My newsletter reflection next week is going to be about fantasy, dreams, whimsy, imagination, and play, and how necessary they are for the human mind to be a healthy place. And two of the things I tend to do for myself in this vein is to block out time for reverie, and for reflection.
Yesterday’s blogpost was about Reverie. Today, I want to tell you about Reflection.
At the end of each day roughly within the hour before I go to sleep, I take out one or both journals and write a bit, reflecting on my day. I keep two journals simultaneously – one is about the martial art I engage in, plus other content intended to help me increase my health and support healthy habits I’m working on creating and strengthening. Those entries are usually brief, concise, and information laden, but it’s certainly a place I make realizations and connections between my behavior, my emotions, and my physical, mental, and spiritual health. At the beginning of each month, I set out the goals I want to reach, the habits I want to support and the new one or two habits I want to start building. I create grids to track my habits and my qigong dosage throughout the month, and at the end of each month, I do a review of how the month went, what sabotaged my success, and what supported it, and I write that down, too.
And if this sounds like an entirely intellectual and left brained exercise, you’d be partially right. But the thing is, after I archive the data, I also take a deep breath and with great honesty let my right brain take over. And that’s where the most fascinating connections and reflections happen. And if I need to do more than a sentence or two of that, then I take out the other journal.
Sometimes nightly, sometimes a few times a week, I use my other journal. It’s not a place for data. It’s a place for whimsy, for me to talk with my deity, and a place to get a response. It’s an ongoing conversation interrupted only by a date stamp. I write it diagonally across the blank pages from edge to edge to center fold with no paragraph breaks and do this almost exclusively, broken up only if I decide to start writing in different color inks, which gets quite fun when I use my fountain pen, as then the color change is gradual across the entire page. (Sometimes I also write my letters this way.)
As I said, it’s a place for whimsy.
It’s a place where I make cognitives leaps. A place for emotional, mental, and spiritual breakthroughs to happen. I employ as much brutal honesty as I can manage about situations subjectively good and bad that came up through the day and engage with my deity (some may find it more useful to consider I’m having a conversation with my higher self, especially if you’re considering something similar – this is also true for me, so rock on) to get perspective.
Now, it’s true that Reflection as I’ve just described it doesn’t quite fit into the fantasy, dreams, whimsy, imagination, and play box that I’ve been talking about. …except that this practice of Reflection actually helps me to not take my life so seriously, which is in the same category, actually. Also, Reflection gets me out of the pattern of repetitive stuck thoughts, and onto the right path of calm, clear, uncluttered thinking once more.
More than half of my work life is actually whimsy, imagination, and play, and Reverie is a self-care action I take that is also play. And if whimsy, imagination, and play are the hardworking BBQ grill of my life, then Reflection is the marinade. It may not be useful while actually grilling, but gosh it makes the product of the grill so much tastier.
So, do you journal? How do you use your journal? Tell me in the comments, and remember – there’s no wrong way!