Life is hard, and life is beautiful. Living brings natural ups and downs: how we handle them determines our attitude toward the people around us, our careers, and our spiritual welfare. A great therapeutic tool that people use to help them make sense of their world and their place in it is journal writing.
If you think life is tough, that raising children is hard, that you are exhausted from working long hours at the office, or that your faith is wavering due to an unexpected crisis of some kind, wouldn't it be comforting to know you are not alone?
Pioneers and other 19th century folks were great journal keepers. Reading about their trials and struggles helps us to see how universal and time transcending our own problems are. If you are really fortunate, you will have access to your own ancestors' records of their daily lives. You may gain strength from their actions and learn about yourself in the process.
In these fast paced times, journal writing can be a great way to slow down and take an inventory of how we are doing. The best and most logical time to write is at bedtime. There are no rules about journal keeping, but here are some ideas about what you might include:
--the day's events
--problems you may have encountered
--your feelings about the direction your life is headed, both good and bad
--happy and positive events, and the beautiful things you noticed
--funny things your children did or said that you want to remember
--things you are particularly grateful for
--poetry, if that's something you like to write
--spiritual experiences you have had
--goals, both short and long term
If you are unhappy, be brutally honest in your journal about why you think you are feeling this way. We can't ignore the bad things that happen to us: they just are. Writing about them can help us sort through the facts and our feelings and lead to resolving them.
Journal keeping helps us to keep a sense of perspective. The tragedy of today may seem inconsequential a year later when we reread what we've written. Remembering how we felt back then and knowing the problem was ultimately resolved can give us courage to deal with today's issues.
Finally, recording our lives in journals benefits not only us, but our descendants as well. These records will become precious keepsakes for those who come after we are long gone. They will get some insight into who they are and what kind of people they come from. They too will gain strength from the lessons we pass on to them in writing.
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