I remember when I started sharing some thoughts through short journals via WhatsApp to friends and contacts, very soon I started hearing from them a question why I did not start writing a book or creating a blog. This blog was not created at that time. Some said “Someone may copy your idea (story) if you just share it freely.” I thought what I had been writing and sharing to people were more about my personal experience. How could people copy a personal experience? I think it is not possible. In the beginning very often some people asked me if they could share it to their families and contacts or not. And I always said “Sure, you can.” I let them share it in whatever way the wanted to share it. My mission was to share it to as many people as possible. And my mission stays the same until this very day.
I have no worry if someone copies my thoughts. I believe that no one can ever copy an experience. Because an experience is always individual. It is never the same. In this way I free myself from any fear or worry.
I shared with a friend on how I am so passionate on journaling. It has become my hobby for the last four years. I am writing on my 21st notebooks now. I notice that I become very particular in the notebooks and pens I am using for my writing hobby. I said to him that I spent more than USD 300 for the notebooks and pens. I am only using one brand and one particular design only for the notebooks. And the design has been discontinued. I do not like the new design. Knowing this, I hunted to several different bookstores in one day, hoping that they still had the stock of the old design. I got about 25 notebooks. I thought it would be enough for my journaling hobby for another 5 years or so.
Spending USD 300 only for notebooks and pen! My friend said that how much I paid for the stuff is the value of my happiness. ”For five years of happiness, you pay only USD 300. It is very cheap!” he said. I never thought of doing this calculation. There are so many people out there who buy their happiness with much higher price. Some might buy a brand new car, a new camera, a new smart watch or a fancy trip. All the marketing people say that you need to buy all of those stuff, because they will make you happy. Really?
He said to me “I think you don’t need a fancy trip to be happy.” In fact, I was smiling in my heart hearing this from him.
What can you see in this picture?
Someone said : “I can see a little yellow plant in a glass filled with water.” Others said : ”a hope”, “growth”, “life“ etc. It is interesting. Each one has different answer. All of the answers are right. It depends on from which point they are speaking. If we see the picture with our physical eyes, we can see a little yellow plant but if we are using the eye behind those physical eyes we might see the beauty of it, something different, something more subtle. The beauty is always hidden behind the facades. It needs the ability to capture what is hidden. It is the inner eye that can capture the beauty. Some call this inner eye as awareness, consciousness, heart, the eye of wisdom, the soul or the spirit. In fact it refers to one and same thing.
The key to happiness in life is the ability to see the beauty in small things around you using this inner eye, not the physical eyes. The physical eye only captures the gross things, but the inner eye can capture the subtle things. Beauty is experienced by the heart. Not many big things happen in life. We might not experience big success so much in our life, but there are so many little things happening in each day. Start seeing the beauty or success in small things around you, do not wait till something big to happen to be happy. Open your inner eye and fill your heart with this.
I remember when I was on a holiday, I was staying in a Greek-style hostel. It was small but very cozy. The living room was just great, It was an open space and very clean…… and the most important thing was it had no television. I really liked it. The staff was very nice and super friendly.
I found myself sitting on a cushion outdoor, enjoying the blue sky, the air and nature, relaxing and enjoying myself. Well, what is in your mind when you hear the word of holiday? no work, relaxed and having a happy time. Suddenly I realised that I had been doing nothing there except relaxing. I asked myself “Would I spend the whole holiday doing nothing and just relaxing?” I said no. I had to do something. I had to create something, not just passing the time.
I then got an idea to write journals during the rest of my holiday instead of just having a relaxing time. I thought writing journal is entertaining the mind, and also the heart. So it is a way of an internal relaxation as well. Probably we need internal relaxation more than just a relaxation for the body. I would call it as my holiday project. To give me a sense of a project, I put a number, 50 journals!
The next morning I woke up at 3 am and got shower then started writing. Morning time is the best time for writing for me. I switched off my mobile phone and kept the door and the window closed until about 9 am. I heard from my room other guests were talking out there, they might be having their breakfast. When I just switched on my mobile phone, I got a message from the reception. He wondered how I was. He reminded me to have my breakfast. I smiled. He might be thinking of me being unconscious in the room. He is really a kind-hearted person.
In the evening I was sitting on a cushion in front of my room, writing journals. Antonia from Germany who stayed next to my room came from rafting asked me “What are you doing?” then I shared to her how I had the project. She smiled and said “Good luck!”
It is said that knowledge is power. You might have heard this many times. But how do you experience this practically in your life? You might have read so many books with great advice to become a better person. You might have attended seminars, trainings and workshops and that you felt so inspired. You were inspired to make a change. You really wanted to make a change in you. But, do you experience that a change is easy? Is it to change yourself easy? I think a change is difficult. You might reflect on yourself after sometimes and ask yourself “have I changed? how much have I changed?” You might not see so much change in you. You wished to become a much better you, but it didn’t happen the way you wished to happen. Then, knowledge is not power yet. It doesn’t have power to change you.
Knowledge will become power when you use it to really make a change in you. To change means to change the mindset. To know is the first step and to change the mindset is the next step. Only when your mindset is changed by your new understanding, then you can say knowledge is power.
If I asked myself what lesson I have learned from journaling? Surely I got some benefits from doing this for almost 4 years consistently. It has healed my heart. It makes my mind very light, as it finishes the burden on my head. It frees me from stress. It brings clarity in my intellect. But one biggest lesson is that it teaches me how to be honest with myself. An honest journaling of my feelings and thoughts have become the biggest gift that I can give to myself.
Do you think you need to learn to be honest to yourself? We have learned to please others so much. We might seek approvals from others for what we are doing, what we are wearing,what we are eating, where we are going. We might also seek approval from other people to feel happy. Probably we have done it since childhood. We didn’t know how to create happiness in ourselves without others’ approval.
We might only realise that when we start journaling, we find it is hard to be honest. It is hard to just write your feeling and thoughts honestly. There is still fear of what others going to think about me if they read my journal or they know what was in my mind. Then we do filtering while writing about our feelings because of this fear. i remember when I was in a workshop on journalling, someone shared her experience in this, that she was afraid that her husband might read what she wrote in her journal book.
Someone has asked me how to write a journal and what to write. She said that her son wanted to start writing journal on his frustrating situation. I always share to everyone on how journaling has helped me so much, especially to heal my frustration. This has made me think of some aspects on journaling. I never learned how to write a proper journal. Basically when I am journaling, I just write what is in my heart and release the thoughts and the feelings I have in my mind and my heart. So I only could share based on my own experience.
I advised her to encourage him to write the situation that was frustrating him, as it is the background of his frustration. And then to write the feelings. And the last step is to write the expectation created in the mind before the situation happened. Because emotions in the form of anger, fear or sadness are usually caused by an unmet-expectation. You need to be very open and honest while you are journaling. Be open and honest to your self.
You will heal yourself very quickly when you do this.
We have three personalities within us. The arrogant I, the depressed I and the real I. We keep in an oscillation between the arrogant I and the depressed I most of the time. One moment we might think “I am good. I am better than other people. I know better. I am more experienced…..” and the next moment we might think “I am not valued. I am not good enough. I can’t handle this situation. I am small. I am weak….”. We are fluctuating from high to low constantly.
Pause a moment. Can you listen a voice from within you? It might be very soft. But try to listen to it. When you need to make a very important decision, you might need to decide what to do or what not to do. There might be several choices. You might need a clarity at that moment. This voice is trying to give you clarity. It is trying to help you and guide you. This voice in fact is the real you, your conscience, the wise self. It always tells you the truth. Listen to it.
So when you write your journal, make sure that you are sitting on the seat of the real I. Write what she says to you. Let her speak to the arrogant you or the depressed you. She is your wise advisor.
I have been in a continuous discussion with a friend of how to declutter our stuff and belongings for the last few years. To declutter the stuff and belongings means to select all the stuff we have, which ones to be kept and which ones to give away or throw away, and keep with us only what is necessary. It sound very easy. But in reality it is not easy……at least for both of us.
It has been continuing since we knew the principle how to declutter our stuff and belongings. We both agreed with the idea and started to practice it on our own self. To declutter the stuff is to start leading a simple life. Only have less stuff and stop buying and collecting new stuff.
To declutter is not as easy as it sounds. It involves so much emotional conflict within just to answer the question ‘Do I need this stuff? Does this stuff spark joy? Or does it give me happiness?”
Look inside your wardrobe, how many clothes do you have in it? How many clothes do you frequently wear? How many clothes you haven’t worn for years and you still kept it? How many pairs of shoes do you have? How many bags do you have? Look into your book shelf, how many books you bought and you haven’t read. Probably you have many more than you really need.
Do you think you need to declutter your stuff and belongings?
What do people collect from a trip? Experience or memories basically. Nowadays wherever people are going since they always carry smartphones with them, so they always take pictures. People collect pictures a lot in their smart phones while traveling and on their day to day life also. Everyone loves taking pictures and collecting pictures.
I was in a trip very recently. We were on a boat to Mt. Rigi in Switzerland. I was sitting next to a couple from Hongkong. We were sitting inside the boat on the first floor. As soon as everyone entered the boat, I noticed that everyone started taking pictures using each one’s smart phone, including the lady sitting next to me and including me. I reminded myself to enjoy the trip by enjoying the scenery and the atmosphere not busily taking pictures and missing the moments. So I did’t take many pictures.
When the lady was settling down next to me, she started scrolling the screen of her camera. She showed me pictures of their trip in several places in France. Beautiful pictures! Keeping photos is a good way to store the beautiful memories. And nowadays it is very easy. It doesn’t need ‘a space’ to keep. It only needs a space in your computer or gadget. I asked her “For how long will you keep the pictures with you?” She said “May be a life time”.