A wise woman once told me, “Paper is for remembering; brains are for thinking.” Brilliant! I have always been a person who needs paper – lists and calendars; these are staples in my life. I incorporated this logic immediately into all aspects of my life. If my children want me to do something for them, they write me a note.

As a Mississippi family law attorney, I feel most days that I’m not only managing my personal and family life, but the lives of my clients as well. My clients are in crisis every day. When I feel like I’m not helping those clients effectively, I stop and realize that I either haven’t made a list for that day or I haven’t looked at my list even once. On those days, I switch gears quickly: What items on my list can I accomplish quickly? Who needs my attention the most? In those moments, when I put a game plan into action, I go from being overwhelmed to feeling powerful. In this world full of craziness and uncertainty, we all need to feel powerful and accomplished from time to time.

We live in a chaotic world. There’s so much info out there – so much to distract us. For me, taking notes, making lists, writing things down… it says to me, “This is the important stuff. Make this a priority.” If you come visit me in my office, you better believe I’ll be writing things down.

As I really stopped to think about this concept and began writing this blog, something else occurred to me: Paper is for remembering. Let’s stop there. I learned years ago in family law practice that clients begin processing and healing when having to respond to discovery – answering the opposing party’s questions. The writing helped them to release some anger, hurt, sadness. I began advising clients to write down their story, to journal throughout their family law crisis, even when they weren’t responding to discovery.

Journaling has significant benefits. Processing your thoughts and feelings can be expensive if you are speaking to an attorney. Processing on paper can be less expensive – sending me an email of your various epiphanies is much more cost effective than calling me every time you have an epiphany. Of course, I love hearing from you! But you may not love hearing from me when it’s time for your monthly statement. Being efficient with your time with me will help you cut down on costs.

Additionally, if you express your thoughts and feelings on paper, and leave it on the paper (this is a really important part), then you don’t have to carry all those thoughts and feelings around on your shoulders. This exercise allows you to purge those negative feelings and experiences. Get your words on paper, and don’t reread. Rereading can enable you to get it all out on paper, and then bring it all back in your soul. Do yourself a favor, and don’t reread. Carrying all that baggage can be so heavy.

Another benefit to journaling is that when you are writing, you are only doing one thing. We are masters at multi-tasking, but we are exhausted! Sit down. Close your door. Leave your phone elsewhere. Be alone with your thoughts and feelings, and put them on paper. This gift you give yourself allows you to escape momentarily from the chaotic world in which we live. Take a breather, and move in the direction of healing. Paper is for remembering. Journaling can bring clarity and hope if you allow yourself to give it a try.

Alicia Baladi

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