I have kept a journal or a diary for pretty much my whole life. Sometimes my entries consist of a quick list to jog my memory later, while others are 2 or 3 pages of my innermost thoughts. A close friend gave me the gift of a "Grief Journal" after my father died in August of 2008. It was a 'prompted' journal that helped me to organize my thoughts, which were all over the place. I journaled daily. Sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. It was too painful to talk about, but yet I came to a point in my grieving that I had to get it out. I wrote about everything. My memories of him and the days leading up to his death. I detailed our last conversation, word for word, so I would never, ever forget our last words to each other. I wrote about the night my daddy died in my arms, and about how I felt, and it was therapy in a way. Even though it's been over a year since he died, I'm still not thru the "5 Stages of Grief". No where near in fact, and I continue to journal. Sometimes it's too painful to write about my dad, but the journal helps me remember things, a task that has become extrememly difficult since my thoughts are so jumbled these days, and my brain never stops thinking.
I recently became interested, well obsessed is probably a better word for it, with mixed-media Art Journaling. In addition to always keeping a journal, I've always been fairly creative and 'artsy', but I never thought of combining the two. I spent hours searching the internet and visiting the websites of some extremely talented artists and I was so inspired by their work as well as the idea of an Art Journal as therapy. As I read more I discovered that Art Therapy is often used for people dealing with grief or trauma and decided I just had to give it a try. I felt as if all I had read about it was true, not only was it therapeutic, I began to learn so much about myself, so I could add personl growth to my list of positve effects of making an art journal. Not only was it a healthy way to express myself, it kept my mind focused and busy. I've decided to take it one step further by documenting my Art Journaling experience here on my blog. So here is my very first 'spread'. It isn't finished yet, but I am quite pleased with how it's coming a long.