Journaling has given us so much more than we know about. Even if you never journaled in your entire life to date, your life was impacted by one. Journals came from the ordinary, the extraordinary, from the inventors, from the survivors, and also from the oppressors. Today we will explore how journaling reached you and the evolution it had to go through to make it as you know it to be. To know the origin of things that we usually won’t consider knowing about, have one of the most fun stories. The evolution of journaling is one among them. It started for practical reasons to keep records of rational everyday things like finances.
Did you know what’s my favourite evolution of journaling known to mankind? Travel Journaling of course! And its origins are obvious yet fascinating. Travel journals are again one of the imaginative inventions done for reasons much more than practicality. The very first travel journals are possible of religious origins or the ones written by monks, saints, and believers about their pilgrim travel. Without the very thing that creates conflicts between many, religion and faith, maybe our ancestors wouldn’t have a quenching thirst for discovering the unknown lands. With these ideas of faraway lands was born the fascination. The same kind that lured Columbus towards the land of spices and gold, to only allegedly ‘discover’ America.
One of the first records of life and life events was done by Samuel Pepys. He wrote a diary for over a decade and recorded the Great Fire of London, the effects of the plague, and the glorious coronation of King Charles II. Something so personal of his experience influenced history. It was an act of opening up a world, a time we would never see. Without this idea, maybe Anne Frank wouldn’t have found her solace in the worst of her times. And we wouldn’t know about her as we do. Diary was an evolved form of something much more than practical records. It was something that let us step into the worlds of people we’d never meet. What’s more intriguing is that the Nazis had journals too. Journals that recorded the experiments, the activities, and the dark history. So the takeaway here is, it is not the art of journaling that counts but the creator of it. For a diary of Anne Frank that could change the lives of people even today and a journal of a Nazi that still bring chills to the spine.
One of the first, oldest, expressive diary or journal known to mankind is by a Mother. A mother who deeply described emotions like loneliness, the grief of losing her mother and the joy of celebrating her son’s success. Michitsuna’s mother, a woman living amongst the Japanese Heian court composed her journal, Kagerou Nikki (“The Mayfly Diary“) called The Gossamer Years in English, around 974 A.D. It continues to impact the lives of people even today. Around 800 years before in 167 A.D., a Roman emperor named Marcus Aurelius penned his deepest thoughts in a 12-book journal called “Things to One’s Self” now known as Meditations. One of my personal favourites is the journals of Leonardo Da Vinci. For he redefined art, biology and inventions that set the base for the world we live in.
The art of journaling gave us more than we have ever credited it for. Until the 1960s the healing, therapeutic potential of expressive and reflective journaling was fairly unknown. Dr. Ira Progoff, a psychologist in New York City, was the first workshop host to teach his method of the Intensive Journal. This “psychological notebook” became a part of therapy given to his clients.
Fast forward to today, at the age of emotional evolution as I believe it to be, journaling is becoming one of the healthiest trends that there are. This throwback to the evolution grounds us to the impact it can have not just on the self, but maybe on the world as a whole. Your journaling journey doesn’t have to be par to Anne Frank to achieve it. Healing oneself heals the generations ahead. And like we learnt from history, more than the art of journaling, the nature and intentions of the creator make the difference. So, began your journey of journaling if you haven’t yet, it is a way to impact history in ways you’ll never know.