We have been talking about things that can enrich or rebuild your life, by incremental changes. Why do it this way? Because so many people have no idea who they really are, or why they are special. Some of us with massive changes to our lives, good or bad, have no idea where to start with the monumental task of starting over. Many more are just so overwhelmed in their chaotic, over scheduled lives that they just don’t know where to find the margins to breathe in. I talk to people with our business, and in our little side ministries on a regular basis that are so broken! So many have devastating losses, so many battle major health issues or dangerous depression that leaves them with the feeling of being useless, and hopeless. I have been told by many, that they lose sight of what makes them special, they don’t know where to start over, they don’t know how to pick up their lives or find the joy that fed their soul. They have lost the sense of beauty in their own personal lives, and are not sure how to find it again. It is not selfish to pursue beauty or good things as long as we don’t neglect others in that process. If you are a Christian like me, then you might remember this:
New American Standard Bible
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
King James Bible
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things.
I liked all three translations and how the specific words they used, so I posted all three. Even if you are not a Christian, I am sure you can agree with this sentiment. In other words, no guilt needed while pursuing beauty, and excellence! A journey of self discovery is worth a little of your time. Don’t let this crazy, busy, cluttered life we live keep you from your journey on this earth. You must take time out for it regularly. You deserve that chance! Learn about who you are, what you want, and then go pursue it!
This leads me to this week’s challenge–A simple journaling exercise.
This is a continuation of the last two weeks. If you have not purchased a blank book, journal or composition book, go get one!! A composition book is usually about a buck, so money is no barrier for this. Get one. Transfer your lists to it that you have made already.
THIS WEEK I want you to brainstorm, spend a couple minutes on it each day. Write down all the things you KNOW about yourself. The good things about yourself such as…
Things you do.
I help others.
I feel deeply for others.
I am very sensitive. (This can be good and bad.)
I love red and pink.
I love books.
I dream of writing.
I deeply love to learn and set aside time to study daily.
I have written many novels, and never let anyone read them.
I love writing and have been published.
I dream of flying a plane.
I prefer to sit in a pale, creamy yellow room, it is uplifting, and sunshiny!!
I am obsessed with music of most kinds.
I am a Christian.
I have counseled many people.
I have taught children and adults to read.I have started my own business.
I support many charities/ministries.
I love my garden and flowers!
I enjoy getting to mentor young people.
I homeschooled my children for 20 years.
I am a little quirky.
I love the cello.
I have taken Krav Maga and love it!!
I cannot even think if my living room is messy.
I take care of my elderly father-in-law.
How about you?
Perhaps you can play the piano, have a ministry, rescue animals, volunteer, love bright colors, love to restore old furniture, teach children, bicycle long distances, travel, etc!
Do you collect something you love?
Do you paint?
Have you saved someone’s life?
Are you a good listener?
Are you a closet poet?
Play the cello?
Love to remodel old houses?
Do you love to create beauty?
Are you raising children?
Are you helping others in some way?
Do you encourage or mentor people?
What is that unrealized dream/craving of your soul, that has always nagged at you? Have you even thought about trying to pursue it? Perhaps you dream of being a painter but never took classes. Perhaps you ache to write but have not picked up a pen in years. Do you dream of travel but never go anywhere?
WRITE THIS DREAM DOWN IN YOUR JOURNAL, WE ARE GOING TO JOURNAL ABOUT THIS SOON!
I have done this exercise, and it really helped me in some dark times when I felt lost, to go back and read this lifeline that brought me back to my sense of self. People that battle depression, or have suffered incredible losses at times lose sight of who they really are. So do people struggling with PTSD or even just going through great changes or life threatening traumas. Having this discovery journal is not only a great exercise in discovering yourself, but it can remind you of who you are when you feel lost. It also can refocus us when we get sidetracked.
Work on it with zeal!
So this week, spend a few minutes each day adding to this list. This book/journal is going to be pretty special to you one day, so keep working on it. You can even draw pictures of your favorite flowers, or your puppy. You could tape pictures of your precious kids, bible verses you love/memorized, life quotes, or a brief description of anything that describes you! You could fill a whole page on your favorite movies, books or music. This book is about you, the things you love, and what makes you who you are. I will be blogging about mostly things to write in it, but you can personalize it more in any way that appeals to you. Can you come up with 20 things? 50? 100? 200? Keep working on it, you are complex and wonderful so you will come up with many more things as you go along.
It will truly be a treasure over time, so have fun with it!! Write down your quirks too, they really are part of your soul! Let it be amusing as well as personal! Most importantly, be honest.
I want you to find some time for JUST YOU this week. This could be a bubble bath, where you read your favorite book.
Or take off to just play!
Lay on a beach!
It could be sitting at a park and relaxing alone for 20 minutes in the middle of errand day. Do you sit in a lot of waiting rooms? If so, bring that book you have been dying to read. Does knitting relax you? Bring your knitting. Find little moments to add to your day so you feel like your day wasn’t total chaos or too busy to breathe.
Anything that makes you feel like you had time for YOU!
Can you squeeze in lunch with an old friend? Can you give up a TV show to garden an hour a week? Paint, write, photograph, craft, or whatever it is you wish you could do more often? Time for you is like the air we breathe, you really will suffocate without it eventually.
My BEST ADVICE is to go out in nature. Take a walk in the woods, sit by a river and breathe in the peace! Find a place where you can soak in the negative ions that make us feel better by waterfalls/ocean beaches, listen to birdsong and chattering chipmunks. Plant yourself on a park bench for an hour, slip off your shoes and feel your feet on the cool grass. Quiet, peaceful reflection with the beautiful planet we live on can actually elevate mood and clear your head. As a kid I had a place by the river I would sneak off to for settling my mind and soul. We have not outgrown that need, so find your place and use it!
This journey is about exploring who you are. Positive life changes are as unsettling as negative ones. Each time your life changes, you need to take time to explore what you will do with it next. Listen to yourself and be deeply honest.
See you next week!