Journaling can be very helpful when used wisely. But there are a number of traps that people often fall into that can make it just another form of paper clutter.
Journaling can be a valuable process. It allows a level of introspection that can lead to insights about your life and can help you to navigate through it more consciously. But do you really need to keep all your journals forever?
Extract the wisdoms
It’s essential to be aware that it is usually what is out of balance in a person that causes them to feel the need to journal.
To understand this, think about what happens when two people who enjoy each other’s company spend time together. They will talk until everything communicated between them is balanced. After that they can experience that magical companionable silence of dear friends, which is possible because there is nothing more that needs to be said. They are in balance.
It’s the same in your relationship with yourself. Most of what you write in a journal will be processing your “stuff” (mental, emotional and spiritual clutter) to allow you to see what you need to learn at that time. You write until there’s nothing more to write and then you feel in balance again. You can extract the wisdoms and let the journals go.
Don’t keep the scaffolding
The art of living is to learn from our experiences and move on. If you find yourself needing to keep re-reading journals to find out where you’ve been, it means you aren’t getting to the essence of the experience first time round, and then you will tend to recreate similar experiences in your life to have another go.
Always write with the intention of getting to the core essence of the matter and having realizations that move you to a new depth of understanding and perception. When you do this, you will no longer feel the need to keep the journaling that got you there.
A good analogy for this is that when you build a house, you don’t keep the scaffolding. It was useful during the building process but you don’t need to keep it after the house has been finished, or store it in the garden just in case you need it again. Its job is done and you move on to the next stage, which is living in your house (living your life).
I do think it’s a good idea, however, to keep a list of dates of what happened when. I have a document on my computer called “Karen’s Life”, which briefly lists all the major events in my life since I was born. I find it comes in useful for all kinds of things.
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Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2010, updated 2019