What Happens in a Women’s Journaling Group?

blue table, candle, watch, ink, key, words - what happens in a women's journaling group_ Blog post by Patty Bechtold, women's circles, therapy, at wiselifetherapy.com
A circle of women may just be the most powerful force known to humanity.
-Jeanette LeBlanc

Have you ever wondered what actually happens in a women’s journaling group?

It’s a question I’m asked a lot. Not only do I run a Meetup Group (Wise Women Writing), I also facilitate and guide an ongoing journaling group: the Soulful Journaling Writing Circle.

And while you can read all about it here and check out the FAQ here, there’s always something more, something harder to put words to, that women are curious about.

Without a doubt, it’s challenging to describe the magic that happens inside this women’s writing circle.

So, here’s a peak into the heart of the Soulful Journaling Writing Circle. My effort to capture the mysterious alchemy of a group of women journaling together.

words, wisdom is journaling with other women, journaling group blog post by Patty Bechtold, wiselifetherapy.com

This is how our journaling group begins…

We enter the Zoom space together, pulling our chairs close in our virtual circle. We settle in and get comfy, feeling the energy flow between us, breathing deep and centering our hearts, bodies, minds. And then we pull out our journals and begin writing.

A scrape of pen across paper. A page turning. 

There’s nothing quite like it. And although we sometimes doubt, we know there is no way to do this writing wrong. 

This is how we write in harmony in our journaling group.

We always release the urgency of the day onto the page, right now. Then we ask ourselves (and journal about) how we’re feeling, what’s important, what we’re moving toward, what we’re moving away from. 

In this journaling group we call ourselves wise women and soulful sisters and wild writing women…and the truth of that electrifies the air.

The truth of women’s words flowing and pens moving across the page in silence and sisterhood.

We write in harmony to touch something deeper.

Our journaling group goes nowhere and everywhere. We are trusted companions on a make believe train, rarely knowing the final destination but certain that the process will always bring us back to ourselves and each other.

And when we arrive back into the journaling group after our summer hiatus, we’re rich with metaphors.

We’re the wave breaking at the shoreline, repeating and returning, like the moon and the sun. Then, as the weeks progress, we’re late autumn slowly ebbing into long winter nights. Finally, we’re the earth under our feet turning toward spring, gliding into summer. 

From light to dark and back again. We’ve done this for almost four years now.

When our journaling group writes in harmony we feel attached and bonded.

We’ve come through all the revolutions and turnings of the planet, riding a planet of our very own on Thursday nights, holding on through gravity and upheaval, holding each other in the unknown.

We dive into our stories, unearthing memories and meaning. And in this place of safety we enlarge our experiences of belonging and connection. The magic of shared rituals, coming alive, attached to one another. We are seen, heard and witnessed. We find our way back to ourselves and each other, even though we may never have met in real life.

And even though we sometimes doubt, every single thing we write is perfect, exactly as it’s meant to be in the moment we write it.

We write in harmony to find ourselves again.

We are transformed in a way that’s beyond words, helped along by sound, color, poetry and images. 

Closer to what is mysterious and unknown. Gifted with wisdom that we didn’t even know we were seeking.

And when we share our stories and our writings with each other, they move us, teach us, unite us like nothing else. Your story is my story is her story is our story.

Peeling back the layers, we reimagine and reintegrate. We discover things we didn’t know we needed. In each other’s words we see parts of ourselves we set aside and sometimes we feel lost. 

Yet, in the midst of that a transformation begins, a kind of dance, limbs stretching to reach and remember the parts that have always been there, waiting.

Because, as it turns out, we’ve been there all along.

When we write in harmony our words seed themselves into the world.

Sometimes the words from our journals want to be more. They want to rise up from the page to be rough poetry, they want to go out into the world themselves.

So about a year ago, at the end of our Thursday night gatherings, I started asking my journaling sisters to put a few sentences or phrases from their writing in the chat. Something that held meaning for them and was important to remember.

I had a hunch there was poetry there, and decided to let the words marinate in the chat over night. Always, I discovered by the next morning they were ready to create themselves into a poem. Mostly I just had to sit back and watch as they attached themselves to each other.

Our final poem from last season’s journaling group is below.

Fittingly, it’s called We Write in Harmony. And it was created by a group of eight women, journaling together and not knowing what anyone else was writing.

If you read this and it sparks a longing within you, add your name to the waitlist to be the first to know when spaces open up. And if you have any questions, reach out and I’ll be delighted to answer them.

Words, writing in harmony poem from women’s journaling group, https://wiselifetherapy.com/writing-circle/


Patty Bechtold

Patty Bechtold

Welcome. I'm a Santa Rosa therapist and life coach, and I help women who feel like something’s missing in their lives or themselves. I specialize in self-esteem, anxiety, depression, grief, life transition, and women's groups. On this blog I write about different approaches to help you find your way back to your deepest wisdom. Thank you for being here.