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Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Practice

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In this classic book you will discover the intimate journey of personal and spiritual development that is possible through the practice of journal writing. In Life’s Companion, acclaimed author Christina Baldwin offers readers guidance and inspiration to this powerful way of expanding our inner horizons and opening our minds and spirits to a deeper relationship with the world and the people around us.

Complete with enlightening quotations, exercises, sample journal entries, and techniques to nurture and encourage the writer and seeker within you, Life’s Companion will help you transform journaling into a powerful tool for self-growth, heightened awareness, and personal fulfillment.

368 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1990

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Christina Baldwin

22 books34 followers

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5 stars
166 (41%)
4 stars
141 (35%)
3 stars
71 (17%)
2 stars
19 (4%)
1 star
4 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews
Profile Image for etherealfire.
1,209 reviews206 followers
January 13, 2019
I own this book and read it circa 1998. Beautifully written and inspiring little meditations on writing from a personal, spiritually authentic perception. On a list to re-read and journal along with it again when I get the chance to see where I'm at on the journey.
Profile Image for Helynne.
Author 2 books42 followers
May 21, 2009
I have always been a dedicated--well, compulsive--journal keeper, so I thought this book would be a natural for me. It was. In fact, I was so impressed by this collection of suggestions, quotations, sacred meditations, etc., in the library copy I checked out, that I had to run out and buy my own copy of the book, and send one to my daughter as well.
This is more than just a guide to finding more personal spirituality through regular personal journal entries. It is a guided quest for self-discovery through a variety of writing exercises and writing techniques that will lead to formerly untapped personal insights.
A favorite part for me was the discussion of the chakras
or energy centers in the body and how those energies can be tapped for our greater self-understanding and creativity. Meditation and prayer are fundamental aspects of these instructions on new self-awareness. "When you establish a routine or meditation or prayer, you are likely to become more aware of these energy centers in your body. Meditation may turn your body on, as though the voltage suddenly went up" (129). Author Christina Baldwin includes numerous exercises that can lead a person to more perceptive journal entires; for example: writing about childhood memories, striving through writing to forgive oneself and others, and writing about one's future. "Writing the possible future helps us understand what desire and what actions need to occur in order to support the vision. . . Envisioning is the mind's way of laying out a grid, and it will follow it"(275). Cool stuff!
Profile Image for Daniela.
203 reviews19 followers
September 3, 2014
I skimmed over this book more than I read it page to page, but I will surely come back to it every once in a while in the future.
The layout is very original - on the right you have the ongoing text and on the left there are quotes, examples of journal entries and questions you can ask yourself in your own journal. Some might find this confusing, but I found it very enjoyable. Some of the chapters were great and of use to me - for example the chapter on "Finding your people" and "The guidance of the body".
Beware that this book is heavily focused on spirituality - not a particular religion though, which is nice and refreshing. But there is a lot of talk about love and forgiveness, which are great things of course, but I always thought of the diary as a place "to let the ugly" out - all our anger, jealousy and so on, as to not let them manifest in our life, and as a means to accept that we as humans do indeed have these emotions, no matter how spiritual or religious we are. For my taste this book focuses too much on becoming a better person, while the books on journaling by Tristine Rainer and Kathleen Adams focus more on becoming a whole person. For me the latter approach has turned out to be the healthier one.
Regardless of my criticism, this is a thoughtful piece of writing, with many new and creative journaling prompts that I have seen nowhere else before, and I feel the author has put a lot of work and love into it.
Profile Image for Debra.
Author 12 books106 followers
April 9, 2013
Author Christina Baldwin says in her introduction that “The spiritual journey is what the soul is up to while we attend to daily living.” In this fast-paced McWorld, daily living tends to take precedence over spiritual reflection. In fact, it almost seems a guilty pleasure to read a quiet, thoughtful book about how to get in touch with one’s spiritual life; to peel down the layers and really ponder choices, goals, and fantasies. But this is exactly what this book does in an elegant, thoughtful way.

Divided into six sections, each containing four chapters, Baldwin shares her personal experiences, but also offers journal entries from other contributors on the left side of every page. It’s an interesting way to explore an issue, but it’s also annoying when both left and right hand pages don’t finish a sentence at the bottom. For me it became a question of which page to read first, and whenever I put the book down for a while I couldn’t remember where I’d left off. Still, there are plenty of journaling exercises and meditations, which I didn’t have time to try in my McWorld. If you do, though, then this book is a terrific guide through the process.

Profile Image for Autumn.
127 reviews
November 3, 2012
By far the best journalling book I have encountered, with meaningful prompts that go beyond the typical domains of journal-writing from thoughts/feelings/emotions/behaviours to explore the connected self, both inner and outer connectedness. Also interspersed are inspirational quotes and short narratives, making it impossible not to want to explore the spiritual self.
13 reviews
September 9, 2007
This is the type of book that makes me rub my hands together in anticipation. The format of experiential exercises and quotes on one side and a textual discussion on the other throughout the book is inviting. There is a juxtaposition of theory in the discussion and expression opportunity in the activities that I find an engaging way to learn. The mandala art throughout the book made me choose an unlined book so that I could make my own drawings.

The author's sharing of her intra-personal development is something I have always found quite thrilling - it enables me to feel a connection that was largely missing in the earlier part of my life. That trial and error, deluge and drought, roller coaster ride of coming to one's self and one's voice is never really addressed in our formal education: "Spiritual discipline is a process of claiming our own authority, deciding to train ourselves, and to align our lives with purpose." (p. 245)
Profile Image for Rena Jane.
268 reviews11 followers
December 5, 2015
This is an excellent book for anyone who enjoys journaling, and/or is at a point in their life where they want to do some introspective thinking, planning or exploration. Something I think we all should do from time to time.

The format was a little daunting at first with ideas for journaling and poems and aphorisms on each verso page, and continuing of the book on the verso. Still, I would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to take a little journey into themselves, and looking for a tool to aid in self-reassessment.

Kudos to Christina Baldwin
Profile Image for Molly.
481 reviews22 followers
December 20, 2019
I loved this book—tremendous resource. I did NOT like the formatting, which is why I took off a star. Having to read the primary text on the right hand pages only and the supporting text/prompts/examples on the left hand side, felt like it was going to break my brain and took a LOT of getting used to. Once I developed a system for reading it in that odd formatting, it was okay, but if it hadn’t been such a compelling and interesting book I would have abandoned it after the first two chapters with that funky structure.
Profile Image for Crystal.
Author 1 book25 followers
Read
October 9, 2013
I have reviewed this book as a reference for my thesis. I would highly recommend using the book to accomplish a sacred spiritual journey. This book is not so much to the shaping of a memoir but for the use of keeping a journal and discovering meaning in one's own writing. I am looking forward to putting into practice many of the suggestions in this text.
Profile Image for Josephine Ensign.
Author 4 books39 followers
February 4, 2016
An excellent and still relevant guide to journal writing. I especially love how she set up the book with the right-hand pages being a continuous narrative, and the left-hand pages being a series of exercises, questions, and writing techniques. I liked this (academic library) book so much I bought the 'actual' book to keep in my home library.
Profile Image for Andee.
25 reviews1 follower
June 24, 2010
I really like this book, if you need help getting started or unstuck in writing a journal, art journal or blog, this book could be most helpful. If you have a story to be told and don't know how to get it onto paper, this book just might help you get it there.
Profile Image for Cindy.
153 reviews11 followers
July 26, 2011
All journal writers will find something about this book to love. New journal writers will appreciate the prompts to help them write their thoughts and motivations. I carried this one around with me for a couple of months.
Profile Image for Jobie.
219 reviews
March 21, 2020
This was a great book. I had no idea it was going to be exactly what I was looking for. I have been trying to recapture the “flame” of journal writing - and writing in general - and in the struggle. I was so struggling that I was thinking about 1) how to recultivate my love relationship and 2) that others meed the same guidebook.

I give it four stars, not because it’s not worth rereading, in fact I am sure I will reread parts of it as time goes by. I can give it only four stars because I will probably not reread the whole thing in total and sitting again. I will revisit the exercise probably immediately some but not all.

This book is about the craft of journaling and what it can do for you as well as about writing. It also has exercises. Has great quotes about life and spirituality. It is a spiritual book as well as a book on writing.
Profile Image for Susan.
559 reviews
June 1, 2020
I have been doing "morning pages" daily since I read Julia Cameron's book: "The Artist's Way". I wanted to inspire the "creative" part of me. This book helped me to expand on this idea with guidance and journal prompts and real examples from anonymous journal writers' pages, Ms. Baldwin leads her readers to "experience" journal writing. I don't feel like a journal writer (or any kind of writer). I don't really like to re-read my pages so I only save them for a short time. However, I do find that the actual "writing" is extremely therapeutic in many ways and I very much enjoyed the ideas she presented in this book. I only gave it a 4-star rating as I will probably never read it again, however I think that a true journal-writer would benefit from it greatly and love it as a resource book.
Profile Image for Joanne Mcleod.
223 reviews2 followers
April 27, 2020
This book has been a real part of my transformation during this very history making time of the global pandemic. Christina Baldwin’s words have spoken to not only my mind, but also my heart and soul. I now fully see the power and influence of stories and the written word. I wish to use that power, and put the hope for a better world for all, into action through my writings. Writing with the power and transformation ability of a pandemic. The hope of not ever returning to the old ‘normal’, but working with a reinforced connection and sense of community to create a new and more sacred normal for everyone. My heartfelt gratitude, Christina, for your words of connection and creating new beginnings from endings!

“We are all walking each other home.” (Ram Dass)
Profile Image for Shan.
7 reviews
April 4, 2022
Great prompts for your own journaling. I skipped most of the journal entries that were used as examples. A good resource, however, it is simply my preference for authors to get to their points quickly, so I feel this book could have been much shorter in length.
21 reviews
October 31, 2022
A powerful read. The poetic flow to the writing feels relaxing. The book beautifully narrates the entire experience of Christina with the practice of journal writing. If you ever want to use journal writing as a practice, this book is a must read.
Profile Image for JayeL.
1,716 reviews
Shelved as 'abandoned'
January 20, 2011
This is, primarily, a book for someone who does not have a journal practice. for those who already write in a journal or diary on a regular basis, some of the exercises and suggestions for carving out time to write are unnecessary.

There are sections discussing topics, which are interesting and helpful.

One of the difficulties I had in reading this book is that the book has two different books going at the same time. One narrative is on the right pages and the other is on the left. I started reading them both at once, but stopped fairly quickly and plan to go back and read the left side narrative later.

The author's tone is a bit New-Agey, which can grate after awhile. Some of the suggestions she makes about writing topics seemed a little odd to me.

62 reviews
February 11, 2021
This book had a lot to say that I was ready to hear and some things that just didn’t resonate. I’m fine with that. :) I original picked this up maybe 20 years ago because of the lovely cover by Susan Seddon Boulet, and because I had a vague idea of regularly journaling. I’m still not much of a journal writer - I have a bullet journal instead. I enjoyed the layout which had text on the right hand pages and exercises and quotations on the left hand pages. It was hard at first to switch back and forth, but I think it was an elegant solution. Has some very good ideas of how to approach journaling sessions- what do you do if nothing seems to going anywhere on the page or if you feel you have nothing to write- and meditation - which I found a lot more helpful than I’d expected.
Profile Image for Carrie.
15 reviews
January 25, 2015
This book is an example that sometimes you are not ready to read a book. I started reading this book 16 years ago when I was in my early twenties. I struggled with it and finally gave up for over a decade. A few years ago I picked it up again for a second attempt, still could not finish it. But today I did and it resonated with me for the first time. Now I'm ready to pick out a personal journal and follow the journaling practices in the book. The book has a lot of new age elements but even a rational skeptic such as myself could learn a thing or two from this type of journaling technique.I am also willing to try the meditations.
Profile Image for M. Jane Colette.
Author 24 books79 followers
August 25, 2016
OK, here’s the thing. I hate journaling. I am not spiritual. I am all wet from this book. So… like, I think you should read it. It clearly entered my life at just the right time. So... read this book. Grab a pen, notebook and start to journal.

I'm giving it four stars instead of five because of formatting: the book is designed so that the right pages are the continuing narrative and the left pages are exercises / meditations etc -- and I can see why that seemed a good idea... but it's not, it makes it more difficult to read.
73 reviews2 followers
August 12, 2008
Christina Baldwin has written journals since she was 12 years old. During her journal writing she learned to reach deeply within herself, as well as extending herself outward in journeys that helped her develop herself more completely spiritually and emotionally and in numerous other ways as well.
The book also gives excerpts from other journals as well; famous people, and ordinary individuals, ....each with a story to tell, and emotions and feelings to explore.

Very thought provoking.
Profile Image for Leigh.
10 reviews2 followers
August 31, 2013
This book is the best book I've read on spiritual journeying. The divided page format worked well for me as I would read all the right-side chapter story pages first, and then go back and read the left page exercises and quotes. Christina Baldwin is a leader in the journaling for yourself category and this book is clearly one of the standards. I bought this book first in the nineties and have gone back and reread chapters over and over.
Profile Image for Viviann.
4 reviews9 followers
March 3, 2013
An excellent book to get one back on track re: journal writing. I have read this book at least four times, probably more like six and each time I find something new to learn and do. This is an excellent book for those who want to improve their awareness of their spiritual journey, the one that parallels the physical journeying we are doing everyday of our lives.
Profile Image for Melissa Miller.
31 reviews
March 7, 2013
I really enjoyed this book. It does take some getting used to, as it is arranged with notes/journal entries/prompts on the left and the text on the right. I highly recommend this book, if you keep a journal or want to expand your journal keeping to include spirituality.
August 4, 2013
I highly recommend this book to those new to the process of journaling. I read the 1990 version, and at the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this book helped re-orient myself in the world. The exercises, combined with Baldwin's purposeful guidance, make for a rich and rewarding experience.
Profile Image for Judy.
40 reviews1 follower
February 24, 2016
Love the innovative approach to the volume--and was just what I needed right (write?!) now; & she's a resource person right in my own back yard. So lucky to have happened upon this one randomly...
Will refer back to it often, I think. Thank you, Christina!
Profile Image for Debbie Hoskins.
Author 1 book53 followers
October 10, 2016
This is still on my favorite, wonderful books bookshelf. I was doing a SARK review and it came to mind. Unlike SARK, this is not "dated." I would highly recommend this if you are into creativity as a Spiritual Quest, like the title says.
Profile Image for Lisa.
58 reviews25 followers
August 21, 2008
just when i thought i knew all there was to journal about! fresh ideas, honoring insights and yummy questions to stimulate anyone's journaling practice.
4 reviews
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November 15, 2008
This is an awesome book. I am on a new spiritual journey and this book helps me put my experience down in words and helps me watch myself grow
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews

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