Thursday, 16 January 2014

What did I learn from keeping a diary in 2013?

I kept a diary last year. It is so small it fits in my handbag.

 My aims were to:
  • create a sense of continuity in a busy life, in a fragmented world; 
  • understand the pattern of my life; 
  • use it for practical reasons. 

I wanted to learn about being in health, in today’s world. I recall my years of chronic illness and that experience is, I know, slightly different: there is more limit in the range of experiences, more time to maintain continuity, to read and pray!

My findings are:

a) Hundreds or thousands of totally unconnected things happen in a year, on many levels, separate things running at the same time. One challenge after another comes from all angles and we must solve them all -  if we can, with God's help and wisdom. These challenges involve work, creativity, people, money, exploration, travel, particularly if one is working.
b) Major world events and politics, in general, impact one's inner life, but more so in winter.
c) The pattern of our life is determined by seasons. One should live and plan, with one eye on the seasons. It is true that "there is a season for everything" (Ecclesiastes)
d) The period January-April tends to lack high points, so can be used for short projects.
e) June is the month for family events and parties; July is for touring England as we have most sunshine then and less rain than in June; August is the month of wider adventures...exciting travel, if we can afford it.
f) September is a very active month with innate energy, lots happening. Treat it as the start of the year!
g) Early December is manic - better advance planning is required to offset it.
h) Holding modern life together is a feat, taking up one’s whole being, energy, health. One works, earns, eats, sleeps and tends oneself to accomplish this.
i) Life is a mingled but incredibly rich 'skein' of hard work, creativity, routine, stress, pain, meals, moments of 'silver' and rare moments of unadulterated 'gold' which entail pure pleasantness.
j) There are about five or six 'golden moments' lasting about an hour or no more than five in a year. Precious to identify and keep them in the heart...
k) 'Golden moments' come when we are not expecting them from loved ones, creativity, meeting new people, exploration in all its ways, days out, views, gardening, wildlife, reading a superb book, a film, spring, Christmas, family history coming together in a satisfying way…..
l) Physical pain evaporates. One cannot remember a pain or ailment (or its cause) even six months later, even if you write about it at the time.
m) Shock, stress and memorable pain comes from the illnesses and pain of others, particularly if they change character, or there is a lasting mental illness, which can be a kind of bereavement.
n) Habits are hard to change.
p) Without some major decision or work pressure, one’s life pattern does not change much, in a year, except for habits in relation to saving money.  One can change spending habits overnight!
q) One does not note down spiritual learning, but events, in a regular diary. Spiritual learning has its own internal, unwritten memory and direction, which is indelible.
r) Spiritual reality does not evaporate like pain and minor discomforts and comforts, and it can massively expand in a short time of pain or marginalisation, which add seriousness, depth and quality to one's character and understanding.

No comments:

Post a Comment