“May I suggest that you write, that you keep journals, that you express your thoughts on paper…You will bless the lives of many your families and others now and in the years to come.”Gordon B Hinckley
I pile journals around my house in little bundles hoping that a new page might inspire me to write again. University essays studying English and comparative literature cured the little girl inside who liked to buy a new pen and write “Dear Diary”. However, as I grew past my university days and remembered what it was like to explore my emotions on a page once again, I remembered the power of journaling.
It was in this season of waiting that I began a ritual that I have now done for the last 14 years at the end of each year. I sit with paper and I let go of what has been and I step into the new.
Gordon Hinckley says it perfectly above when he suggests that these words will bless the lives of many. Maybe not for the reason that he is thinking. I believe it will bless those around you because when we retreat, we process and it makes us a kinder human.
Lately, I have found myself saying “It cant be nearly December, why has the year flown by so fast” I am realising this is because the white space in our diaries and calendars are blurring with the speed of technology, life’s expectations and demands.
Retreat is the act of giving up and withdrawing or a time away in a quiet and secluded place where you can relax.
A brilliant way for you to end this year and step into the coming year is to retreat. Just as the word describes. Find ways to stop everything, turn off your phone and breathe deeply.
My latest book NEW DAYS, starts like this…
“A simple sentence has been repeating over and over in my heart lately. If we keep doing the same things we have always done and we are expecting a different result, that is insanity.”
Here are three simple ways that you can create a personal retreat for yourself in the midst of this crazy season, to find clarity and certainty waiting.
ONE: Choose a time now in your diary.
What if you blocked out an afternoon now in your diary to reflect and retreat? Often we simply don’t journal or create space in our lives for reflection because everything that is urgent presents itself above that which is important. The greatest gift of personal retreating is that you give yourself the time to breathe. This month in Kinwomen we have been focusing on the theme of certainty. It is impossible for you to find clarity and certainty about your future if you don’t create space for reflection. Why don’t you choose a time today in the future as we step into the holiday season, to pray, reflect and envision for the coming year? Even two hours. Set a planning, dreaming, envisioning session with yourself and host your own private retreat. If that is too scary, grab a girlfriend and ask whether they would like to do it with you.
TWO: Turn off everything.
Like everything? Yep, everything. Your phone. Your email. Your Television. And explore a place of quiet and contemplation. Grab a pen that you love and start to write. It is in this place of rest and reflection, that a new idea will surface. We live in a state of constant stimulation and it impacts our capacity to find perspective. The world is at our fingertips but our hearts are drowning in being overstimulated.
THREE: Start to write.
Once you have embraced the awkward space of quiet, pulled out your favourite pen and taken the time to create space for reflection. Start to write.
“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.”
A great way to help you write and reflect is to have a series of questions that guide you along the way. This is what I created my new workbook NEW DAYS with the intention for. It is a vision workbook with reflection questions to help you process the year that has passed and into the new year or season with intention. To help you reflect and dream again. It is available here to download.
It is nearly impossible to have clarity and certainty about the coming seasons, but even in the midst of change and busy times, to retreat and reenvision is an amazing life tool.
I hope your holiday season is full of much journal writing. I know that this has the capacity to truly start conversations that matter.
All my love