Do you take time to reflect on your experiences, to grieve through pain and anger, to celebrate feelings of joy, to acknowledge how you've grown, to ponder life’s wonders? If the answer is no, then today is the day for you to begin. Why? Because it will change your life. Moments of respite help shape who we become. And we can solidify their value by putting our reflections into written words. These moments of writing don't have to feel like homework. They can feel uplifting, like how you let your mind wander and daydream when you were young. Why did we ever stop this practice? It adds so much lighthearted value to keeping us grounded. Call it words on a page, journaling, blogging, a diary, written self-expression, deep thoughts, doodles, art, a personal philosophy log, etc. Whatever you call it, know that it's an important outlet that can help you process emotions and recharge your energy. I believe there are things inside of us that will remain locked until it’s put to text. Whatever comes out, even if it’s a stream of thoughts, it requires sentence structure and thoughtfulness about what comes out first. The return is that we can think and reflect on what we’ve written – reflection inside reflection (for those inception movie fans, let’s call this reflect-ception). If things are left locked within our minds, our emotions about various life experiences can overlap leaving no room for ease of flow for growth, like how my sister’s room looked when she was a teenager with clothes strewn about on the floor, the bed, or anywhere but organized in the closet (sorry not sorry sis). Once unlocked, you can reach a sense of freedom, relief, and room for clarity to both reflect on your past and your future. It also makes room for your full potential to be your best self. While I mentioned moments of respite don’t have to feel like homework, I’m going to give you a little history lesson. But don’t worry, this one is anecdotal, and I won’t give you a quiz afterward. It’s about someone who I believed did make mental room for his full potential by using a journal (in his time, it was called a wastebook, which is worth a google). He’s someone we can all learn from, not just for his scientific contributions, but for his habits that made way for the best version of himself. Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest minds in human history, kept a journal to log his scientific experiments, philosophical and spiritual thoughts, and even noted where he spent his money (i.e., glass prisms at local fairs, which at the time were called fool’s paradise because they weren’t taken seriously in the scientific community). In addition to being a brilliant philosopher, mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, etc. who journaled his thoughts and ideas, much of Newton’s accomplishments and scientific breakthroughs started as writings in his notebooks during the Great Plague of London in 1665-1666. Newton was able to find safe harbor (in Cambridge) to quarantine himself for much of the plague years, as did others who were looked upon as heroes who helped halt the spread of the disease. Yes, that happened more than 300 years ago, but his suffering during a pandemic is not so far from our own with COVID-19. While we’re still benefiting today from Newton’s discoveries (i.e., the study of optics: color and light, laws of motion and universal gravitation, and calculus), I think we can also learn from his habits of not only sheltering in place to protect himself and others during a pandemic, but also about how he applied himself to continue being curious about the world that surrounded him, about how he was disciplined enough to produce experiments in solitude, and about how he took the time to keep logs and records of it all in his journals to help unlock the potential of himself and his discoveries. I am in awe that so much wisdom could come from one individual, let alone during a pandemic with such isolation and despair (London lost about 15 percent of its population). Reading about Newton’s history has given me hope that positive change can still come out of an era of hardship. While Newton’s example is a hard one to live up to, he was still a human being with potential just like the rest of us. He had such clarity in his life to be able to contribute to himself and the world in his time and in ours. I believe this is in part thanks to the organizational structure and unlocking potential provided by his journaling. May we all bring back that daydreaming wonder we had as children. And on that note, I’ll leave you with my favorite Newton quote. “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” - Sir Isaac Newton May you find the keys to unlock yourself to recharge and find greater peace and potential through reflect-ception with your written thoughts.
P.S. I have a special journal available for you. It includes three sections to keep you organized, focused and fulfilled. It can be used as an essential life tool to find more gratitude, evolve goals and reflect upon growth. You can find it with other books here (available for $5.99).
P.P.S. if you want to take recharging to the next level while at home, spend a half-day with this virtual retreat (free during the pandemic). This time is for you to focus on increasing your self-care, strengthening personal empowerment, finding more balance and creating a clear path ahead.