Craft By Zen

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Journal of Self-Evaluation

I’ve been journaling more four years, one entry a day. I’ve skipped a few days here or there, but I go back and fill them in. The entries capture my daily mood, or current obsession, or the thing that’s been worrying me. Sometimes, I go back to some old entries and reflect upon myself of where I was a year ago, two years ago, or perhaps just last week. That window is a primary source of information, and not jumbled by my own bias of how I want to reconstruct the past. I’ve surprised myself many times before when I read these entries because I’ve reconstructed my memories of how I’ve felt, like we all do, glamorizing the pleasurable moments and hiding from our darkness.

These entries were always free form, sometimes filled with art, or rants about politics, or quotes I really like from a book I’m reading. Two weeks ago, I decided to take a break from this free form method and experiment with a Q&A format where I would ask myself a series of questions, like “What are you grateful for?”, “What would you do differently?”, and “What do you anticipate for today?”. Here’s a glimpse into some of those entries.

July 27th, 2015

What am I grateful for?

I’m grateful I was able to exercise this morning and that I remembered, even though I was late, to text my cousin “Happy Birthday”.

For those who really matter to me in life, I’ve tried to reach out to them on their birthday. It’s these little things in life that I cherish the most.

July 30th, 2015

Anything you’d do differently?

Don’t drunk order chicken wings at my local pizza restaurant — terrible wings. Also, don’t hesitate to go to the waiter and ask where your order is.

First, don’t get drunk on a Wednesday night. I was working the next day and had regrets the next morning. Secondly, the drunk mindset makes things up, like thinking the the food staff takes thirty minutes to make six chicken wings when in fact, the order was up and I just didn’t pester the waiter about where my food was.

August 6th, 2015

What could you take what you learned this week and apply it to the next week?

Start writing earlier and not be so hung up by the menial things. The little concerns I have throughout the day doesn’t mean much, so I should take the time to practice mindfulness.

That’s well said. Although contrary to the initial piece of advice, I’m writing this after work on Monday night when I should have finished this piece of writing the night before. But, as the second sentence says, I’m not sweating it.

Looking back at these entries, they’re more legible and start to tell a story about the day and sets the mood for what I was feeling. Over the years, I’ve learned that’s what I gain from writing everyday, an insight into my past behaviors, connecting dots of how the larger picture looks.

Do you keep a journal? Do you write everyday? Do you ever go back and read what you wrote?