How Keeping a Mindful Journal Can Bring You Calm and Clarity

How Keeping a Mindful Journal Can Bring You Calm and Clarity

For a little over one year, I kept a journal. At the time, I had been practicing mindfulness for a while and figured keeping a journal could be a helpful daily exercise towards my practice and life in general.

I already knew the power of writing. The way that writing from the heart, allowing everything to flow out of you as it will from thought or feeling to pen and then paper, can help calm the mind and bring clarity wasn't foreign to me.

However, a journal was the opportunity to do that on an almost moment-to-moment basis. Sometimes, I'd recap the day at the end of the day. Other times, I'd jot down sentences as I was thinking or feeling something throughout the day.

No matter how I did my journal for that day, a journal allowed me to start a dialogue within myself about what was going on within and around me. It helped bring clarity where there was none. In this way, it served as very much an extension of my mindfulness practice.

A journal might not be for everyone. However, whether you think it will be a worthwhile exercise or not I suggest you give it a try at least once.

So then, how do you do it? The rest of this post will detail the obvious questions of what kind of journal you should or can use and how to write in your mindful journal.

5 Easy Meditation Techniques for Beginners (and How to Know Where to Start)

5 Easy Meditation Techniques for Beginners (and How to Know Where to Start)

Years ago, meditation and mindfulness practice changed my life in ways I had never imagined were possible.

I'm not talking about increased productivity, the ability to make more money in my business, or some sort of mind-altering evolution, though. These are all things we chase in hopes of feeding our ego so that we can solve the "real" problem- that we feel a "void" within ourselves and we think we need something to "fill it up".

What mindfulness and meditation did do for me was:

  • Teach me how to become friends with myself and handle the inner dialogue that brings us down
  • Show me how to more skillfully manage the challenges of everyday life including my once heavy stress and anxiety
  • Give me the ability to tap into a deep sense of joy through cultivating a sense of gratitude and appreciation for life
  • And come in touch with a basic sense of peace that's beyond the ebbs and flows of daily life.

Mindfulness is the first form of meditation I suggest someone start with because it's the most fundamental of meditation practices and easy to learn (although not always easy to practice, particularly in the beginning).

In a basic sense, it's really just us becoming more aware, more present, in our daily life. However, when done with a sense of intent focus in a ritualized manner, any discursive mindfulness practice can become a deeply nourishing form of meditation.

You can do anything in mindfulness. And it's because you can do anything in mindfulness that it’s those things which we do most often, each and every day, that make up the core mindfulness practices: breathing, walking, eating, and really anything else to do with the body.

However, there’s more to it than that. These foundational exercises also happen to be some of the best mindfulness and meditation techniques for beginners as well. They're simple, straightforward and relatively easy to learn and each has its own unique property which means there is a practice that fits essentially every type of beginner.

How to Do a Mindful Retreat (in Your Own Backyard)

How to Do a Mindful Retreat (in Your Own Backyard)

I can't speak for elsewhere, but in the West, we're pretty bad at resting our mind and body (hence, our interest in meditation).

Whether it's a moment to ourselves at home simply enjoying a cup of coffee or tea or a full-blown vacation trip, most of us need to feel productive, otherwise, we believe we're wasting our time.

This can appear in obvious ways, like filling a moment of silence with the need to read something online, check Facebook, review our work, or update our schedule instead of simply enjoying that moment of silence.

Or, it can appear in a more subtle way, such as in filling the itinerary for a vacation so that you can, "get the most done" when it's supposedly time for rest and relaxation. The result? You get home more exhausted than when you left and you have no idea why.

Whatever we're doing, we need to feel productive for fear of wasting time. Unfortunately, most of us don't know how to turn this impulse off. However, even if you aren't guilty of this, the likelihood is you still don't take enough time for yourself.

By that I mean spending time by turning off all devices, quieting the chatter of our everyday life and resting in a place that allows the mind to settle.

Enter the meditation retreat: an event designed to allow you to step away from the normal environment of your daily life and into a place optimally designed for quieting the mind and turning inward.

A meditation retreat, which can last anywhere from one day to more than a full week (really any length of time) is:

How to Wake Up Through Play (and the Wisdom of Bill Murray)

How to Wake Up Through Play (and the Wisdom of Bill Murray)

What is work? What is play? Have you ever wondered what the difference is? And what's the value in questioning this in the first place?

Generally, play is reserved for activities which have no greater meaning or purpose and work for activities which contribute to some greater goal or agenda (actions which do have a greater meaning or purpose). However, even that's a misconception.

"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”

- Fred Rogers

I got an email from ABC Mouse recently, an online learning program we use for our oldest son, and it had that quote at the top of the email. This misconception of play not having worth exists not just for children, but for adults too.

We think that as adults we have to live seriously. We think that our work and responsibilities are serious business. But we've forgotten the value of play. Or, more specifically, living with the perspective of play.

When we're children, play is all we do. Even when we're in the midst of sincere pursuits (as serious or sincere as a pursuit can be for a child) such as playing sports we still do so in the spirit of play.

However, we get older and start chasing a sense of meaning and purpose because we feel the illusory void within our heart and mind more heavily, and as a result, begin to search for a way to fill it up. This leads us to forget about play and become immersed in "serious" pursuits that require more "work" and less "play time". At least, that's what we think.

However, this void is just that- it's an illusion- and so nothing we do will fill it up. "Are you saying then that this search for meaning and purpose is also an illusion?" Yes, I am.

My New Book, This Moment, is Now Available for Pre-Order! (Coming February 29th)

This Moment Pre-order post (1)

It's been more than 6 months in the making, but my new book, This Moment: How to Live Fully and Freely in the Present Moment, is almost here!

The book is now available for pre-order at and pre-orders have already begun rolling in. I couldn't be more excited to bring the book to you, it turned out far better than I had originally imagined.

The book is huge, roughly 50% larger than my last book, Zen for Everyday Life, which was big in itself. In the book, I cover every important principle I've found from a combination of my study of the world's wisdom traditions, life, writing and working with so many of you here on Buddhaimonia, and through my personal practice. I leave no stone unturned and no question unanswered, at least as best as I feel I can answer right now.

In it, I cover what I consider to be the four major principles for the realization of "it". That is, what we all want- peace, freedom, happiness. However you choose to describe it, they're all different shades of the same thing.

The basis for the book is the realization that there was more at play to the path of living peace and happiness than just mindfulness. As my practice began to develop, and as I continued to write here and talk with so many of you, I noticed certain key principles emerge that were just as important as mindfulness. It was then that I began piecing together this more "complete" practice for walking the path to peace and happiness.

The book will be officially released on February 29th (next Monday, as of the day this post will go live), but you can pre-order it now by going to You can also check out the different editions (including eBook, paperback, and you can even get the audiobook, plus a lot of cool bonus material to take the book even further), learn more about the book, and get 2 free sample chapters there as well.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the book so far, I deeply appreciate it! Be on the lookout for This Moment February 29th!

Pre-order This Moment today