Saved by the journal?

Sunday Blog 15, 12 December 2021

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a funk. With the wise words of Tara Brach in my head, I thought I would seek true refuge in journalling. Not a false refuge (e.g. bingeing on Netflix, drinking wine, compulsively numbing through doing, working my way through an impossibly large to-do list) but a true refuge. My journals have been my companion for four decades now. Their pages let me wrestle with my raging emotions and detangle the knots of heartache, shame, failure, confusion.

Journals are also the place I can go to unlock a feeling of calm and wellbeing, unleashed just by the act of my pen moving across the page.

So I reached for my journal anticipating this calm, but it fell open at a 2018 entry. The paragraph my eye fell on was almost word for word what I was just about to write. The journal sucker-punched me with the realisation that I am stuck in the hamster wheel of work, spinning faster and faster but getting nowhere.

I began to laugh, then cry, then just ugly cry. Later that day I recollected I had the recently published Burnout: The Secret to Solving the Stress Cycle on my kindle. What leapt out at me was the sentence “Stress is not bad for you; being stuck is bad for you.”

Indeed. And so my journal has propelled me on this journey of discovery to find out what my life needs to look like to get off that darned hamster wheel. Stay tuned.

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