LifeJournal™ Newsletter – December 2001

We at Chronicles Software Company wish you joy and peace this holiday season and in the New Year. Enjoy your celebrations!

Sincerely,
Ruth Folit and the Chronicles Software staff


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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Re-reading Your Journal
Mailbag: Conflict with other software
Holiday Gift Ideas and Specials for Journal Writers!
End Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson
To Purchase LifeJournal



Re-reading Your Journal

 Periodically, it is helpful to step back and take stock of your life. Re-reading your journal is an excellent way to do that.  You have captured the subjective views of your life in your journal entries, and, with the aid of a wide-angle lens of time and a little synthetic detective work, you can gain a big-picture perspective of your life—like reaching the top of a mountain at the end of hike and looking back to see the route you have traveled. Re-reading your journal thoughtfully can be an important step in the process of your evolution.

Before embarking on a journal re-reading, it’s imperative to have the right attitude. The review process is about gaining greater understanding of yourself, NOT about beating yourself up. Reading past entries can bring up all sorts of feelings— surprise, admiration, embarrassment, boredom, respect, sadness, and scorn. The trick is to approach the re-reading with self-acceptance, openness, compassion, humor, and non-judgment.

One technique to staying positive and non-judgmental as you are reading your journal is to imagine that you are listening to a good friend. Good friends can help each other look for the silver lining, the positive spin, life patterns, and lessons learned from an experience.

Another crucial point is to remember that keeping a journal is about process, not product. Don’t judge your writing ability or style, or even basic spelling and grammar skills. Keep your interior red editing pen out of the picture.

Also keep in mind that journal writing serves different purposes for various times in your life—to record facts and events, to vent feelings, to confide secrets, or to sort out meaning. What was momentous for you a month ago, may not be today. Remember, too, that your understanding of your journal will be based on your feelings of the moment and in successive re-reading you might see things differently.

Occasionally re-reading a journal will allow you to see more than you may want to know about yourself. If you can’t maintain a constructive perspective, talk to a good friend and/or see a professional counselor.

LifeJournal can easily display the journal entries for a particular time period.  Click the sixth circular command button (the one with the eye icon) to start the search process.  If you want to see just your Daily Journal entries for the last year, deselect the Dream and Life History journal entries.  Under Date, type in the beginning date (e.g. 1/1/01) after the word from, and the end date (e.g. 12/31/01) after the word to.Click the Search button, and you will have a list of all your Daily Journal entries for the year.  Double click a journal entry.  With the Previous and Next buttons you can “page” through the journal entries.

You can approach your journal review in several ways.  You can read through it, with an open and inquisitive mind and see what your impressions are. This is an intuitive, non-structured process in which impressions and flashes of insight surface as you re-read the year’s entries. You may want to add comments as you read. Create a topic in the Topic List called “comments” and then select and assign that topic to your annotations.  This will enable you to differentiate between what you wrote initially and what you added later. You may also want to include a date in the highlighted commentary text.

If you are looking for a little more structure while you re-read your journal, you can keep some questions in mind:

  • What are my dominant emotions?
  • Where are the conflicts, challenges, and the growing edges that I write about?
  • Did I learn something valuable from difficult situations that I was in?
  • Are there recurring themes, subject, or issues that I visit? Is there a pattern to when the subject or issue re-appears? Am I making progress on understanding and dealing with these issues?
  • Do I repeatedly reference health, physical, stress, or sleeping related problems?
  • Is there a part of my body in particular that keeps causing distress in my life?
  • What accomplishments have I achieved? What new skills have I mastered?
  • How did I overcome obstacles?  Am I bumping into similar obstacles?
  • How am I feeling as I re-read different sections of my journal?  Do these feelings give me clues about areas that I am ready to change, I am still working on, or I have moved beyond?
  • Who or what has strongly influenced me?
  • What loose ends or unanswered questions do I have?

One of the benefits of LifeJournal is that you can track a particular issue or subject over time.  For example, if you want to track your relationship with your sister, you can do a search on just the highlighted passages on the topic “sister.”  Here’s how:

  1. Open the Search dialog box by clicking the 6th circular command button.
  2. Click the “+” to the left of the family folder and then click the topic sister.
  3. Select the box Retrieve highlighted passages only found above the list of topics on the Search dialog box.
  4. Click the Search button.

A document will appear with all of the passages that you have assigned the topicsister.  If you want to see the context of the passage that you are viewing, double click on the journal entry title, and the whole entry will open.

Consider creating categories that you might not have currently in your Topics List to highlight passages that will further help track patterns for specific subjects. For example, you may want to add “challenges,” “conflict,” “strong influences,” or  “lessons learned.”  For more information about how to highlight passages view ourFebruary newsletter.

Here’s another aspect to consider when reviewing your journal entries: What’s missing from your journal? Are there times when you can tell that you are censoring yourself? Are you asking questions instead of puzzling out the answers?   Insert the word “censoring,” so that you can go back and search later for those areas. You may want to highlight the text where you know you suppressed information and assign the topic “censored” to it, so that you can go back and see where you self-censor.

As part of your re-reading you may also want to look at the Daily Pulse Graph to see your trends and patterns.  Click the fifth button from the right on the horizontal toolbar to open the Daily Pulse Graph. Click the rightmost of the three interval buttons (above the Print button), to view a year of charted Daily Pulse values. Look for trends. Where have the high points been? Where are the low points? What is occurring during the time building up to a high or low? Double click the point on the graph from which you want more information, and zoom into the 3-month interval. Double click on that point again and you will zoom into the 2-week interval. You can open the Daily Pulse Notes by double clicking the Daily Pulse Note icon on the horizontal x-axis. And you can open associated journal entries by double clicking the dot representing the Daily Pulse value. By reviewing your Daily Pulse Graph you may glean some valuable information about your patterns.

Use the Search function to find out what was happening in life when you were feeling extremely good or bad.  Open the Search dialog and under Daily Pulse, after Mood, insert the number “1” after from and “3” after to.  Click the Search button, and a list of journal entries that you wrote when your mood was low will appear.  Read through those entries, and you’ll see what you was occurring in life when you mood was low.

Search for entries when your Mood was high (Daily Pulse values from 7 to 10), and see what helped create your life satisfactions during the year.  Of course, you can conduct this and similar searches with all four of the Daily Pulse parameters.

For more information about how you can use the Daily Pulse Graph for seeing trends, read our March and April newsletters.

Another approach to reviewing your journal focuses on questions that you may want to ask yourself after your re-read your journal.  Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What are the highlights of the year?
  • Summarize your year, encapsulating it as whole in several sentences.
  • What would the headline or title of your year be?
  • If you had goals for the year, did you reach them?
  • Is your journal representative of the year?  Is there anything meaningful that you omitted? If so, add it now.
  • What did you learn this year? What did you wish you had learned?
  • What was the tone of voice in your journal?
  • What mood are you in when you write in your journal? What is your motivation for writing?
  • What have you gained or lost this year?
  • What is left unfinished that you want to work on in the future?

If you want to import these questions directly into your LifeJournal program, you will find them on our prompts page (www.lifejournal.com/prompts.html).  Follow the directions for downloading and importing. You might also want to create questions of your own to answer as your re-read your journal and enter them into your Prompts database, using the Features menu>Prompts>Customize

You might also want to create a journal entry or series of journal entries to summarize the portion of the journal that you are re-reading.  Make it clear what the entry is by giving it a title that you’ll understand  in subsequent years, like Summary, 2001. Or, you may want to create a topic in the Topic List, called Summary or Review that you assign to any journal entry that reflects your reaction to reading a chunk of past journal entries. With time, you’ll be able to compare these entries from one year to the next.

Reviewing your journals can be hard but very productive work. If you follow through on even a fraction of these suggestions, you will learn plenty about yourself.

Mailbag: Conflict with other Software

Q: I purchased Life Journal a year ago and it has been working fine. Suddenly, I’m getting a message when I try to open it that says: “The file —–.DLL is out of date.  The program requires a newer version.”  What can I do to continue to write in Life Journal and access what I’ve already written?

A: Occasionally, when you install a new piece of software, it causes a problem in LifeJournal. Here’s what to do:

  1. Back up your files on to a zip cartridge or some other removable media as a precaution.
  2. Uninstall LifeJournal by going to Start>Settings>Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs. Select LifeJournal click the Add/Remove button.
  3. Insert the LifeJournal CD and reinstall the program INTO THE SAME DIRECTORY AS BEFORE.  (If you don’t have the CD, you can download the demo and enter your serial number/download key again. Or, you may purchase the CD for the cost of shipping and handling.  In that case contact Chronicles Software Company by email (info@lifejournal.com) or by phone (toll free-1-877-456-8762).
  4. If you still have difficulties re-start your computer by turning it off, unplug the power cord and wait 30 seconds.  Replug and restart your computer.  Run LifeJournal. If you still have problems go towww.lifejournal.com/techsupport.html and fill out the form with as much specific information as possible. We will respond as quickly as possible.


Holiday Gift Ideas and Specials for Journal Writers!

Chronicles Software Company is making the holiday season easier for you. We have several gift packages you might want to purchase for friends and family (or for you!) who enjoy writing:

  • LifeJournal Holiday Special—three CDs for $109.95 includes UPS ground shipping (See www.lifejournal.com/ordering.html. )
  • The AlphaSmart/LifeJournal bundle includes the AlphaSmart 3000 keyboard and a 1.4 LifeJournal CD for $259.00! The AlphaSmart is a rugged, lightweight full-sized keyboard, powered by 3 AA batteries, where you can comfortably write wherever and whenever the mood strikes. Then easily transfer the text to LifeJournal upon returning to your computer.  For more information go to www.lifejournal.com/alphasmart.html.

End Quote:

“The years teach much which the days never knew.”  –Ralph Waldo Emerson


To purchase LifeJournal:

·   Order by postal mail and pay with a check or money order payable to:
Chronicles Software Company
PO Box 220
Sarasota, FL 34230


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©Chronicles Software Company, 2001. All rights reserved.