097 – Journaling Your Way to Spiritual Growth (With Tracy Winchell)

2020 is (almost) here! now is a great time to start up a journal to walk with you in spiritual growth!

What if you could go back in time to see where you have been? You could look at all you’ve come through and seen just how much you have grown. Think of how much that could do for your self-confidence, understanding, and even spiritual journey. That is just a few of the many reasons why we believe journaling is such an important part of progress.

This week, we are talking with Tracy Winchell, host of the reboots podcast. Tracy is an avid journaler and teacher of journaling practices. She shares with us her methods she uses to keep an active journal, how writing notes to your future self helps you gain insight into your own growth and to be better you, and how through journaling we can keep gratitude at the forefront of our minds.

It’s about to be a new year! What better time to start journaling. Your future self will thank you!

This week we talk about:

  • Keeping an attitude of gratitude
  • Daily Journaling practices
  • Using journaling as a way to reflect on where you have been
  • Overcoming self-doubt and perfectionism
  • How journaling assists in your spiritual growth
View Transcription (by Otter.ai)

Cody Johnston 1:28
Hey everyone, welcome to the reckless pursuit. My name is Cody and my name is Elaine and this is episode 97.

Unknown Speaker 1:35
And today we are standing up.

Cody Johnston 1:37
No literally guys. Quick little flash briefing. Our house flooded

Unknown Speaker 1:44
were like flash flood.

Cody Johnston 1:45
Yeah, okay. Sure. Emergency Alert. We came home from our vacation to find that our refrigerator filter busted and our entire office along with the rest of the entire downstairs of our house. was covered in sanding water. And so we are in the process of ripping up floors and getting everything to put it back together. So luckily for us, we already had an amazing conversation before we went on vacation. We actually had this conversation back in like August, I think, just for New Year. We planned this out way in advance. So all we’re having to do is record numbers. Yeah. And so we have an amazing conversation with Tracy Winchell, a returning visitor here on the reckless pursuit. She is an amazing woman. I just want to start by saying I love Tracy she’s just one of the most fun encouraging uplifting people to talk to. So you gotta listen just

Unknown Speaker 2:46
he’s also from Arkansas. So that is like, bonus point and we

Cody Johnston 2:48
did not know that whenever we like met her the first time so that was cool. So she is from like, state. She’s from a part of Arkansas. We wish we were from But hey, so Tracy is an amazing person and on top of that cine lane share something very large in common is that they are both very large advocates for journaling. Very large advocates for what it can do for your life and I know going into the new year, it just seemed like the perfect fit like journaling. Hey, everyone, what better time to start tracking your life, then journaling? You and I both have journaling practices. Tracy has an expansive journaling practice and has many different things to offer and bring to the table as far as that goes. And let’s just kind of just I guess, line this up by saying journaling isn’t just writing down something isn’t just even going back and rereading it. It’s really to document where you’ve come from. So you can see that growth. And it helps you to just just that self compassion and love and acceptance of yourself, just expressing who you are. And really getting out of those ruts because you can see where you’ve been and where you’re going. And it just outlines life in this beautiful way if we didn’t have journals, there’s a lot of the New Testament we wouldn’t have we wouldn’t have many of the Old Testament books. A lot of these things were journals. And so it’s a beautiful expression of what God is doing in every one of our lives. And so I just I highly encourage journal pressures and I really enjoyed this episode with Tracy because she just goes into so much about that. Just a quick little self, I guess like self serving selfless, selfless pulling selfish, selfish plug. Guys, if you have not done so, so far, head over to Cedar temple.com and check out our entire line of reckless pursuit attire, you can actually go to the reckless pursuit calm and click on shop in the top corner. That’s probably the easier way to get there. But a cedar temple is moneyline side business and we have a ton of nomads shirts, we have a ton of reckless pursuit shirt, shirts, we have hoodies, we have a little bit everything caught up in there. So if you want to sport some spiritual Nomad, a tire Head on over there and get hooked up. And I guess the last thing I want to kind of throw out here is nomads

Tracy Winchell 5:06

Cody Johnston 5:07
growing. Yes. Oh, so we’re to nomads safe community to ask unsafe questions. You can find links for that in the show notes below we would love

Elaine Johnston 5:17
to have you there there you go you go hey this each other’s didn’t say that’s what will happen in this group. So

Cody Johnston 5:23
there you go. So get it again. Alright guys we’re tired of standing and yeah so luckily like I said we had this recorded for you guys and it’s a good one, everyone. Let’s get right to this episode with Tracy windrow host of the reboots podcast. Hey everyone we are here with Tracy Winchell, host of the reboot podcast. She is back to hit on some topics we didn’t get to cover last time. Tracy How are you doing?

Tracy Winchell 5:51
I’m great. I love getting to hang out with you guys. It’s a as we record this, it is blistering hot in Arkansas. And yes, Mr. Winchester is snoring in the background so if you hear you hear it is weird noise it’s a dog snoring so

Cody Johnston 6:09
that’s okay Doppler is laying in the floor and he’s been on this like whimpering in his sleep kick. So yes, maybe they’ll maybe they’ll get to

Unknown Speaker 6:19
eat Yeah.

Cody Johnston 6:21
He’s uh i think he’s dreaming of better weather for a husky is not enjoying Arkansas.

Elaine Johnston 6:28
hundred degree heat index.

Tracy Winchell 6:30
Wow, the heat index here yesterday or the day before was like 121 6120 the next Yeah, it’s

Cody Johnston 6:40
been ridiculous. So luckily for our listeners when this comes out, it should knife is this hot. When this comes out? We have a really big problem. They probably do have a really big problem but yeah. So they can reminisce on what it’s like to live in Arkansas heat again, but today We’re talking about journaling and how journaling assists in our spiritual journey and growth. And this is something we originally were going to talk about on last episode, but we didn’t quite get to it. And so that means we get to have a part two. And so here we are. And now Tracy, I’m just going to kind of open the floor to you just to remind everyone, what reboots is. And also, just to share a little bit I know journaling is something you’re passionate about, just going to give you a chance to just kind of dive into

Tracy Winchell 7:30
all things, reboots, feature stories about people who have been forced to start over, either through dumb stuff they’ve done or just because life happens. And we started the podcast more than two years ago. And just this summer, we’ve been releasing some fun episodes beyond just how people navigate change. We’ve been doing some quick 2030 minute episodes about how people use journaling to help them navigate change. And I’m loving the feedback on that. In fact, by the time this episode airs for you guys, you too will have participated in the change journals. And I’m so excited. Yes. Because what people are figuring out as they listen is, oh my goodness, this doesn’t have to be three hours of, of writing in the wilderness, you know, and boxes of tissue and it’s just, it can be a daily practice. And I’m really having fun talking to people about their change journals and how they journal and it. I learned something new every day. I’ve been journaling pretty regularly since about 2012 or 2013. And I’m beginning to figure out the power of just keeping quick logs to process change, to measure change. And to affect change in my life. So it’s really fun to be able to talk about that with people. It’s really cool.

Cody Johnston 9:06
So, I’m gonna I’m gonna ask one question here that I’m going to be quiet because Elaine is the journal or I journal, but she’s the hardcore done this like, I don’t know, I think as soon as you were able to hold an ink pen, you were probably journaling. Yeah. So my first question is just to kind of frame that and I’m gonna let her take it over. But uh, so what got you into journaling?

Tracy Winchell 9:26
I’ve always liked keeping logs, but I was a year into recovery from unresolved grief. And a friend said, this was November my our birthdays are the same day. It was early November and a friend of mine said, I want to challenge you to keep a gratitude log for 30 days, man. I’m gonna do that. And for whatever reason, because she’s sweet because I respect her. And because everything she had told me to do for another months was working. I thought, okay, I’ll try it. So I did through that November, I forgotten whether it was 2012 2013. But I kept the gratitude journal, and I was effective something like 40% of the time that month. And for whatever reason, I kept going. And I looked up three or four months later and started finding the research about gratitude journaling and how it No kidding, changes our brains, like you can see it on a CT scan, about how different pieces of our brains start to fire and I was different. And I wasn’t even trying hard. So from there, I got even more intentional about journaling in the mornings. And in recovery and Celebrate Recovery. There are a couple of of journaling techniques that I began to practice and it started Change my world reduced anxiety helped me sleep better at night. And, yeah, I just kept going. And then as I launched the reboots podcast, and I began to understand a lot of people keep journals in order to either navigate change that has happened to them, or to effect change that they finally have decided, I want to make this change all my reboots guests that I have asked this question. Has your reboot journey been? A choice, a decision or something else? Every single one that I’ve asked that question to is said, it was a moment that I made a decision to change, followed by a series of daily, sometimes moment by moment choices, and journaling helps us instead of seeing how far we have to go, journaling helps us measure how far we’ve been Which gives us hope. That’s good. That’s really good. Yeah,

Cody Johnston 12:03
that’s really good.

Elaine Johnston 12:04
So what does your journaling process look like?

Tracy Winchell 12:07
Oh, I’m always tinkering with it, you know, at at the core is a gratitude journal. And like, I have to do that at least once a day. There are times when I do it in the mornings in the evenings. This is this is this morning. And I don’t make it complicated. So good night sleep. temperatures below 100 degrees. And a clean Mr. Winchester. I get to give him a bath last night because it was cool enough. And so anyway, that that’s this morning’s so I’m always going to do that. And then in the evenings, I’m typically going to and this isn’t the typical kind of journaling, but I’m typically going to have a look at what I did during the day. I’m going to I’m going to check off the things that I got done, and then I’m going to mark off my next day, so Things What do I have to do tomorrow? This is sort of a productivity journal, I suppose. But I’m also typically going to do what we in recovery call step 10, which is to take a fearless and searching moral inventory of our day, and that those questions are going to change depending on what I’m struggling with. But that step 10 log is going to be something I did well today, something I struggled with. And it’s typically going to set my intention for the next day, like, do I owe someone an apology? And how am I going to get that done tomorrow? And just to clean the slate, so that i’m not i’m not awake worrying about, I need to do this tomorrow. I need to do this tomorrow. Well, those things are written down. Right. And it just really helps me. One other question that I really love to answer is what did I learn today and looking back on those to reflect On those months and years later, those are fun. A lot of good things come out of those. So sometimes I’ll, I’ll write something down at noon. When I come up for air, I’ll just kind of log something here. I’m really struggling today, or Wow, I had a great interview with Cody and Elaine and we talked about this and how awesome was that? So I’m almost constantly writing stuff down.

Elaine Johnston 14:26
So what have you learned about yourself through journaling? Since it specifically since 2013? Whenever you started with your gratitude journal, like since then what have you learned about yourself through journaling? Or what is God showing you? Well,

Tracy Winchell 14:40
I’ve learned to tell myself the truth about me sort of Clint Eastwood style, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m not afraid to say, you know, I shouldn’t have said that today. Or I really should have done this today. I have a tendency to beat myself up and to just be Do a lot more than evaluate my behavior, but to just really call myself names. And, and that’s just not a good way to live. So what I’m learning to do is balance that. So, gosh, Tracy, you really held your tongue here, right? Or you really did a good job of doing this thing today that you didn’t want to do that really meant something to someone else. So that good, the bad and the ugly, just being able to evaluate that is super important. Which leads me kind of to the next piece. The the journaling is a spiritual practice. Once I accept myself as I am once I’m able to evaluate the good, the bad and the ugly and just kind of be okay. Yeah, you know, I hate that I did that or I wish I’d done that. But God loves me exactly as I am. And Lord willing, I get a new day tomorrow. Morrow to try again. Thank you, Lord. So this next piece is incredible. And, and I don’t know why I was missing this for so long, but journaling helps me tell myself the truth about my role in the universe. I read Ryan holidays, the obstacle is the way and that was the first time in my life I ever considered this notion that the world is at best indifferent to me. You know, we we talked about, we talked about what a bad things happen to good people. Well, bad things happen to all of us. It’s how life works. The world doesn’t hate me. The world doesn’t love me. It’s Yeah, there’s Winchell, okay, whatever. And that’s on a good day. There are days when the universe is like. Right. Right. And so the other the other things quickly that journaling helps me do is it helps me tell myself the truth about my relationships with other people. And that’s super important. Plus it helps me tell the truth about where I’ve been the potential of where I’m going. And all of that helps me stay right here in the present moment. And it’s just it’s a life is a lot more enjoyable when instead of saying it’s too hot outside, I wish it were winter. I can say, Wow, our pompous grass is lovely today, or the cicadas are gorgeous. Not really pretty, but they sound nice. From inside and thank you for the air conditioner, God, you know, just, there’s a big difference there. And you know, in 50 something years most of my life I have, I have longed for the next Arkansas season and in 2019 I’m enjoying the season as it is It’s a remarkable way to live.

Elaine Johnston 18:03
So how is journaling helped you transition through New Seasons and change?

Tracy Winchell 18:08
Well, I can measure them. I don’t reflect on my past journals as often as some people do. It’s, you know, I’ll typically reflect 15 minutes or so a week, maybe 30 minutes. As I’m planning the next week. Interestingly enough, I reflect most of the time as I’m preparing course curriculum to teach other people how to journal because I go back and I and I look at my past journals for material on how something has helped me. And as I look back, look back in in my written journals, and for whatever reason I don’t reflect very often when I journal digitally, and I don’t know why but when I when I have my big stack of notebooks like these and and i Typically will use a little tab indicator and highlighter. And when I reflect on those, I’m able to see victories that I probably wouldn’t otherwise See, which then helps me know that whatever I’m facing today, then next week, next month, next year, here’s a moment for growth.

Cody Johnston 19:27
So Tracy, you were just talking about the reflection process. And that is something that’s very interesting to me, because I know it’s one of my biggest struggles is actually trying to trying to do that very thing and trying to reflect on what I’ve written, and sometimes I feel guilty because I don’t do it enough. So how important is that? How can we get in a better habit of doing that?

Tracy Winchell 19:48
You know?

That’s kind of a loaded question, right? Because there are some people who are going to say you have to reflect in order to celebrate But I you know, the way I teach other people how to journal is go with what you got when journaling becomes should could would need to do this or do that. Well gee, no wonder Nobody does it because they think there are rules and there are not rules. I recently wrote a piece for Sean block, because he wrote, he’s got a really popular post about how he writes himself a note the afternoon before to help him get kick started on his writing routine early the next morning, and it’s like a post it sized note that he just says, tomorrow I’m going to write about my journaling practice or whatever, any sticks that note on his computer, and then as soon as he sits down at his desk The next morning, then he starts writing and he writes at least 1000 words. So I love that That note process. And I started trying to do that note process only. What it became was this daily lengthy diatribe at the end of the day about what I didn’t get done this day and how tomorrow Tracy is going to have to do this, this, this, this and this because today, Tracy just didn’t get it done and wasted a lot of time on Blab. Right. So I took Sean blocks the note, and I failed at it. But I kept going, and instead, what I ended up with was a practice that I call writing a note to my next day self and I’m not doing that right now. But I will the moment that I can I see myself beginning to struggle with self doubt or perfectionism or or self worth. Because what happened is that I was able to learn to be kind to my next day trade I would start the know with. So today’s Wednesday, at the end of the day, hey, Thursday, Tracy, we had a really good day today we got to talk to Cody and Elaine. And we did this because we had some, some trouble with, with technical stuff. We didn’t get this, this and this done, but that’s okay. Because Thursday, Tracy, you’re going to have plenty of time to get this done. And then I whatever that note may be and then I sign it. Respectfully Wednesday, Tracy. So I say all that to say, I took a failed journaling practice by Sean block who is incredibly well known in the productivity space in the online course creation space. I failed at it. And I made this thing my own, because it helped me crush self doubt. And perfectionism. So you asked the question about reflecting, and should you spend more time reflecting? I think you should continue Do what you do and what works for you. If at some time you feel like, gosh, maybe I need to go back and see where I was this time last year to help me work through a struggle this time right now when we were kind of dealing with the same thing, then do it but if you’re feeling guilty about not reflecting, that’s just on you. That’s guilt, man. That’s shame and shame got no place in in a guy who’s redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

Cody Johnston 23:33
Yeah, that’s really good. So with that, I think I already know the answer this question based off what you just said, but do you have a system of different journals you write everything in one is it good to chop it up? Does it just depend on you? How does that work?

Tracy Winchell 23:48
Mine’s probably a bit too haphazard because I love trying new products. Right now. I’m using the monk manual. I have, I’ve had some great conversations with Steve Lawson on the reboots podcast. And I love this product. So this is how I’m doing my organizing my productivity time. It’s where I’m keeping my gratitude log right now. But then I have this book just sort of from my daily logs. And that’s this is a traditional bullet journal like writer Carol does. I keep all my notes in here. This is this is actually the fourth one for 2019. This is the third one. I actually do some journaling in day one. Just some quick thoughts if if my if I’m really having trouble getting started in the morning, I’ll do just a quick Hey, good morning. We’re struggling to get started today. Blah, blah, blah, blah. And I’ll just keep going. And I also will do it, dear. Sometimes when my head is so cluttered, the only way I’m going to genuinely get some quiet time in is if I read a short passage in Scripture, and then talk to God about it. And I will do that digitally. So, right now, I would say my journaling habit is probably too scattered. I’m also doing a little bit of a time tracker challenge. And on one page and this is this is Matt Raglan style. But on this page, I’m putting my distractions down. The last couple of weeks have been really scattered and it’s been hard to focus. So like, Monday, I wrote down my distractions. I got stuck on Facebook Messenger. My eyes hurt. I know right? And then, oh, this is Monday when I was working at the coffee shop, and this stupid fly just kept landing on me and I couldn’t And then I had an asthma episode. So it’s fascinating to track my distractions. So, yeah, you asked me where all of my journaling habits are. They’re everywhere right now. And I, you know, I think that’s okay. But I think if you’re just getting started, or if you’re struggling to build a habit just start with a gratitude habit. Just start with a gratitude practice. Doesn’t matter if you do it in the mornings or the evenings, just do it man. And don’t worry about 100% Jon Acuff in his book finish says that progress begins the day after perfection. Hmm,

Cody Johnston 26:44
that’s good. That’s good, especially as our dog is tapping around right now making noise. Progress begins after perfection. Don’t be mad for tapping.

Elaine Johnston 26:54
Sorry, the fun question. Um, so what do you look for in a journal? How do you pick the Right journal. Is it like a cover that sticks out? Do you have a specific like, Okay, this is a bullet journal and I want this like, how do you go about if you were in Barnes and Noble or target what journal sticks out to you.

Tracy Winchell 27:14
I prefer a dot grid. I really want to dot grid. This is actually a barren fig clear habit journal prepared by James clear and the one thing I don’t like about this is that the dots are too light. My preference is for the pages to be numbered, but that’s not a deal breaker. I really liked the covers. They’re kind of nice and I just want something minimal, minimalistic, simple.

Elaine Johnston 27:47
And to not super structured.

Tracy Winchell 27:49
Yeah, probably not. nothing terribly fancy. I really liked the black notebooks and I like the teal and red or my favorite colors. So I really like these. This is actually when a writer Carol’s bullet journal books, and the paper is just really spectacular because it’s it feels like limp linen, it’s the lush, lush term, German kind of thing. So, yeah, but no, it’s less about that and more about just something that feel that that’s not too big and not too small spiral and I don’t get along at typically if I’m going to cut myself but but I want I want this kind of a4 size. Because one of one of the superpowers, for me for maintaining a journaling habit is to be able to fill a page and then to say now stop, because that keeps my gratitude practice when I actually do journal on one of these pages. It keeps it super simple, are when I write a note to my Next day self, I have to get it on this page. Whereas if I’m using a large journal I feel compelled after fill up a whole page, and then I spend too much time doing it. So confinement is my friend.

Cody Johnston 29:12
So let’s kind of take a bit of a transition here and to me, you know, I’m I’m scatterbrained when I journal to you mentioned day one, and I assume you’re talking about like the app, right? So like, I try to like jot down my daily like, thoughts as I go through in day one because I always have my phone with me. But then I have like my actual journal that’s like more for like my quiet time and such. And I know from me personally writing down my thoughts writing down just what I’m feeling my emotions, I was going back and reading an entry the other day, which I don’t do a lot of reflection, like I said, but for some reason, it just prompted me in like, Where have I been this year, and I was going back through kind of like when my grandfather passed away and stuff and some of the things I was writing down which are, like very,

Unknown Speaker 29:57
poetic, poetic and

Cody Johnston 29:58
just, I don’t know, just very different Right. And I was looking through them and I was thinking to myself, I was like, wow, this is interesting. I can actually see my own growth in this I can see, like I can, understanding the way my brain works in a way that my brain can’t understand how it works, right? Like recently, I was getting like a third person perspective of myself. And like that was really interesting to me. It kind of reminded me of the the verse in First Corinthians 13, where it’s like, now you see better reflection a mirror than you’ll see face to face. I felt like I was able to actually kind of look myself in the eye for a minute there it is really interesting. So Tracy, in, in your opinion, and in, I guess, your practice, what are some ways journaling can assist in your spiritual growth?

Tracy Winchell 30:48
I think that we need to know ourselves. And I think we need to tag our emotions. You know, I think I think how we feel is how we feel. Sure. Yeah. And sometimes we don’t know how we feel. So journaling helps me understand my emotions, to actually acknowledge them and understand them. And then I get to ask the question. So how is how you feel working now for you, you know, when we hold resentments against other people, maybe, maybe they deserve resentment. But that’s not what God God has called us to live by. How am I supposed to love all people, when I’m harboring resentment against them, or a certain type no matter who they are? Yeah. So once I tag my emotions, and I say, this is how I feel. And I get to sit in that for a little while. Then I have the opportunity to say, God, can you just help me not act on how I want to act because I’m not being an ambassador to you when I when when I lash out. So you’re not saying God Take this feeling away from me, you’re saying help me to not act on how I feel. And eventually, in my experience, what happens is that I stopped feeling that way. But if we, if we cut out all of that middle stuff and say, I feel this way, but I shouldn’t feel this way. Now we’re just beating ourselves up. You have to run through that process. And journaling helps me run through the process of acknowledging my feelings, deciding not to act on how I feel, and then changing how I feel. And so when I’m able to do that, now, all of a sudden, I begin to fully embrace how and why God loves me exactly as I am. That’s pretty powerful.

Elaine Johnston 32:42
And I feel like there’s a lot of whenever you start journaling, or however long you’ve been journaling, there comes the self awareness and self discovery and truly understanding who you are as a person so you know how to interact with those in your family or friends and even how God or how you I understand how God views you, and everything. And I think that’s one of the biggest things that I love about journaling is, so I’m a type four on the enneagram. So I’m super emotional person. And that can be a good thing. So I can read other people’s emotions and understand, like, what how they’re feeling. But also it can be a bad thing. Because I don’t understand why I’m feeling a certain way or my feelings can kind of crowd what I’m like what I my decision making. And so whenever I write out like, I’m Saturday, well, why am I sad? What happened? What are my outer experiences? How are people acting towards me? Or how am I perceiving how people are acting towards me? And I think that’s where a lot of like, the self coaching comes from through writing.

Tracy Winchell 33:47
Yeah, yeah. So I want to I want to ask, Cody, kind of a similar question. So you just talked about reflecting on your journaling and realizing how far you’ve come Because you were able to look yourself in the eye from a different perspective, does that give you confidence in like, somehow? Does that help draw you closer to God?

Cody Johnston 34:12
Okay, so this is an interesting thing. So as Elaine said, She’s an emotional person. Well, I’m a five and so I’m an analytical person, Elaine’s first reaction is, well, how do I feel about this? Mine is what what do I think about this? And the way I it’s interesting, because most of the time, your strength is also your weakness, right? And so I am very confident whenever I learned something about myself or learn something about God, but that’s also my weakness is trying to learn too much about myself or too much about God. Right. Yeah. The thing that I know that stood out to me in that moment was I kind of just realize that I can feel and because a lot of times I don’t recognize my emotions. That’s that’s one of the things about My personality, I don’t recognize what I’m feeling because I’m too busy thinking about what I’m thinking about. I get caught up in the thoughts, right? And yeah, and the more I get caught up in the thoughts, the more you know, the best way I can describe my brain is when I’m overwhelmed, I feel like like, okay, so you imagine you open a door to go outside, not like a big, nice French door. I’m talking like just a normal standard size door. And you have about 15 people in the house and they’re all trying to get outside at the same time. And no one’s going anywhere because you can’t fit 15 people at a door once. That’s my thoughts. And so I can go when I can’t. I got you on a roll now. So whenever I can go back and read

Tracy Winchell 35:47
describe me. Okay.

Cody Johnston 35:54
Well, now you have a way to to, to visualize that. Now. You can literally tell them okay, you and you get in line. single file, right? single file one behind another not long locking arms and trying to do this thing. Red Rover style, right?

Unknown Speaker 36:10
And so

Cody Johnston 36:12
I can’t get my thoughts to line up. They’re overwhelming they, like I said, it’s just it’s the crowd the mob trying to bust out the door. And, and so the only way I really know how to a lot of time is to go back and read. And in those moments when I have so many thoughts, I can write them down and because of my, I guess just who I am like I write music I love like, I’m not a very poetic person in speaking but I’m very, I love analogies. Everything I do is analogies. I don’t it’s just it’s my teaching style as just like what we just talked about, like people trying to get into everything I relate to is to try to put it into a perspective where people can visualize it, because that’s how I think. And so when I go back and I read things like I’ll just I’ll be really vulnerable. I’ll share with When my grandfather passed away, and I didn’t not even understand this until I went back and read it, and this I just read it this last week. And up until this point, I didn’t even understand what I was feeling. But I had wrote something. Where’s my journal? Give me just I’m going to grab my journal and I’m just going to read the Yeah, I’d love to. Yeah. So I had wrote this down. And this is like I said, I when I write, it’s really poetic. It’s almost like, embarrassing isn’t the word but it’s very vulnerable. Right? And so, what I had wrote down, was the waves cover us they, the rocks crumble, like our emotions, every drop of rain falls to the earth, like a double edged sword, both bringing life to the dirt and wearing it away. I am the rock and the rain. And so I had no idea what I meant. I don’t even remember writing this. And this was literally, I think the day that I did my the eulogy for my grandfather that I wrote this, and I like I said, I don’t process Emotions very well. I have to think through my emotions. And so I wrote this down and I literally went back and I was reading through this. And I was reading about how I said, you know, the rain, like rocks crumble like emotions. Every drop of rain is a double edged sword, sword, they bring life to the dirt, and they were it away. And I was realizing that was my emotions. I felt like I had a new perspective on life in the midst of being worn away. And despite my emotions crumbling around me, and I was able to like gain a perspective of my own emotional state when normally I can’t even process through that. And that was one of the profound like, I can feel after. Yeah, I was there. I felt a connection to God. And then I can feel to kind of like tie it back to the original question is like, Yes, I could actually understand God and myself and my emotions and my perspectives and everything better because in those moments, I was able To write down what was on my heart, I was able to write down what I was feeling, but I wasn’t able to understand it for myself. And it was almost like a God ordained, or I guess, like a spirit filled moment where I was able to put these words on paper that I didn’t even know what they meant, until I went back and reflected on and later so

Tracy Winchell 39:20
my friend, Ed sauce EA has has saying, and I may have shared this with you the last time we talked because I share it everywhere. He says life is meant to be enjoyed, even when it must be endured. And that was what I was thinking about. Because it’s Yeah, you’ve in reading that back to me. You I heard you say, life is life is good, even when it’s hard. Yeah, I don’t want to I don’t want to misinterpret No, absolutely. You said but that was my interpretation of

Cody Johnston 39:56
Yeah, absolutely.

Tracy Winchell 39:57
The sooner we figure that out. The less difficult life is going to be in those difficult moments on those difficult days.

Cody Johnston 40:07
Yeah, no, that’s that’s so good. So Tracy, I have just kind of a closing thing. I’m sure you remember this, but we like to give our guests an opportunity to ask a question as the closer so say someone is listening and they’re wanting to start a journal, and they have no idea where to start. What question would you ask them to get those gears turning? to help them write that first note?

Tracy Winchell 40:33
I think the first thing is to know what your why is why do you want to start logging some thoughts or feelings or gratitude and, and to write that down? What is your WHY? That’s fantastic.

Cody Johnston 40:49
Do you have anything closing you’d like to share before we hop off this call?

Tracy Winchell 40:54
Well, I’ve actually written a free course. I want to customize it based on our conversation and make it available to your listeners. And I want to it’s got a gratitude component. It’s also got the end of the day reflection, we call it a step 10. But anybody can do it. It’s not just for people who who work the 12 steps to recovery. And then there’s a piece in there about how and why I wrote write a note to my next day self and how you can get started. I’ve also got some further reading it there are there are audio components to it. And I want to make that available to your listeners free of charge, and we’ll put it at reboots. podcast.com reckless pursuit journal,

Cody Johnston 41:52
very cool and we will link to that, to your show and to all of that good stuff in the show. notes below. Tracy, thank you so much for coming on and sharing about journaling. As we kind of go into the right now it’s not new year, but when this comes out, we’ll be going into the new year. And what better time to start a practice? Whenever the calendar flips over, right?

Tracy Winchell 42:18
Yes. And I, I learned so much every time I get to talk to you guys, and thank you for having me on reckless pursuit.

Cody Johnston 42:28
We just want to thank Tracy again for coming, sharing all of her practices all of what she’s been through. And just to help us consolidate and to overcome so much just by keeping tabs on where we’ve been Tracy, thank you for that. Thank you for the free resource that you threw out there. We’ll have all of that linked up in the show notes as well as all of where to find Tracy. So go give Tracy a follow. Drop a comment on anything where she’s at and let her know. If you enjoyed the episode what your favorite part was, I know she would probably Appreciate that. Also, real quick. If you haven’t done so, so far, go over there and click that little box and leave an honest review that helps us to know what you guys love and it helps to let us know how to serve you better. And most importantly, it helps other passer Byers is the right way to say that true passer Byers to see exactly what we are about, not from our perspective, but from us the listener because that’s what this is truly about.

Elaine Johnston 43:27
Also, also Happy New Year, guys, this episode comes out what two days before the new year? Yes, Happy 2020

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  • Why do you want to start a journal? You have to know your why.

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Journaling helps me understand my emotions so I can ask the question, how is how you're feeling working out for you? - Tracy Winchell Click To Tweet 
Tracy Winchell

Tracy Winchell

Host of the Reboots Podcast
“I suspect I was born a storyteller. You’d agree if you’d heard my Daddy and his family spin yarns about growing up in Yell County, Arkansas. Today I deal in the sharing of Reboots stories that brings redemption from suffering and hope to those in the throes of their own personal or professional crisis.” Listen to the Reboots Podcast:

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