LifeJournal™ Newsletter – May 2011

 

Here in the US it’s the day after Memorial Day weekend. Although not technically summer, it signals the beginning of the summer fun:  Time for life to slow down a bit, enjoy a bit of extra leisure time, and focus more on doing what you want!

Use the summer to sign up for events and classes which take care of YOUR needs:

This month’s article is about the value of reflection. I think it may be time to invoke Socrates’ words: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Keep writing, stay aware, and create goodness in the world,
Ruth

Ruth Folit
www.lifejournal.com – LifeJournal software
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www.IAJW.org – The International Association for Journal Writing
blog.lifejournal.com

The Value of Reflection
by Ruth Folit

 
You might think that looking back at your life—perhaps even just looking back at the last 12-16 hours isn’t very productive.  You may wonder—what’s the point? I can’t change the past…

Agreed that you can’t change what you’ve done, but I think you can substantially gain by reflecting on the past. As Anais Nin, the famous diarist said, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.”
Part of the sweetness of keeping a journal is to savor life—to remember the good times as you have just lived them or as you best remember them. Remember the details of stand-out moments—your first kiss, a meaningful achievement in your career, your child’s first day at school,  your daughter’s wedding, a meaningful conversation you had with your father.
And there are times when you want to slow down life and understand it better: to reflect on that comment that your colleague offered after your presentation; or rethink your conversation with a best friend over lunch; or wonder how to deepen the relationship with your spouse or children; or think about a political issue in your community, and where you stand on it and how you can help.
I think there is immense value in reflecting, especially if you approach your thinking with care. It’s easy (at least for me!) to focus on the negatives: what part of the conversation was a little disheartening during my interaction with a colleague? did I overstep a limit when I made that humorous comment about Jerry to Jean? how could my town be so insensitive to people struggling financially?
Here are some thoughts about how to make sure your life review is consciously balanced and useful:
Look back to find out what you did right.

Look back to see how far you’ve come.

Look back to appreciate yourself–for examples both small and huge.

Look back to see your strengths.

Look back to see how you helped others.

Look back to see what you liked, what made your smile, what energized you.

Keep your positive radar out when you look back.
Look for the gems.

Look for the gold.

Don’t dwell on the dross, the goof ups, the embarrassments.  You can’t change them, but you can change how you view them.  And maybe you can change how you’ll do things in the future.

You can embrace your failings, you can learn lessons from the experience, you can shift your perception.  Look at yourself lovingly, as a good friend would view your stories.
Life moves fast; things take place in an instant. And there’s often no chance during the day to think what it was YOU really wanted to say or do. Stay in touch with yourself, giving yourself the time and space to fully consider the issues that are stirring you so that you can investigate and refine your own beliefs and your own reactions, rather than what you “should” do or feel.  See if you can make connections that clarify and make sense and make meaning in your world. I believe that your inner world becomes more peaceful when these thoughts and feelings pour forth via your fingers and into journal entries.

End Quotes:

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
—Peter Drucker

“There are three methods to gaining wisdom. The first is reflection, which is the highest. The second is limitation, which is the easiest. The third is experience, which is the bitterest.”—Confucius

“They only babble who practise not reflection.”—Edward Young

 

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