The first lesson in Facing Forward II went live today, and I got out my handy calculator to add up the total viewing time. 4.8 hours. Dudes. Crazy. In our first lesson together, there is a tutorial on journaling your way from blurts (negative self-talk) to bouquets (affirmations that you can use as sentiments in your art journal). We also create two different kinds of spreads – one really complex & deeply shaded, and the other, created with a template that I’ve provided, that is much less work intensive, but no less meaningful. I round out the lesson with the creation of a wee affirmation card, made with an artist tile.

Jam. Packed. I’m really proud of it.

Working with affirmations is tricksy, because we can get caught up in feeling like big fat liars when you use them. I help you with that in the introductory video as well, because I struggle with this myself.

ANYWAY! I’d love to see you in there, if you’re so inclined.


On to today’s ASK EFFY ANYTHING.

Alma wrote:

Hi Effy,

Enjoy reading your blog and one of your sentences lead me to my question.   You wrote ” I *do* have confidence in, however, is my ability to spill,”
I’ve been journaling for 50+ yrs and I’ve explored many methods and journeys on the page.  But lately I feel like I can’t dig deep enough, I know there’s more to find deep down, but just can’t reach there.   When I journal, it feels like a regurgitation! ‘Been there, done that…. ‘  What suggestions would you have for diving really really deeply into the layers of my soul?


As I read your letter, two books came to mind, since they are my ‘go-to’ resources for any kind of creative block. The first is “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron which advocates three longhand pages of journaling a day, much of which will absolutely be ‘regurgitation’, and the second is “Life’s Companion: Journal Writing As A Spiritual Practice” by Christina Baldwin.

I know that your question is about art journaling, but here’s the thing. Written journaling can lead beautifully into art journaling. In fact, there are very few spreads in my art journal that didn’t first begin as some kind of written exploration.

I’m also wondering if you may be a little bit wrapped up in creating beautiful things vs. addressing your internal processes. I know that when I get caught up in the making part of art journaling versus the digging around in my own stuff part, the spreads I create tend to fall flat for me. They don’t feel deep enough. They don’t feel like they say anything much about what’s going on with me.

If you want to deepen your journaling, one of the best ways is to trust the regurgitation part of things. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but I really believe that doing a daily regurgitation of what’s going on can lead us the deeper material *if we let it*. The way to let it is to let the mind do the regurgitation thing for as long as it needs to. When you feel like you’ve cleared your mental decks of all of the ‘this happened and that happened’ and you don’t think you have anything left to say, I find it really helpful to ask myself “What am I sitting with?” I’m usually looking for something that isn’t settled in me – a memory, or a feeling I’m not quite sure I understand. Getting to this deeper stuff can take patience. You may have a journaling practice for quite some time before it starts to happen, but if you commit to at least three pages of long hand a day, eventually, your regurgitation will get shorter, and you will go for the deep dive much more quickly.

Sometimes, I start my journaling session by asking myself “What’s up, buttercup?”

This gives me permission to speak to myself on the page as though I am a beloved, trusted friend. I find this most helpful if I’m feeling a confusion of things, or if I can’t quite get my thoughts straight.

Here are two videos from Facing Forward II that go into more detail on the easy journaling practice I use to get to what’s going on in my innards. I also take it to the next level in search of the reframe or affirmation that I might take into the art journal as a way to begin to heal the harder stuff I might be feeling.

Journaling for access to your inner voices.

Originally filmed for Facing Forward II.

Working with affirmations to design art journal spreads.

Originally filmed for Facing Forward II.

Here’s a spread I created after working with this journaling process.


Sometimes, though, there is nothing ‘deeper’ to access.

We do get to have these lovely periods in our lives when a calm surface does not veil choppy waters. Sometimes, the calm is real. We are in a good place. We need not dig, because whatever is there either hasn’t finished bubbling up to the surface yet, or there is nothing there to bubble up. We should all be so lucky. :) I especially enjoy these phases of my life as short lived as they might be!

There’s also a misunderstanding that deep stuff must be heavy or painful.

This is so not true. Sometimes the deepest stuff is about how much beauty there is in our lives. Sometimes it’s about our profound gratitude for our lives. Sometimes there is just so much peace at hand, that things can feel ‘too simple’, but this peace deep, wide, and very full. These topics can be difficult to journal about because we can feel trite, too flowery, ‘purple’. It’s okay to extol the wonderfulness in your life, though, and spreads created from that vantage point can be as equally deep and meaningful as the ones that come out of our more difficult feelings & experiences.

There’s another thought coming up for me around trust.

Can you be trusted to really hear what it is that your soul is wanting? Do you work to change the things that come up over and over again? Do you trust yourself to act upon the deeper truths? Or have you broken contracts with yourself so that your inner voices no longer trust you to do anything about what *does* come up. This is not uncommon, and it’s something I struggle with myself. When I regurgitate over the same issues over and over again for years, but refuse to/or can’t do the deeper work of *changing it*, I can lose faith with myself. I stop trusting myself. Journaling can feel like a slog instead of a practice that nourishes me. The trick there, I think, is to acknowledge it, forgive myself, and begin to ask myself ‘What should I be doing about this?’ Break it down, and do the simplest, easiest step.

I hope this gives you some stuff to think about! <3

Thank you all for the questions you sent this week! I have a juicy bundle of them to draw from now, and I am very grateful for your participation in this series!

Don’t forget to check out Life Book 2017, and Let’s Face It 2017. I will be in both classes next year, and I would absolutely love to see you there! I’d love it if you’d join me for Facing Forward II which started TODAY! You can also join me in Book Of Days Semi-Annual, which is ongoing through till the end of December, or any other of the classes I’ll be appearing in next year, or teaching in my own platform. If you’re looking for a FREE fun challenge, try Journal52!

To join the conversation, sign up for my newsletter, and send in your questions for Ask Effy Anything!


Effy Wild


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