kind note, inviting them to a movie, or giving them a hug now and then?

Are you a nurturer in our church community by bringing snacks to a meeting, inviting people to dinner at your home, playing music for a person who is ill, or hosting a game night?

Can you nurture the earth itself by weeding a garden plot, helping pick up litter, or trail building in the national parks?

This week, practice nurturing in some way, and reflect on the experience through drawing, writing in a journal, or speaking into a recorder. How does it feel to nurture others? Do you find benefits to yourself when you offer this kind of attention to others? Why do we enjoy nurturing activities? How does our whole community benefit from offering embodied nurturing and care to one another?


Theme: Transformation

Last week included a theme of dirtying our hands, getting involved even when it’s messy, and the need to be personally connected to what brings hope, growth, and transformation. Using the metaphor of planting, dirty hands, and growth, I invite you to think about a time in your life when you got messy, got involved, in order to create a chance for growth and transformation to blossom.

Write out a short story that tells about this event or process. You might want to particularly focus on a time of injustice, racial discrimination, bullying, or other social inequity, but feel free to make this work for what you need to think about in your own life.

Now go back and read through what you’ve written. Use a different colored pen to help you underline, add notes, or make edits.

Consider some questions:

Are there larger lessons or particular kinds of language you see as patterns or threads in this transformation story?

How was the situation transformed? And what are the ways you were transformed?

Where was the greater ethic or value in this situation?
What called you to act, and what held you back?

Was there a sense of something greater, a God, highest ideal, or connection with humanity that oriented you?

What did you learn and carry forward from this experience?

Hold gratitude for your own life and the experiences that teach and transform each of us.


Theme: Risk

In order to map out a course for adventure, it can be helpful to journal as a meditative practice to guide you in contemplation of your life up to this point, and the things you hope and long for. Consider journaling over the next few days with a variety of the prompts listed below. You may wish to put on some meditative music, gather a few colors of pens if it helps you to think more clearly when your journal looks artistic, and get yourself comfortably situated.

Pick one of the following questions and let your thoughts flow for about 3-5 minutes, or the length of one piece of music:

What do I love and want more of in my life?
What am I afraid of?
What values do I want to do more to make active in the world?
What makes me feel most present with the love, life, and spirit of the universe?
Where has my spiritual path come from, and where do I hope it will lead me?
What do I need to let go of in order to feel more joy in my life?
What little adventures could I have that would make me feel more prepared for a big one?

Feel free to come back to do different questions, or to answer the same one again and again, seeing how your answers may change over time.


Theme: Identity

Where Do I Find My Treasure?

This journaling prompt centers on engaging with our spiritual identity and deepening our understanding of our core values. We will use a short story by Eckhart Tolle as an allegory to help us delve into a journal practice of defining our core values.