Writing as reflection
Recently a friend and I discussed religion and spirituality; it wasn’t anything heavy, we were working out in the gym. Without giving it a nanosecond of thought, I spoke. (If you know me in my personal life, you’ve seen me speak a million times without giving a nanosecond of thought.) I surprised myself with what I said, and I've continued thinking about it. Here it is:
Regardless of your relationship with religion or spirituality, every single one of us can benefit from more active reflection.
With Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up, be prepared for the influx of #thankful and #blessed pictures, thoughts, prayers. There's nothing inherently wrong with these. I simply wonder at the speedy way we cycle through these thoughts.
I've been writing since I was a kid. I had a Secret Garden diary with a little gold lock on it, and sometimes I wrote in it with thick, colored gel pens. If I'd had a brother, he could have picked that lock in no time flat. Luckily my sister is 4 years younger, and by the time she knew what a diary was, I had moved on from my fifth-grade crushes.
I don't go back and read my journals very often. When I do, I’m always surprised that I’ve mostly forgotten any particular moment. Those pages, and any pages I've written since, serve as a reflection of who I was at that moment. A picture or outfit or tv show or memory may reflect parts of me, but writing would let me be entirely myself for a moment, outside of any other constructs. In my journals, I could be sensitive or joyous or sentimental, despite my outward personality. I could rage and complain about things that aren’t really worth it - and that's the point. Without realizing it for many years, writing had become my reflection.
Writing lets me pick up an idea, examine it, try it on from different angles. Writing helps me celebrate and remember something small, a fleeting moment or victory, and writing helps me forget about things I regret or can't seem to shrug off. The act of writing, that word, that sentence, that paragraph, embodies how I feel as I write it out.
Once I’ve written these ideas, I can move on from that moment, and move more gracefully into another. For me, that's the power of reflecting.
With the holidays bursting at the seams, take time to reflect for just a few minutes. It shouldn’t be something on your to-do list. It should be an activity that feels easy and welcoming for you, whether it's writing, doing something creative, meditating, or simply staring out the window with a good cup of tea. Use your reflection to decide who and what you’re thankful for, what you want to add or remove from your life, and what attitude you want to cultivate.
Besides, in just a few short weeks, it’s time to debut your New Year’s resolutions. Now go enjoy that turkey and pie!