New York City Subway Series: Journaling

January 18 by

New York City Subway Series:  Journaling

Recently, I visited New York.  We spent a lot of time moving from place to place via the subway. If you’ve never ridden the subway in New York, I highly recommend it.  If you’re a writer, photographer, or artist, I would go as far as to say riding the subway is a MUST. Yes, it’s dirty, it’s loud, it’s crowded, it can be smelly and tight and frustrating.  But, it’s a great place to people watch.  Every possible walk of life moves through New York by that means of transportation.

So, over the next three blog posts, I’ll offer up some of my observations and thoughts around what I saw and what it meant to me.

The subway is a great place to lose yourself in thought.  And on one trip, we sat across from a lovely woman who was not only lost in thought, but she was journaling.  She was completely oblivious to everything around her as she focused solely on her writing.  You could tell she loved the journal, and that she used it often, if not daily, by the bruised and somewhat tattered edges of the paper.  The pen she used had no specialness to it.  It was a simple one click, pocket ink pen.  It appeared to simply be the means by which she transferred her thoughts to a visual representation through ink.

I watched her face as she considered her words.  Her guard appeared to be completely down. She was lost in her thoughts.  Sometimes she smiled, other times her brow furrowed with some kind of thought process that I couldn’t interpret, not knowing her at all.  She didn’t look up from her pages.  She kept her eyes on the place where pen met paper.  Sometimes it appeared she closed her eyes, but overall, it seemed that she gave herself over to the process of writing it all down.

Journaling IS a process.  And though it doesn’t necessarily require consistency, it does require attention when you do sit down to write.  It doesn’t really matter so much what you’re putting down on the page.  It could be something as simple as a list of the things accomplished that day, or places visited, or what was eaten.  But it requires the attention to get the details right, whatever details you’re putting down.  For me, it’s around getting my thoughts in order, allowing myself to feel whatever it is that’s circling inside me, getting the thoughts that crowd my mind out so that there’s space to think about other things, or there’s room for peace so that sleep can come.

Seeing this woman giving herself over to her journaling process in the middle of a loud, crowded subway, with people coming and going, standing over her, or doing their own thing on the bench beside her reminded me that no matter what chaos is moving around us, it’s important to give ourselves over to our process.  To lose ourselves in thought, in the process, in the creating.  Be it journaling, writing a story or blog post, allowing ourselves to give in to it wholly allows an authenticity we won’t get in any other way.  It allows us to get the words on the page.

Do you keep a journal?  Are you giving in to your process?  Are you allowing yourself the space to be authentic?  Do you lose yourself in it?

Cathy Lynn

About Cathy Lynn

Cathy Lynn is an artist, writer, executive trainer, and the co-owner of Inkwell Basics. She has published two coloring books, Conscious Coloring and Carnal Coloring. She's currently working on a novel, and turning her farm into an event venue. She previously blogged at 3 Shared Paths, a personal growth blog that was read worldwide, and has been blogging for over 10 years. She lives somewhere between the city and the country with her three cats, Sebastian, Miss Kitty, and Ella.

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