The habit of keeping a journal cannot be overstated. Research has proven it to be an incredible tool for self-reflection, perhaps even more so than psychotherapy and meditation.
2 years ago I went to a silent retreat in Wapse, NL. I went there to spend time on my own, reading and writing in silence. I brought my journal, and I even brought an extra one just in case I would write so much I’d fill the first. As it turns out, I did finish it and as I transitioned from one book full of thoughts, insights, ideas, dreams and memories to an empty one, a wonderful feeling of blank slate came over me.
I was given the opportunity to start anew with more original thought, fresh ideas and memories waiting to be lived and recorded. I felt very satisfied leaving the old notebook behind and in true minimalist spirit I considered throwing the old journal away, maybe even burning it in a ceremonial blaze of glory!
Before embarking on such an endeavor I decided to read the old journal once more. While reading it became apparent how many unfinished thoughts and underdeveloped ideas these pages of life contained. Most probably this meant that all my old journals had the same kind of scribbles, smelling of underlying wisdom yet to bloom fully. When I came back to civilization, I looked through my old notebooks. I noticed that because I had not carried these unfinished thoughts forward, I had sometimes reached the same conclusion (albeit in different ways) over and over again.
I believe I am posed with the challenges needed for me to learn certain lessons in life. If I fail to take wisdom from an event, the challenge will manifest again in different form, and I will be playing out the same pattern over and over in my life until I learn the lesson I need to move on. Experiencing true “flow” is when I constantly move forward because of taking full learning from every challenge and integrating said learning in my life.
This was the moment a new idea started to form: The Notebook-Harvest!
Whenever a journal is “finished” I will go through it again and take all these unfinished thoughts and record them in the new empty journal so I can take them with me in my consciousness and develop them further.
After a full year I can say that this has really helped me to keep developing my thoughts, internalize the arising wisdom without anything falling back into my subconscious.
Here are the steps:
1. Fill a journal with all your amazing thoughts, reflections and ideas.
2. Read it through and underline/highlight the wisdom you want to develop/internalize further.
3. Record your findings in the first few pages of your new journal.
4. Expand the thoughts further in the coming weeks as you fill the new journal with more magic.
5. (Optional) Burn the old journal in a ritual of your choice, freeing your mind to think anew.