282: The Journal Project

20 Minutes Read

What do Marcus Aurelius, Lady Gaga, and Arianna Huffington all have in common?

Regular journaling.

We're not saying that writing in a notebook will help you become the next emperor, grammy winner, or media mogul. But there is power in the practice of self-reflection and discovery that journaling offers.

Today we dive deep into the world of journaling with entrepreneur sisters Andrea and Trish Drynan, who recently released their own guide called The Journal Project: Weaving Wellness Into Everyday Living

You will discover:

  • Easy practices that will help you clear your mind and get a new perspective on your experience
  • How journaling can help you achieve the results you want in your business and personal life, even if you're not a "journaling person"
  • How to use journaling to move through difficult situations and the emotions that come with them
  • How to have a fun and productive work relationship with family


If you want a live guided experience of the practices from their journal, join Trish and Andrea for the launch party on March 21 here.

Supplement your journaling with one-on-one coaching support from Erin or Steve to help you grow in your business and life here.

Listen to this week's episode on Apple Podcasts here

Listen to it on Spotify here

Full Transcript

Steve Haase  0:01  
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches Erin Aquin and Steve Haase, where business owners like you learn tools that help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges. You are listening to episode number 282: The journal project. Today we have a dialogue, an interview between Erin Aquin, my co-founder, wife, and partner in all things life and business, and her cousins, Trish and Andrea Drynan. They have a brand new journal full of practices that they have just released, and we're excited to explore it with them. In today's episode, you're going to learn how journaling has helped Trish and Andrea in their business and their personal life, and how it can work for you too. You're going to learn what it's like to work with family, and how to use journaling and mindfulness. Even if you don't consider yourself to be the journaling type. If you want all the details and to connect with Trisha and Andrea, head over to the show notes at besuperabound.com/podcast. Now let's learn all about the journal project. And how we can use this powerful tool to create more abundance in our lives.

Erin Aquin  1:15  
We all know each other. Yeah. In a different way than most, most of our guests. And I would love to, I know a little bit of the story. But I would just love to, first of all hear how you both started working together. And how this project really began. over

Trish Drynan  1:37  
20 years. I'm going to say 23 years ago, we started running these we had young kids mother was going through her journey beginning Alzheimer's. Andrea and I had been yoga teachers had been practicing yoga, mindfulness for in our 20s Like yeah, for years, just part of our part of our core. And during working in schools doing a lot of yoga, I was teaching every single year I went into my kids classroom and did yoga, Andrea with her students. And we just thought at this point, let's run up to it was called True balance workshops. And everybody loved it. We did about six series of true balance which involved yoga mindfulness, and it was very, it was just very calming, very soothing, aimed for everybody that came. So it was really about just we're staying close to our priorities, like how are we going to, to get through this journey successfully with our work and with our families. And so we thought, let's focus on balance being and we've, we quickly determined that balance is in the moment, as enlightenment is there's no just ever we're going to find balance to balance. It's in the moment and and then we years later we heard you know that that there was just devastation with mental health crisis within the TDSB. And we were dealing with a great school with both our girls where my girls were, we just said let's do take what we've done with true balance workshops, and turn it into tools for all teens. And so we've been we're on our fourth partnership with the Toronto District School Board. And we've been working extensively with teachers, students, parents, and then we've moved through into corporations and and then the book came about do you want to talk about how the book just evolved from our practices of workshop from our

Andrea Drynan  3:40  
practices from our experience, I spent my whole career in teaching working with at risk kids. So oftentimes, that was another modality that I would go to with the yoga and the mindfulness and the breathing. But over the years, as Trish said, we were running these workshops, and then we decided, You know what we should piece together or weave together a journal that will incorporate everything we've both

Trish Drynan  4:09  
done, or several things. There's number two now because we didn't absolutely.

Andrea Drynan  4:17  
And so we just we just sort of did an outline, and we wanted it to be not just a journal, but also a resource that people could go back to. So the writing pages, there are pages that have prompts, their blank pages, their coloring pages, their practice pages, there are like several different quotes. And I guess our vision was that once the journal is, in fact completed, it's still a resource, so people can still go back to it. And you know

Trish Drynan  4:53  
how I'm sure you have 1000 journals like we all have mileage journals, and then they're done. Right I stopped sometimes I go back and I It's so interesting to look at my journals. And so the nice thing about this is you could actually go back and use it use these practices. Again, a lot of people, we don't want people to be afraid to not write in them and touch them. Because it is kind of the book where you're like, oh, I don't want to like I haven't even gone into it yet. And so I want to just take one journal and start working through it, and then see how easy it is to come back and use the resource and, and I think we started realizing, after all these years to that, having a book with these practice, like we've, we see how people all through the pandemic, all the workshops, like we've done hundreds and hundreds of workshops, and virtually we did a whole system, it was called mindfulness and precarious times. And we just, these practices really do have an impact, a positive impact on so many people. So we've started off using the ones that people have particularly shined on and love,

Erin Aquin  6:01  
I'm so aware I have I have like a burning question because as as you know, we're all kind of on that spiritual level, loving the yoga and the journaling, and all the work and writing is a big part of our own deeper awareness practices. And I'm also aware that there are a lot of people who know that journaling is probably this really great thing. And they cannot imagine themselves actually sitting down to write or they've say things like, I've tried it in the past, I'm just not a journaling person. So I'm curious, because I'm sure in your hundreds of workshops, you have met people that kind of didn't really understand either what the point of it was, or just didn't feel like it was really a practice for them. So I'm curious, like, how do you help people find their groove with this particular practice?

Trish Drynan  6:55  
Well, I think that with journaling alone, so journaling has been part of our workshop sequence, but not necessarily a big the mindfulness in the yoga has been a much bigger aspect to our work. And the journaling was more like a conduit, a vehicle that we thought, instead of writing a whole book, like combining it with a journal, because we are advocates, I've, what I was doing my life coaching 20 years ago, I took a few journaling courses, and then as oh, what's the beautiful book, alright, it's way and I started doing that. And we realized, because there were a lot of students we found really enjoyed journaling. But we, and our mother is so funny, our mother has always taught us like, be careful what you write down on your paper. So I've always been like, a little bit hesitant to write too much deep personal stuff. So what we found, the more relaxed and calm we were, we weren't coming to our journals to say, Oh, I hate the world. And I'm so stressed out and life sucks. Because that's not the journaling that we're teaching or advocating, we're teaching doing some of these practices to come to the journal with more of a fountain of who you are, who you want to be where you want to go. And not this, like negative negative effect. And not that there's anything wrong with that I come as you are sort of work through the challenges that we have to work through every day. But so I think that was like our school was doing some of the practices that we teach, and how it made journaling so much nicer and easier, because we weren't coming with all our negative

Andrea Drynan  8:43  
thoughts. And to tarnish this point, sometimes we would use it as one of the tools one of the vehicles to release and unpack and you know, we would, we would let them do it verbally. Sometimes we'd give them a prompt. And then we would say to them, you know, another way that you can do this is by writing it down. It's just a way sometimes you don't feel like talking through something. So it's another way to unpack whatever's going on. So, so we tried to angle it in different directions with them.

Trish Drynan  9:20  
Yeah, so finding it as more of a self empowerment experience more of an actual tool to calm like even though it can be a great thing to write down the negative and so and so hurt me and blah, blah, blah and sorting through because that's just one of the many, many benefits of journaling is to get through some negative stuff that you need to but sometimes taking a few breaths and being just kind of releasing what the worry and the stresses are trying to be a little more present. Then you can look at your journal and just if it's five minutes or two Minutes, or you just feel that just better happier. You know, not everyone feels good after, you know, they've just spent 20 minutes writing all this negative stuff. So that's what have been our approach is using it not just as a negative going down the dark tunnel, but actually practicing maybe stretching, like combining yoga, and mindfulness with journaling, or whatever your whatever it is, if you're going for a run, like, we're not just like, oh, my gosh, like, you know, Yoga has healed you. Yoga has healed us and continues to constantly. But for everybody, it's not for everyone. Mindfulness, there's so many ways of practicing mindfulness. So it's not, we're not just saying that this is the only way to do it, it's just one of the ways that makes it just a little more of our calming experience.

Erin Aquin  10:54  
I love that. And I love that the approach that you're talking about invites in sort of a flexibility because I remember when I was first, like learning how to self coach, I was I kind of had the experience of like, oh, I don't want to complain on a piece of paper. I don't want to like people in our community, sometimes they call it like, thought dumping. It's just like, you don't want to like word vomit, and like, Oh, I just feel like I'm my kind of spiritual leanings were so that, I'm like, Ooh, I'm just like making it worse by talking about all this negative stuff. But at the time, it was actually so good for me to put that on paper and have kind of a safe container to exactly explore the things that were kind of bugging me and have, you know, a safe non judgmental witness, whether it was a piece of paper in my journal, or whether it was, you know, I often will like voice note what I'm thinking about and do it that way. But I also love that the flip side of that the flexible side of that is that this is something we do a lot is talking from where you want to be talking as your future self as like I call her, the Oracle of the future self is this, this version of me that's figured out all the things I haven't figured out. And sometimes it's really nice to get a, a written account from that place,

Trish Drynan  12:20  
totally. And I'm actually getting better as a journal or in the sense of time and things that bother me, I write it out. But I don't dwell on it, I write, I just get it out. And then I move all of a sudden, I'm talking about something else that's really wonderful that really, like I start to go, but you know, yes, this happened. But I've just feel so lucky that I've got this and that and that it starts to help me reflect on the things that are working. And that's, you know, our number one quote that we've always had people say, what's one quote that you really stick with, and that is, you know, the Charles Swindoll, quote, quote, that life is 10% of what happens to you in 90%? How you deal with that. So, that's the way that we are really, our minds are traits, like, we know, shit happens, and there are there is just so much shit. And life is difficult. It's just difficult. And we can't, and I have even we've even taught our kids to not think that, you know, it's a beautiful life, but it's difficult. So the more tools we have, and the more that we it's like, Okay, once you know, it's difficult, that's it, it's difficult. So how can we make it to be this beautiful place that we're trying to create for our families, for ourselves, for the people, we work with the world that so that's where I find journaling can be really great. You can write down that 10% What the problem is, and then you can spend the rest of your time. How are you going

Andrea Drynan  13:53  
to work? Yeah, but to your point, Erin, as as you're writing out the 10%, it's not there's no judgment on the paper, you're, you're getting it out, and there's that quote, you know, Better out than in, so it's out, and then it's true, said, The next 90% is okay, how am I going to navigate this? And in the journal there, there are also prompts, and then there are practices, so step into nature, and then reflect on how that's how that was for you. How was that experience? Or there's a practice of 54321. And it's, you're instructed through it, and then there's a reflective page? How is that how did that feel for you? How did you work through it? So, so there's, they're just different exercises in it, where they're prompts there. The blank pages, just as I mentioned earlier, there are four different ways to navigate it. So

Erin Aquin  14:54  
yeah, and I really appreciate that about this particular journal because because I think it can be a little bit daunting to open up a notebook, and just see lines and be like, I'm supposed to journal, whatever that means. It really does help. I think I think something that's beautiful about this is that you offer a gentle guidance and all of these really beautiful tools, but not as prescriptive tools more as experiments. And like that question, how was that for you? There are of course going to be perfectionist out there who are gonna say, Well, I have to, I have to nail this. This, I have to step into nature, and I'm supposed to feel different. But there's no judgment, even in the the experience of it as folks with careers as business owners, harrowing, a number of parents left full time, job forevermore. And you're working relationship. I think it's a really interesting thing when you work with someone and your family has lots of unique challenges. And I just like I'm curious if you could share, even with all of these tools, how do you navigate all of the things and your relationship? Like how is that for you? I think

Trish Drynan  16:20  
I think overall is amazing. Like we again, we're, we get very, very excited about when we're whenever we do a workshop, we're like, oh, that's like what it's all about. Or we have a meeting and we inspire each other. We're just we're very similar in the way that we take care of ourselves as well. So it's not to say we're completely different people yet, we're very similar, very much the same. We sit we supported each other tire lives together, sister, so we've been very blessed. And then we're also very close to our brother. So to have this closeness with siblings is a very rare thing. In many ways, right? Most, I don't know anybody that has the same kind of relationship that also involves work. But when we were doing editing, and it was hard, because we you know, and I know, particularly for Andrea, because I live sister but more like I just don't want to miss her sister time. And it's like, well, we're gonna have like, but what we're learning now is that you've got to have your sister time. And then you got to have your work time. Yeah, probably just like you and Steve Right? Similar

Erin Aquin  17:35  
line means I am brought Steve just here as I'm sure many times during editing, he was just like, you're me, and I can't.

Trish Drynan  17:44  
Brutal and it's so but it's just the nature of writing a book, and then you have someone really close to, but we seem to balance each other out. And we are really, we've always been committed to walking the walk and talking the talk. So yeah, we don't I'm not afraid to say I'm having a bad moment or a bad day. And neither exams are like to their beak or truth.

Andrea Drynan  18:06  
And that, that there's the separate because, you know, a sister sisterhood. I mean, our work, we make it playful as we're creating. But you still need that sister time where you can just catch up on the other parts of life. And you can just talk about your kids or you can talk about life or your dreams or so

Trish Drynan  18:29  
I think or your shit that's going down or

Andrea Drynan  18:33  
just vent I'm feeling anxious today. I'm feeling uptight, I'm something's really bugging me. And so you want to keep it and things like keep it separate and transparency. If one of us I mean, probably leaked or hearing you Trish, just naming it like just trying to move it so it doesn't spill into. But we're very lucky because we also we communicate like we're very, and you have to be Yeah, if

Trish Drynan  19:01  
we didn't work hard at our relationship. We couldn't do this. It's it's

Erin Aquin  19:07  
one of those things where I mean, people don't get that you can say that you can have fun, but it's still work. You know, and doesn't mean that that's bad. Like I think people think oh work. It's like some some yucky word like I love my work. I'm happy to do my work. But I think in those closer relationships, it does take an A level of communication that most of us have not really been trained in or trained ourselves in. Yeah, and I love what you said about just making sure that there is sometimes separation from Sure. Like we literally had to when Steve joined, we had to make a rule that, you know, weekends we don't talk about the business. If one of us has an idea that we just can't handle like it has to just go in Slack and we'll talk about it on them. Monday morning meeting. And it can be, it can be tricky, especially when it's so exciting when you have a project like a book, it feels like the relationship that we're accomplishing something. And we're like living our vision. And it's so exciting. But there's also this whole human component that has to also be honored and respected. So I appreciate hearing that from you as well. Because I think the more of us that talk about it, the better. And I have

Trish Drynan  20:29  
enormous respect for one another, and complacency, you do not want to get to a place of complacency. It's like with our marriages, or partnerships, and how vital and so it's funny that you say that about work, because I tried to explain that to the girls and they get it. I say just remember the work. When I say work for in your relationships, you've got to but you have to want to do it. Like the the people, the separations, the divorces, though, it happens. I mean, obviously, you know, half the people in the world are that are married or divorced. But it's about being just not getting complacent, but wanting to do the work. Like one, this is a person that is really worth having a lot of respect for not getting, you know, we don't like drama in our life. So we try to avoid it at all costs. But of course, people are bringing drama into your life all the time. And so things like that, just having enormous respect for one another. And just enjoy like, just remembering sister time enjoying the ride. Yeah, enjoy the work. But enjoying the sister time. Yeah,

Erin Aquin  21:42  
oh my gosh, that's I love that. I love that way of thinking about it, I to call it the ride, because that's what it is. You can either be tense, or you can be relaxed, and you're still going to be going round in circles. And sideways, it's

Trish Drynan  22:01  
in it's so much better in our lives to have like when something's off, it's usually about ourselves anyway. So we have that understanding. We've we're lucky, we've had so much coaching, and done so much training over the years like you have. So you have this, this note this innate sense of what, whether it be respect or that you do not want to find yourself in a situation where you're just jumping on that person out? And if you do, let's like we do with our partners. And if you do you quickly, like I'm sorry about that. Yes, I apologize. Because that is that was unacceptable. This is about me, I'm in a bad mood, or I'm tired, or I'm What is it hangry hangry. Hungry, I haven't eaten

Andrea Drynan  22:54  
today. But it's also I think, also when or if one feels triggered, to take that pause to just pause for a minute before you react. And, you know, I mean, we're not perfect, as Joe said. So sometimes we react or do the bark, and then realize, Oh, hold on a sec, this is my stuff. This is my stuff that's showing up. So but I think the pause is really important when you're feeling any kind of trigger.

Erin Aquin  23:26  
Yeah, and, you know, we will often talk we talked about this, I'm like to my clients, I'm like, take it, we take it to our coach, or we take it to a journal, it's having the toolbox that actually aligns with what you need. And I think finger business owners we need, we need a different set of toolbox, a different set of tools, because the rest and relaxation that might work for other people, we were talking about our vacations before we before we started recording today. That's not as often not enough to really reset. Yeah, when you're the generator of everything when you're the parent when you're the when you're the business owner or when or the business owner of multiple businesses. So much is relying on you, your you your energy, your health, your wellness, your, your, your beingness. And so I feel like sometimes the all of the tools, but like the journal is like a chance to have to give yourself a pause, as you say, and have that sometimes a mini vacation, maybe you're gonna go vacation with your future self. Or maybe you're going to just do a thought dump. Or maybe you're going to try out these tools that you have that you've created for an uncompiled for everyone. We've got

Trish Drynan  24:50  
some so many favorite ones. But what I was just going to bring up today was the wheel of life that we've done for years with schools and it's really helped individuals and it started off like you probably as a coach saw the wheel of life like this is where I learned that many, many moons ago. And one of the things I got just, we changed environment, which I do believe environment is very important. But the wheel of life is really about looking at all the previous stages in your life, family, technology, health, school, fun and recreation, friendships, and warehouse, where are you at today, in this moment, feeling in regards to that stress, zero being feeling really good 10 on the stress level, and so you go through, and then you just, and then you get a little wonky wheel, and you just figure out like sort of where you are. And then you pick like the idea of this is looking at your life, and then realizing that, okay, just picking one thing like this is what we love is picking one thing that you can maybe do one tiny little shift. So let's just say you're, you know, technology's keeping you up at night, and you've got to do so what's one tiny little thing, as opposed

Erin Aquin  26:08  
to every entrepreneur listening to this, we know technology's keeping you up at night? Yeah, generous, but I'm going to tell you. We know. And it's,

Trish Drynan  26:19  
and it's the you know, the thing is, there are so many things, but instead of trying, we try to sort it all out at once, we think, oh my god, like this sense of overwhelm. So when you're feeling overwhelmed, zipping through these important aspects of your life, and then deciding, just taking one and making little moves. So it gives you that little lift that little spirit of self empowerment that, oh, my gosh, I could actually have to do it all today, I can just work on my this week, I'm just going to work on managing my technology. And again, at the same time, you're going to be brushing your teeth and doing your yoga and doing the things that you do every day having your tea, hopefully eating good food, because again, getting good sleep setting up like there's a whole little aspect in here about sleep hygiene. The focus laid out, you know, with breathing exercises. So we that's one tip, so the Wheel of Life is a great one, the grounding exercise, when you're feeling overwhelmed, and you can't like let's face it with your kids, they're freaking out having a panic attack something and you're gonna tell them to start, just breathe.

Erin Aquin  27:35  
Relax, why don't you just relax? Yeah.

Trish Drynan  27:39  
Let's, let's look at five things that you can see. Let's just name five, Name five things you can see. And then if you want to, you can keep going fuck four things that you can touch. So you're getting out of your head. And then three things, okay, listen to things that you can smell. And one thing you can taste, so you're using your senses as opposed to your breath. So it's

Andrea Drynan  28:02  
an otherwise it's a pause from ruminating. And it gets you to focus on 54321. And it's, it's all in here in the journal. The other the other thing that I was doing the other night with my son is we were just dipping. So we were sort of flipping the pages to see where we went to. And then we'd read it and go through the practice. So that's another way you don't have to do all the wit page by page because it's

Erin Aquin  28:33  
a divination tool.

Trish Drynan  28:36  
I love it. And you know, with with this, so this week, I just did a video on one of the practices did let's do a deep dive. And we might do that once a week on Instagram or whatever. But we got three to one and three to one is a beautiful journaling practice. But it's also if you wake up in the middle of the night, and you're absolutely like your mind starts going down the rabbit hole. So it's three, it's it can just be in this moment, but three things you're grateful for two things, two good things that happened to you today or this week. And one thing you like about yourself and you can just keep going over that. Because what it does, it's not fake. It's not it's not like I'm gonna be happy, I'm going to be happy. I'm happy. You know, like when we're trying to do these affirmations that just don't work when you're spiraling and you need to and you're not feeling that I'm joyful. But the three to one allows you to give you like an authentic like, oh my gosh, my life is actually pretty good. Like it's working. There are things that are working some things are working I've got three things to be great. Some kids, they would say to us well, I there's nothing I'm grateful for in this moment. Nothing I've said Did you have breakfast today? Yeah. Are you grateful for that? Yeah. Okay, great. Like, do you like your your house? Yeah, I like my home. Okay, great. I think everything one thinks great gratitude has to be some big thing. Or a good thing that happens in your life has to

Erin Aquin  30:06  
be been exceptional. Yes, I'm about

Trish Drynan  30:10  
the little things in life and ultimately become the big things in life.

Erin Aquin  30:13  
Yeah, and and understanding that, of course, our human brains are hard wired to look for problems like that is part of the conditioning, we scan for problems, it's so much easier to take anything that happens and find some mistake problem to judge ourselves. So I love that your approach isn't to bypass that or to try to spackle over it with like a positive affirmation, but instead to say, and let's expand the spectrum to also what can we be grateful for what is good? What's what's working? Yeah, like poster? What's our thing? Now everybody wants to know, where can they get this journal,

Trish Drynan  31:01  

Erin Aquin  31:08  
And you can I'm gonna link to it in the show notes as well.

Trish Drynan  31:11  
Beautiful. Thank you. And also

Andrea Drynan  31:13  
the journal is for everyone. There's it's not age specific. It can be used by a 10 year old. And it can be used by an 80 year old, like it's right across every age group. So as

Trish Drynan  31:31  
we've got some exciting, we're going to do a launch on March 21. But you're invited, and anybody else is invited, because we're going to do it on Zoom, march 21, at 5pm.

Erin Aquin  31:45  
Okay, I will link to that as well, for folks who want to sign up, I think that will be so exciting. And I think it's also just a really beautiful opportunity to to get to spend some time with you live in that way. Because there's something really magical about getting to be in the presence of, of your teachers. And so I hope that folks can can make that live and experience that with you in real time. And just, it will add some energy to all of the practices that you're going to learn through the journal project. Yes. Thank you so, so much to both. Thank

Andrea Drynan  32:23  
you so much, Erin. Thank you, Erin, for being there today. Thank you very much.