Getting the creative juices flowing while journalling can be a great way to reflect on feelings, recharge while making, or develop mindful awareness of what's going on with us in the moment.
An activity I love to do to connect to imagery and emotions through words is by writing poetry and connecting to natures metaphoric language.
Writing poetry can also be a creative outlet, helping us connect to a playful and expressive side of ourselves.
Natures Metaphor Poem
For this activity, have your journal handy, and a pen as well as a natural object that you have found while out on a walk, or in your home.
Step 1 - Take 5 minutes to write some descriptive prose about what you feel and touch, smell and see about your selected natural objects. Write down any words which come to mind in response.
Step 2 – Bring your focus to the energetic quality of object. This is where descriptive words like blooming, growing, unravelling, crumpled, broken, stuck, lively, heavy etc might feel appropriate depending on the natural object you have selected and what you observe and feel in relation to it.
When you unravel what you find and notice, it may be something bright and joyful but could also be dark or mysterious too, go with what feels right.
Step 3 - Start connecting to your imagination, and connecting your object to metaphors and similes, for example you may have a flower that becomes like a yellow sun, or a shell that in your imagination is a protective cave.
Step 4 - Having explored your object in a variety of ways, the last layer of the experience is the creative, embodying the metaphor.
This is where you can take the thoughts and feelings about your object, with all the words we have written just now and write a poem. If poetry doesn't resonate with you you could make a drawing, painting, or other creative activity that allows you to reflect on what you feel and notice about your object.
Starting your poem
You may like to use couplets or rhyming prose, or you may wish to write in a way that doesn't follow a structure, the beautiful thing about it is its your poem, and it can be however you like!
Take your words and reflections on your object, and write about it, starting each line or your poem with an ‘I am . . . ‘ statement.
An example of an expressive poem inspired by a natural object.
Getting writing in this way helps to connect to feelings and metaphors that can support the self-reflective and creative process. It facilitates finding our voice through nature and allowing nature to reflect the human connection back.
Once you have written your poem, try reading it aloud to yourself, or another if you want to share it.
I like to combine this practice with journalling about what comes up for me in the process, thinking about what has emerged in this metaphoric and nature connected self-reflective place.
Journal prompts for self-reflection
A journal is a great place to explore what's going on, and journal prompts for self-reflection can help us get started. Here are some examples to get started with, select the ones that resonate with you, or make up your own that feel right in the moment, there's no rules!
What helps you slow down and feel more present?
What's a choice you can make this week based on your needs?
How do you practice self-love and self-kindness?
How do you calm your nerves in a difficult situation?
How do you recharge?
Elle Gilbertson is committed to inclusivity and welcomes people of all ethnicities, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, and people of all ages.
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