Retreat has two distinct meanings.
One is more negative in nature: to withdraw from a situation, possibly for safety reasons. I imagine an army retreating from the enemy.
The other is more positive: a place of refuge. In this instance, I think of taking a writing retreat to a small cabin in the mountains by the lake.
Journaling can incorporate both of these definitions – at different times, depending on the circumstance.
If we are concerned with others reading our words, we will hold back. If we are afraid our words will inadvertently hurt those close to us, we won’t be candid or honest in our writing. This hinders our emotional healing process.
On the other hand, if we are afraid our words will be misunderstood by others, causing a riff in a relationship or perhaps undeserved anger, we will censor our writing to protect ourselves. But the internal angst will continue to chip away our identity.
This kind of retreat is harmful and necessitates we put security systems in place.
If you fear wandering eyes will search out your handwritten journals, then I suggest keeping them in a special hiding place. If your concern involves family members, perhaps you can keep personal journals at work. Or perhaps you can invest in a small safe, hidden in the closet.
If neither of these alternatives seem viable, perhaps journaling on the computer is your best option.
Many apps and word processing programs offer the opportunity to password protect documents.
I particular enjoy the website Penzu. While the basic service is free, I think it is well-worth the $20 annual fee for the professional plan. You can create as many journals as you desire AND each journal is double password protected: one password to access your account – another password to access the journal.
I am fortunate not to have this security concern. My husband respects my privacy, and I am grateful. But for those of you who do worry… I hope the above suggestions help.
I’d like to end this rather somber post focusing on something more positive: a Journaling Retreat.
There are times when we need to get away from the ordinary, everyday grind and retreat to someplace new. Freedom from daily chores coupled with a different environment can jumpstart inspiration and renew the soul.
This can be as simple as going to the park for an afternoon, or it can be as elaborate as escaping to the mountains – or the lake – or the beach for a weekend (or longer). Remember, the goal is to spend time with your thoughts and your journal – and to focus only on activities that rejuvenate.
I have yet to treat myself to such a retreat, but I have started a Pinterest board where I’ve saved rental properties that would be ideal for my writing getaway.
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Up next in this Journaling series: S is for Stepping Stones