Sometimes I get stuck in what I call "stinking thinking."
Does that ever happen to you? The days when all you do is ruminate on only the things that are terrible in the world. Recently I was looking over all the journals I had kept pretty much every year since high school. Some were beautiful and leatherbound and others were plain, ordinary composition notebooks. But the theme was consistent in all of them: they were full of stinking thinking.
I don't know why I had been saving them. Maybe I thought they would inspire me in some way. But mostly they were the opposite as they were the dumping place for all things heavy on my heart. After reading the book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, I knew the journals had to go. If you haven't read the book, here's the key message: don't let your stuff become a burden to yourself or others. That pile of journals was already a heavy weight to me and I was ready to let them go.
It took me weeks to shred all of them. But after they were gone, it felt like a deep sigh had enveloped my heart. I had freed up something -- now there was a place for new possibilities or simply nothing at all. In the difficult moments, It felt good to dump thoughts into those stinking thinking journals but it felt even better to let them go. Afterward, I kept only one journal that was markedly different than the others. For lack of a better word, I called it "The Good Things Journal."
If you saw it, you wouldn't think it was anything life-changing. This is the place where I put, well obviously, only good things. It holds beautiful quotes, scripture, tiny drawings, fun stories, memories of holidays, and milestone family connections. In a word, it is pure beauty for the soul to me. It's almost like the best version of me that is written personally to me.
When I am having a bad day or feel fragile in my heart, I pick up The Good Things Journal. I go to it when I need to change the channel on my thinking. Reading back over those words reminds me of the good things I've already known and that there are more good things to come. I still keep a daily rant journal to dump all the less-than-beautiful thoughts. And when that gets full, it gets gone. But the Good Things Journal will be kept forever. It's my keepsake of life's best and to remember there are good things on the way.
What about you? How do you stay reminded of the good things?
It's easy to allow garbage to take up residence in our hearts, but it's a fight to keep focused on the good. My encouragement is to have a strategy for dumping the stinking thinking, but also a way to let it go. Maybe a good things journal is not your style. Find your own way to remember the good. And if you don't have a good things strategy, why not give mine a try? Jim Rohn, a famous author, speaker, and entrepreneur, once said, "A life worth living is a life worth recording." In whatever suits your style: scrapbooks, gratitude journals, photo collages, or recordings of audio stories. Consider capturing the very best of your life if nothing more than to remind you that you are living a life worth capturing.
The Good Things Are There For All of Us, We Simply Need to Be Reminded