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Soulful Practices: Amplify Your Peace with Gratitude Journaling + Meditation


Blush background with palm fronds and monstera leaves with main title header, soul care + gratitude journaling, subtitle, plus meditative tips to amplify peace from the inside out

Dear SOULjourner,


Let's step into this soul care space to be lavished in thanksgiving (gratitude)—learning will be a byproduct, and lingering will be our aim. So grab your favorite beverage, and nestle into a space of shalom that invites you to surrender any hard, rigid places over to soft hospitality that allows you to flow.

A Liturgical Lesson

We're going on a meditative journaling adventure enveloped in the Hebrew word: todah, it sounds like: toe-dah. Biblically, the concept of thanksgiving is associated with sacrifice.


There are two main words in the Tanakh/Scriptures that encompass the idea of thanksgiving. Hodu is the command, “Give thanks”. But there is also a specific word meaning thanksgiving. The word todah is the thanksgiving sacrifice you do to show how thankful you are. For example, in one of David’s Psalms he wrote:


Psalm 26:6-7

I wash my hands in innocence that I may come near Your altar, O YHWH, to raise my voice in thanksgiving [todah] and declare all Your wonderful works.


David offered his voice in thanksgiving. It’s what he had to give to show his thankfulness.


Sometimes it’s just a statement of an action to come.


Our Embodied Journaling Action to Come - Humming

First + foremost, journaling is a multifaceted inside-out experience. Our first journal prompt for today will be expressed through humming. We can use humming to help release stuckness or rigidity to soften the body + mind as we journal.

HUMMING MEDITATION: Notice where your body is tense or tight, perhaps begin with your breathing. Think of a song that comforts you. Maybe it’s a lullaby or a hymn. Or a song from a happy moment in your life. …a love song, an anthem, the first song on your happy playlist. There is no right or wrong. Just any song that brings you comfort. Pick one. Say the name of the song out loud.


Give thanks for it as you notice, nurture, and embody its healing presence.


As you journal, hum that song to yourself as a resource for single-pointed focus. If your mind starts to wander and think about grocery lists or work or the news - gently, bring your mind back to the song and focus on the melody and the vibration in your throat.


This is thanksgiving in your song of liturgical worship.


Scribble to the rhythm of your comfort song. What song will you use for your journaling meditation today?


Will it be a low temp or an uptempo song? Today, I've chosen an uptempo song. The one that comes to mind from my childhood is a song my momma led often as a choir director in our church down South in Little Rock, Ark.


This comes close to the experience of what my mom sounded like as a Black woman deep in a singing meditation, the song Work it Out. Typically, I provide all links at the end of the post to avoid distraction from reading, but I'm making an exception today for the impact that I believe this meditative song may have.


Pastor Angie's mom in an old black and white photo with the choir out in nature
my mom is the one wearing black with the white blazer

Embody Your Humming Hygiene


Research has shown that humming can help to:


❥ Naturally calm your nervous system by stimulating the vagus nerve, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest + digest response).


❥ Reconnect you to your body + bring you back to the present moment, just by listening to your voice + feeling the vibrations in your body when you make sounds/vocalize.


❥ Reduce stress + improve your health in many ways (such as reducing cortisol levels and inflammation, soothing pain, and improving your immunity and mood).


❥ Release tension in your throat and the rest of your body by ‘massaging’ yourself from within through the vibration of your vocal folds (aka vocal cords).


I go deeper on humming and its impact on our voice + vulvas in the link section after your reading.

 

Journaling Check-in + Meditation


Think about how the humming vibrations influenced your sense of touch. Give thanks: "My (name the body part) began to loosen as I hummed. It's helping me expand in gratitude."


I meet so many who have a limited and/or complicated viewpoint of meditation. I argue that meditation is not just about meditating in scripture, rather, you do it every day in life. Meditation is simply about where your focus flows and where you're nourishing yourself. You already meditate every time you;

Hum in the shower as you wash your body.

Rock back and forth at church listening to The Word.

Shake your knee to put a baby to sleep on your lap.

Braid your hair while staring out the window.

Cook a meal.

Sip on a beverage.

Think deeply about a matter.

Move your body in a lunge.

a Black woman doing lunges in a black workout suit

Gratitude Leads to Love + Journaling + Meditation

Gratitude leads us to LOVE in a world that can make us feel unloved + unsafe. Journaling can create a safe sanctum and meditation can become a sacred companion that offers us a space to feel present + peaceful.


Truth is, journaling is about a relationship with yourself as you meet yourself + "I AM" on the page.


Journaling is a rhythmic + revelatory process. It can be freeing, challenging, and beneficial to the whole self: mind, body, and soul. There's no right or wrong journaling approach, rather, it's about interior tending + deep thinking as we rest from the realm of output to amplify sacred input. Journaling is about an intentional covenant to record your legacy as a trustee of all the gifts entrusted to you.


But when your life is on "go home or go hard" mode, or on autopilot, or always in do mode to keep busy or solve yet another problem in the trenches of life (or a blend of all of the above), it can be a struggle to cultivate + advocate slowing down to claim time to "be" and care for yourself.


Some of the common laments that I hear around journaling is not knowing what, when, and how to journal or carving out time to even begin!


But it's about the purpose of journaling: noticing, nurturing, and embodying intimacy.


Intimacy creates a hospitable space for us to give TO ourselves through the inner nourishment of journaling. And it is just as valuable as when we give OF ourselves externally out into the world.


I cannot emphasize enough that journaling is a lifelong process that assists us to be attentive to our sacred humanity + purposes in transforming this beautiful world of ours.


Let’s tend to what has been, what is already present, and what’s to come in reflective journaling.


I have some rhythmic guidance on how to start a simple journaling practice that takes between five to fifteen minutes per day using our Gratitude Design Collection.


Gratitude welcomes: being, reflecting, and doing. Journaling documents + allows us to take custody back of the narrative of our unfolding lives.


Gratitude is grace—it’s a sacred rhythmic + ritual. It’s the soul’s true sustenance + shalom (peace, wholeness, wellbeing).


Gratitude opens us up to be generous recipients who receive intangible + tangible blessings. Opportunities open to us when we live in a space of gratitude. We see differently through an appreciative lens. The vision of a grateful heart sees abundance everywhere. And when we lean into abundance, we practice + live out our appreciation. Indeed, gratitude emboldens embodied living.


As an embodiment pastor + creator of Mohawkmomma Studio, I awaken + assist scribblers (writers) and speakers, shalom-making women how to give TO themselves as much as they give OF themselves. I do this with an integrative, inside-out soul care approach. I choose journaling as the ethos of soul care because it can improve your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health in so many ways.


If you prioritize paying close attention to your life over a course of a day, there is always something to be grateful for. I get it, some days, there’s less tension and it’s easier to be appreciative of life than on other days.


But gratitude hangs out in the least likely places… places of messiness become places of meaningful messages. Places of pain become invitations to pray + release + ask for help. Places of grief and trauma become places of healing + new connections. Places of many moving parts and life complexities become invitations to trim excess + simplify.


This is why I encourage everyone to start with a Color + Journal Notecard or Postcard Journal. It’s exactly what it sounds like—a journal that’s actually a notecard or postcard where you have two approaches:


  1. Color + record a few thoughts from your heart and keep a card somewhere close to remind you of your tending.

  2. Color a little of the card, scribble a "thank you" or any message, then, mail it to someone - invite them to color in where you left off as an invitation to deepen your connection.


Let me take you on a journey on how I do it.


Get a Color + Journal Postcard

First, treat yourself to a stunning set of ten postcard journals. Or, like me, you might want several journals. I’ll mention the top three types of journaling that I do.


1. The Color + Journal Postcards have a gratitude prompt on the front and on the back a small space to personalize your thoughts. It’s about the art + encounter of gratitude while elevating the simplicity of letter writing as you nourish yourself and your deepest connections.


2. There’s a small, spiral gratitude journal I take with me when I’m on the go or traveling. It’s replete with gratitude + inspirational prompts bingo-style to guide me, it jogs the mind and is emotionally + spiritually grounding.


3. And the last one has an elegant, soft velvety touch to the covers also with gratitude and inspirational prompts bingo-style to guide + ground me as I write free hand. It lives on my bedside table or on my desk.


Your freedom is to do what resonates with caring for yourself. Me, I love to integrate many types of journals according to the purpose of my scribbling, my rhythm, and my mood. Ultimately, it’s about whichever one I’m drawn to at the time of my musing—this is liberation because it’s about fluidity over rigidity.


There are no rules. And if there are, feel free to break ‘em.



Amplify a Sensual Morning and Evening Ritual + Rhythm

Each morning, amplify + engage a sensual ritual + rhythm with your senses as you journal for ten to fifteen minutes about your intentions for the day. Scribble + align with your sensual intentions. A link is provided in the link section below, as I shepherd you in-depth about it. After I set my intentions for the AM, I revisit them in the PM to reflect on what unfolded in my day with my intentions.


This AM/PM journaling rhythm + ritual is simple and sustainable even with a high-demand life such as tending to my *neurodiverse life, mothering neurodiverse children, entrepreneurship, etc. It always helps to start the day on a meditative + grounding note, rather than immediately reaching for your phone to start scrolling or replying to texts and or emails, it ends the day with a moment of reflective gratitude and compassion for all that happened.


Examples of Sensual Journaling Prompts

• Smelling fresh oranges reminds me of my zest.

• Touching my toes + loosening them is the health of body and mind.

• Tasting my cacao elixir infused with cinnamon + clove is nourishing + energizing.

• Seeing the sunlight peek through my window is bliss.

• Hearing the birds sing, I have peace of mind + freedom from all fear.


To sensually give thanks on a regular basis is transformative.


Journaling is a meditative rhythm. You can journal weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually if daily is too much for you, but all you need to be is consistent. Find what works for you and play with it without shame or feeling defeated by pressure or perfectionism.


Create a Sensual Gratitude List

If all you start with is five minutes or less, use our magnetic journal notepad. When you experience a sensual gratitude moment, jot it down on one of the spaces of the notepad as you would a grocery item. Anytime, you look back at your running list, emotionally you relive your past journaling moment of gratitude. Emotions are what create habits, not repetition as many teach. For sure, repetition is a correlation, but correlations aren’t the same as causation.


Our emotional connections are telling a story. Your gratitude list will tell a story. It’s beautiful to watch your list fill up with your gifts as the days go by, instead of listing your shopping items or errands (of course, there’s that too). Each sheet of paper reminds you, “I have bountiful gifts in my life.” This is true shalom in every script. Peace and every pen stroke.


I love the tangible aspect of a sensual moments list because it summons us to meditate as we go back and be reminded of all of the accumulation of good/tov (good in Hebrew is “tov”). Whether it's hearing the lyrics to a song or a passage of scripture, or feeling “my shower was really invigorating,” it all matters because this is what makes up our life as a whole. This is an easy way to focus on peace more throughout our days, weeks, months, and years.


"I am" Journal Prompts

So how can you calm the constant cartwheels of your mind today? You can also engage gratitude through "I am" affirmations. Notice your immediate environment and affirm as you list them:


  • I am alive.

  • I am here.

  • I am full of life.

  • I am energized.

  • I am joyful.

  • I am tickled.

  • I am thankful.

  • I am healing.


"I AM" accompanies you in your "I am" affirmations. Whatever focuses your mind on ease and enjoyment in a world set on frenzy + chaos.


Pause + Think About It


"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise" - Philippians 4:8.



A Gratitude Jar

Once a notepad sheet is filled up, place it in a jar, then, make a ritual to review the jar at the end of the month (or during a New Moon or Full Moon).


This will make a huge impact as you look back + see a life that you are noticing, nurturing, and embodying. A life we can all be grateful for and align with.


Gratitude + Compassion + Wellbeing + Fear for Writers + Speakers

When you’re serving + giving to others through your words, whether written or spoken, whether to a large audience or to yourself, family, and friends, it's human to feel + face fear or tension. Instead of trying to get rid of the friction that fear brings, we can cultivate a new response to it—a gratitude response infused with compassion.


You might feel financial stress during a low-revenue month, feel disheartened after hearing a complaint or critique (from within or without), or feel some kinda way in comparison to another (even a past phase of yourself). It’s essential to lead with self-compassion as you create new patterns of thriving that disrupt the old patterns of survival.


To amplify + prioritize your shalom—your wellbeing, your peace can not be hurried. This is a wholeness journey about the unfolding of true, inner wealth + currency that is rooted in abundance. An abundance that allows for the life-long shedding away of the learned beliefs we have around scarcity.


This is why we must make sure to take patient steps to keep ourselves open, soft, and grateful. If you feel like scarcity is your default, or that your shalom rhythms + rituals have been MIA lately, there are SOULutions I have that will awaken + assist you.


Space of Shalom (SOS) invites you into a monthly + quarterly global collective of shalom-makers looking to amplify peace, play, relaxation, and slow-simmering feminine ways to lean into the Spirit of Truth through the ARTvocacy of prayer + journaling + coloring + puzzles (and more).


For the monthly membership: you have access to an intimate, live-streaming journaling sanctum to strategize + synergize your shalom expressed through your unique feminine flow, guided by Pastor Angie. 


Journaling Benediction

SOULjourner, remember, the multifacetedness of gratitude as you lean into being a gratitude ambassador. Gratitude will lead you to optimize simplicity + sustainability. Repeat after me: "I am a gratitude ambassador."


Celebrate this very moment whether you're experiencing lament or laughter. Gratitude helps you welcome both/and. Either/or are disarmed in a gratitude space. Therefore, we welcome all of our parts in peace.

 

Shop with Soul



Until next time,


Scribble. Speak. From your soul.


 

*neurodiverse: The different ways people process + think + experience life. Differences that are on a neurological (nervous system + brain), physical + emotional level. Neurodiverse brains are nuanced and are physically wired differently - there's a different amount of neurons to process information, which causes overstimulation.


neurodivergent: describes the divergence from the "standard norm" or "standard typical" way of being +processing + thinking. This standard is an illusion. Chiiile, there is no norm.


Another thought about neurodiversity + disability: You can't "have" autism, ADHD, dyslexia, etc., it's a neurological wiring with various traits. What causes the disability is the system that accommodates + incentivizes folks that process a specific type of way. This systemization of marginalization creates an inequitable environment, which causes the disability not the neurology.


See our complete collection of shalom-making stationery in the soul care boutique + be inspired to pause with some soulful + restful sashayin’!



Go deeper with humming's healing for your voice + vulva


For neuro-nutrition, starting and ending your day with intention can be easier than you think. Discover the 30-Day Intentions Journal where I give you a peek inside a softer, more sustainable way to approach your rhythmic days.




Note: National Journal Writing Month (NaJoWriMo) occurs four times a year: 1st day of January, April, July, and October.




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