Thursday, June 18th, 2015

The Art of Journaling: Keep or Destroy Part 2 – Destroy


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If you have destroyed some or all your journals, notebooks, diaries, etc,. why did you do it?

Kim: Sometimes needing to trim down for a move inspired it…sometimes, I had simply learned what I needed to and it was a matter of offering it back to the universe. But, that said, I have taken them to a recycling place rather than burn them myself. I can’t quite bring myself to be the one to destroy what I thought was worth putting into words on paper in that way. Journals and drafts are entirely different.

Ginny: They were for my healing journey only. I never intended for them to be seen by anyone other than my therapist. They were extremely detailed and graphic and would be disturbing to my children if they would have found them.

4ravens: I kept a diary in my teens, my mother found it and read it. I destroyed that diary and didn’t keep a journal for many years. They were the deepest secrets of my teenage years and my mother reading it was a betrayal of trust.

Susan: I threw away a lot of old journals a few years ago. They were mostly rapid writing downloads. A place to release emotions and explore. I didn’t feel that had any relevance in the present. I don’t need to keep revisiting the past.

Denise Getchell: I love to burn my journals, the ones that serve me no purpose in my present life and future. Burning the past is a ritual for me. It is a symbol of truly letting go of my past. The journals I burn, truly are writings of a person I m no longer so why hold on to the past.

Lisa: I have had a propensity to be very cryptic in my journals over the years. Mostly due to having a certain other in my life that was enjoying the reading of them. Even as far as leaving notes within the pages. Now, no matter the wording, I cannot decipher meaning from many of the ongoing paragraphs. What was important to me then, holds no importance to me now. I go through the books, and destroy what I can no longer shake truth from.

Marlana Eck: Several years back, I burned many “spare papers” I had in the same boxes I keep my journals in. I think that was more of a feng shui decision. I was trying to de-clutter my life.

Dani Fisher: I destroyed my connection to negative parts of my journey that no longer serve me. Also, someday my children might read these journals when I am long gone, and although I do keep the truth in there and leave things where I am proud of how I handled things, I don’t need my family to remember my negative reactions to parts of my journey.

Lizzie Jordan: I never intentionally destroyed a single journal. However, a few of my journals were left behind and destroyed when I fled a damaged relationship.

Zoe ZenGarden: Prior to beginning the daily Morning Pages routine, I would destroy my journals periodically, as a symbolic gesture of releasing the past and freeing myself to begin a new part of my life. At the time, I found it to be very liberating. Now, though, I definitely have some regrets about not being able to go back and read those old journal entries, poems, etc.

kris10: Destroyed one journal in particular..I was ashamed of what was in it..and every time I read it it would bother me a friend said just get rid of I contemplated that..tore out a wonderful entry from that friend from 30 yrs earlier at a sleep over and shredded the kids didn’t need to know see of what was in it

Deb: I felt it put my life back in order allowing me to move on ceremoniously putting it in my past.

Ann: The journals and diaries that I’ve destroyed are the ones from my elementary, high school and college days. I read through them and ceremoniously burned them in a bonfire when I was in my 40s. I didn’t feel a need to keep them any longer, no longer felt any attachment to them and was ready to let go of them. I only kept one from this time period. It is a book of poetry, some of which I wrote and other poems I’d collected and saved as favorites.

Cleveland Wall: I have considered it, just because there is such a lot of them and I rarely refer to the old ones. I don’t necessarily want them myself, but neither would I like them to be casually read by someone else, so perhaps I should burn them.

It occurred to me a few years ago I will likely never be famous enough for anyone to preserve my papers, so my journals could end up in a land fill, and that would not do. I was doing a lot of international mail art exchange at the time, so I thought maybe I would encase the books in linen and beeswax and send them to mail artists all over the world. They could be used in art pieces and sent on…However, this is a more laborious process than I am likely to undertake.

Have you destroyed any or all of your journals and notebooks over the years? Please feel free to share your own thoughts in the comment box below. 

One thought on “The Art of Journaling: Keep or Destroy Part 2 – Destroy

  1. I have never intentionally destroyed any of my journals. I have a lost a couple of the smaller, pocket-sized notebooks due to combat-related damage. I learned the hard way not to carry my larger notepads while outside the wire. My last deployment, when I was medevaced whoever packed my gear to be sent home did not think my journals were worth packing as they are all missing. After I am gone, despite my lack of fame I hope that my journals do not end up in the local landfill or recycled into TP.

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