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My current journal cover

Dear Friends,

Here we are, the last week before Labour Day.  Lots of buzz in my household with my son starting college again.  I’ve been very busy painting and writing for my online courses.  One of the things that has been bringing me a lot of happiness is working/playing/writing/arting in my journal.

I remember a question posed many years ago by Stephen Covey (of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People fame) in one of his CD series: (paraphrased) “What is the one thing, that if you did it regularly, would make the greatest positive difference in your happiness and productivity?”

My immediate thought was “write regularly in my journal”.  I’ve kept journals for many decades, but not nearly as regularly as I had wanted to.  What is bringing me happiness over the last year or so is that I’m finally working in them faithfully, including not only what most people think of as journal or diary entries, but much else as well.  I don’t write in them every day, but most days I do.

I have this feeling that my life is not getting away from me before I know that I’ve lived it, if you know what I mean.  I’m not looking back over a three month period of time thinking, “Now what did I do these past few months?”  This helps me own my life, and therefore, take responsibility for it, and for how I spend my days.

One of the constant challenges of my life is having so many more ideas and ambitions to do things than I have the energy or health to actually pursue.  By taking that little bit of extra time to record what it is that I do most days, I’ve become aware that I mostly use my time very well, and I do get done that which is the most important to me.  I’m not perfect in this, but I do make progress.  As a “for instance”, before preparing this blog post, I was getting down on myself for not posting for over a month, especially when my goal is to post once a week.  While putting this post together, though, I was paging through my journal and noticing what it is that has been taking up my time.  While I still wish to be posting more regularly, I also know that this last month has been filled with many worthy and important activities — along with “wasted” hours eaten by lack of sleep, or pain, or feeling just rotten.  My journal even helps me accept the “wasted” hours as maybe not so wasted, but part of a full, “deep and real” life, where I’m making good use of what I can control, and accepting that which I can’t.

Here’s some of what I include:

20150830_163528List of Dream Titles. After writing out my dreams as soon as I awaken, I later date them and give them a descriptive title that will help me remember them. In my regular journal I have an indexed page where I list chronologically all the dreams’ titles.

Newspaper clipping of a recent photo of the earth from a satellite launched many years ago.

Newspaper clipping of a recent photo of the earth from a satellite launched years ago.

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Weekly page summary

Copies of my writings and photos of paintings for my online courses.

Copies of my writings and photos of paintings for my online courses.

Other peoples' art and articles from the web.

Other peoples’ art and articles from the web.

First page of my journal, with artwork by Shaun Tan

First page of my journal, with artwork by Shaun Tan

 

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Another recent painting, with random notes pasted on opposite page

I’m not necessarily suggesting that you keep a journal, nor if you do, that you should keep one the way that I do.  What I DO want you to ask yourself, though, is:

What is the one thing, that if I did it regularly, would make the greatest positive difference in my happiness and productivity?

Now, why don’t you try doing it and see what happens?  For many people, September, after the Labour Day weekend, is the second “New Year’s Day” of the year.  Why not set yourself up this week so that you can start doing that “one thing”?

I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

With love,

Cat

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