I have been writing a personal journal consistently for almost 4 years now. And what I mean by consistently is “every day.” If I miss a day I do not feel right. Some days it is only a half of a page, on other days it is more than three pages. I used to think that I would run out of stuff to write about, but that has not been the case. If anything the list of things to write about has gotten longer. My journal is one that I know will never be read except by me so all topics are fair game. Nothing is held sacred. Nothing is held back. It is a writing that is mainly exploration of the “self.” Good things as well as the bad things. I have learned more about myself in the last four years than I ever knew was possible. Somethings were really difficult to write about. And other topics that I thought I had covered in great detail still had more layers to them. I do not see a day that I ever stop journaling. Socrates was right: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Over time one of the things that has evolved out of the journaling is a list that I review every day and I mean every day. They are just small saying and quotes but they help me to live life as best I can. As the exploration continues so will the personal and spiritual growth therefore the list is not written in stone. It will change and that’s as it should be. I would like to share this list with you. My hope is that you will find something helpful in your life as I did.
1. You have all that you need. When you get right down to it most of us have all that we need. Really we have all that we need. Especially in the USA. I remind myself of this while watching TV and I get that feeling of “wanting” something new. The question becomes is this a need or is it a want? And what do I feel comfortable giving up for a want. I am not finically independent and for me it means how much time do I want to spend at work in order to afford the “new want.” Just thinking about spending more time at work usually kills it right there.
2. What would you attempt if you knew that you could not fail? This is a good one. What would we attempt if you really knew that you could not fail? The possibilities are endless when you starting thinking about it. Or I like this one even better. If we knew “failure” was Ok what worthwhile goal would you set for yourself? This is the trick to this one. The idea that failure is not usually final. Matter a fact it is part of the process and without it we would not have much success at all.
3. The things that we fear the most are the things that we most need to do. I like this. How many times do we not try something because we fear it? Obviously you may fear jumping off a cliff, but that does not mean you need to jump off the cliff. It just means you need to think it through a little more. Maybe with the right equipment like a parachute. Or ropes so that you can repel down, etc… Just think of all the things that would be possible if fear was not an issue. I like the quote by Susan Jeffers: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
4. You must renew the climb of the mountain each and every day! I like to think that this one I invented, but the truth of the matter is that I have heard a lot of people say this. Each day is new and we have to go out and start the metaphorical climb of the mountain each day. The idea here is to realize that you may not get to the top of the mountain everyday but that is OK. Sometimes the climb is harder today than it was yesterday or tomorrow. It just means that you have to start. That is the trick – just start, just show up, just be present.
5. LET GO AND WALK ON! I really like this phrase – I think that it another way to sum up Buddhism. The phrase is from Alan Watts. It is the idea that life is in a constant state of change, there is nothing that is permanent, everything changes. If you try to hold on to something, whatever it is, we miss the rest of life flowing by us. So “Let Go! AND Walk On!”
6. Linger in the moment. This one is from Pema Chodron. It is a way to help remind myself to stay in the moment. All of life happens in the present moment. The past is past, the future has not happened yet. All of life is right now, right here, right in this very moment while you are reading these words.
7. Embrace life. This is just a quote that I like. It reminds me that life is not fair, terrible things happen, good people and loved ones die. And most of the time there is nothing that you can do about it. This is life but you have a choice of whether to embrace it or reject it. I like to think that I have chosen to embrace it. To make a positive difference where ever I can.
8. Slip off the cloak and shackles of shame. Let vulnerability rein! Ah – SHAME – the hidden emotion! We wear shame like a cloak and it becomes so much a part of us that we do not realize we have it on. Like a well-worn leather jacket. It becomes very comfortable and colors all of our actions and decisions without us even knowing. A big THANK YOU to Brene Brown and her book called “Daring Greatly.” If you would have asked me last year if I had “shame” or if “shame” had ever influenced a decision I made, I would have thought you were crazy. But I now know that for the last 50 years of my life I have worn this cloak and it has colored everything in my life. And not in a good way.
9. YOU ARE OK JUST AS YOU ARE. YOU ARE ENOUGH. This is part of the above Quote. It goes with the idea of shame. The ideas that society tells you: you are never enough, never smart enough, never big enough, never good enough, never beautiful enough, never rich enough, never skinny enough, etc…. But YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE OK JUST AS YOU ARE.
10. All of life is distraction. This is just to remind me that life is made up of distractions. There is no rhyme or reason to it. We would like to say that we can control it but in reality we have no control except how we react to it. Good things happen, bad things happen, but there is no overseeing god or omnipresent being that controls it. Life just is and what you make of it, good or bad.
11. We do not see life as it really is, we see life as we are. This famous quote come from the writer Anais Nin. She was a remarkable woman who kept a journal for over 40 years. This quote is so true. I have to remind myself of this every day. Yes I will admit that sometimes I have a very “jaded” view of the world and that my jaded view is not how the world really is. When I am angry or sad or happy my view of the world changes and this is how it should be. But the trick is the realization that your view changes with your current state of mind.
Well this is the list that has evolved over 4 years of writing a journal. I know that it will continue to evolve as I write, but this is OK. Life is not static, it is movement and flow. Always in a state of change. My hope is that you found something helpful or interesting for further exploration.
It has again been a rainy week this past 7 days. And I have been working a lot at my day job. So I do not have many pictures to share with you this week of running. Instead I would like to share a few pictures of what I call my “Yard Art Faces.” The top one, the large sun face (about 5 to 6 feet in diameter) is the oldest being about 16 years old. I have had to repaint it twice in that time. But it still looks pretty good for its age and exposure to the elements. The middle one was my first step into making what I call functional art. The nose of the face is used as outdoor lighting. I had planned to paint in more details but after finishing the lips and teeth, it just felt that doing any more to it would take away from the shapes. The bottom one was made using plywood and old bicycle parts. This one is in a protected location but still outdoors and has held up pretty well.
Well that is it for me this week. I am hoping for sunnier and drier Colorado weather next week. Until then take care and see you out there!!