I was gifted a journal called ‘The Positive Journal’, which contains techniques backed by science for using journaling to "increase gratitude, confidence, communication, meaning and purpose". This is supposed to create a “happier, more fulfilling life” with just 5 minutes a day of practicing the techniques and exercises provided in the journal.
This book came into my life, and my full-body response to it was “YES – I want to try this!”. I had been lying in bed the night before, feeling a bit lost, un-grounded, feeling as if there was not enough ‘Me/Self’ in my current living, creating the experience of ‘Life happening and moving all around me’, and me being on a ship going along with the currents, using everything of me to simply ‘stay afloat’.
The timeline within which this internal experience was created was that of moving from South Africa, my place of temporary residence, to Panama – my future permanent home. There was a lot of moving pieces involved in this move, and I had gotten to a point of peace when I realized I could not fight or control my reality, but sometimes, when working with a lot of others and moving pieces, one must let go of the reins a little bit, and simply go with the flow – because I was trying to control every aspect of the move, and was becoming too stressed and panicked when things would not move according to how I thought was best. I really had to learn to become more ‘responsive’ to external factors instead of being the sole driving force. So instead of controlling every aspect of every individual involved, I had to let go of control, observe, monitor and watch things play out around me, and step in where needed, rolling with the punches as I would be confronted with the errors of others, the timelines of others, the abilities of others and so on, while at the same time, making sure I was doing my part to the best of my ability.
Then I finally, after months of preparation, arrive in Panama, and BOOM – my reality changes entirely! This ‘go with the flow’, ‘let things play out as I monitor and direct’ strategy or way of being – is no longer what works! For a while I didn’t realize this, and felt totally turned upside down, floating, helpless and disempowered as the moving pieces in my reality were no longer ‘working together FOR ME’, but was now the already established lives of others, into which I was stepping and placing myself, requiring me to now re-assert myself within myself as the driver/creator of my space and place within an already established household.
And this is where I am using the journal I received as a gift in this particular moment of transitioning into this new position of Self and Life creation, where it is now time for settling in, finding my feet, planting my roots. And to do this I must within it figure out and get to know intimately Who I Am, what do I want to create here, for and as myself, but also within a group. Keeping in mind, with this journal, that everything I do, I integrate into and as my own living principles, wherein, for example, I redefine the journal as I use it in order to create an outflow that is best for me. So, instead of the journal’s title “The Positive Journal’, I am re-defining it to ‘My process Journal’. And when I read the every day exercises, I make sure that I have looked at each word and defined it for myself in awareness.
For example, the first day’s exercise is to write a few lines about my “decision to work on the 40 percent happiness in my life that is under my control” (the journal suggests that the other 60 percent is genetic, and circumstantial).
So I looked at the words: ‘decision’, ‘happiness’ and ‘control’.
I have already walked a process with the word ‘decision’, and I have a base for what it really means to make a decision, what my internal experience is like when I make a decision for real, and when I make a decision with a starting point of energy, like hope, fear, judgment etc. So for me, I took a moment with myself to make this decision, clear my expectations, the rush, and the rigidity of my past experience with the word decision, and also bring in the complimentary words of ‘commitment’, ‘structure’, ‘flexibility’ and ‘flow’.
And my answer was yes, I am deciding to do this, I commit to this decision, and within that, I understand the challenges that come with making a commitment. I will structure a time to practice my commitment, but I realize that I may not always be able to do it at that time. I have a job and a dog and other people in my world and a reality that is constantly changing, so I will be flexible with myself instead of trying to rigidly stick to the time slot I have decided upon, I will instead flow with my reality and adjust along the way. There may come a time when the journal no longer serves me as well as something else, and may let it go for a bit and take on the new thing, or the journal may serve as a stepping stone to get me through this period, where I will move to something else, and perhaps only use the journal when I require some grounding and direction. In this, I see a decision is not a once-off thing, but something that must be decided upon again and again. Sometimes a re-assessment is needed, and the decision changes, it all depends on Self, one’s reason and starting point for making the decision.
For the word ‘happiness’ - for me this is not a useful word as how I had previously defined it, where ‘happiness’ is like this positive energy that one sits in. This is impractical for a plethora of reasons that is for another blog. I then looked at bundling a group of words together, such as ‘contentment’, ‘enjoyment’, ‘gratitude’, ‘fulfillment’, ‘purpose’, ‘effectiveness’ – and then placed the label of ‘happiness’ onto this bundle. But it wasn’t sitting right with me. So I decided to scratch the words ‘happiness’ and ‘positivity’ altogether, and simply call the journal ‘My Process Journal’, which includes redefining the first exercise as ‘my decision to walk this process’.
For “the 40 percent I can control” – I would like to challenge this statement, as I don’t think we are stagnant in terms of what percentage of ourselves and our lives we have ‘control’ over. I see it more as a skill that is developed and expanded upon, and not something to be limited by placing a belief upon what specific percentage we should strive to attain. And besides, life and self and one’s living and ‘control’ is too complex and dynamic to break down into clean and concise percentiles. I mean, do we measure it by time? By movements? By tasks? Already this becomes too vague and impractical, creating an opening for self-sabotage and also slight frustration and confusion within me. So, no…. just no.
For the words ‘control’ – I will also replace this word for the context, use and purpose of why I am using this journal. I will instead look at the words ‘Self-Directive Principle’ and ‘Self-Mastery’. These words are already a part of my desteni process, and so doesn’t require specific attention or to be separated out in any way here, and so I am leaving it out.
The end product of walking the process of re-defining my ‘Positive Journal’ for the first day’s exercise is:
“Write a few lines on my decision to walk this process”
- Because I know I have more potential than what I am currently living
- Because I have seen the consequences of living as the mind/continuing as I am or have been, and I would prefer to instead change and live in such a way where I CREATE, GROW, EXPAND, instead of diminish, limit and create destructive consequences.
- Because I would rather walk/stand/live as a solution for and as myself and this world, instead of not changing and doing nothing in a statement of acceptance/allowance of the way things currently are, for myself and everyone else.
- Because I cannot accept or allow the ways things currently are, within myself and in this world, and so in the end, there isn’t really a choice.