Unread books

Dear Fellow Journalers,

How many unread books are on your bookshelf? Do you have a wish list on Good Reads or on an e-reader? Stop worrying! You have an Antilibrary.

Umberto Eco writes that “read books are far less valuable than unread ones.” The theory is based on the idea that knowing what we don’t know is more important than knowing what we do.

If  you have  growing library of books that you haven’t read yet don’t despair. Don’t feel as though there’s a giant time clock somewhere that ticks away your reading minutes. Having unread books means that you’re interested in new information. It means you have a healthy curiosity. It means you’re a person who cares about your life.

My list of self-care unread books include the following:

“If I understood you, would I have this look on my face?” by Alan Alda

“The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls

“Be in a Treehouse” by Pete Nelson

“Rising Strong” by Brene Brown

“The Culper Ring” Charles Rivers Editors

“The Bookshop of Yesterdays” by Amy Meyerson

“We need to talk: How to have conversations that matter” by Celeste Headlee

“The Joy of Stress” by Loretta LaRoche

“Igniting the American Revolution 1773-1775” by Derek W. Beck

So what’s on your unread shelf?

~Sallie

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Self-Care Strategies

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Self-Care journaling is the ultimate self-care activity. It’s something you do for yourself. We’ve been on this journey of self-discovery for a while now (see post on mindfulness) so for those of you who have been journaling and reading this blog, some of what I am about to say will sound familiar.

When we write we tell our stories. We translate experiences to words, feelings to language, senses to thoughts. We have to be honest for this to work. Remember, we can still destroy our journals – wait! Did I just write that?? Our first great step is to breathe. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Create a sanctuary and focus.

 

Be your own best friend. Sometimes we get really down on ourselves. We reach the end of our rope and hang on waiting for someone to notice, pick us up. We cry for help and then realize that help is coming from us. When we’re writing “stream of consciousness” we need to remember to let our thoughts and feelings drift. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t correct your grammar. Don’t forget to have fun! If your journaling becomes annoying or confusing be good to yourself. Put your pen down and do something to bring joy to your life.

Thinking of you,

~Sallie

Finding Hope and Joy

Dear Fellow Journalers,

There was a survey conducted recently that showed 57% of the respondents reporting “significant stress” about negative news reporting. There’s always been negativity in the world but it seems magnified to me lately. To someone undergoing “extreme stress” (loss of job, family issues, health problems) finding hope is, forgive me, “a joke.”

In order to move forward in your life, you need a hopeful attitude and Dr. Rosalind Tompkins founder of the National Month of Hope ( April) ) says that ” finding hope in everyday challenges is the first step in creating a solution. Here are some of her tips:

  • Take a hope break.  Schedule 5 minute “hope breaks”  in your normal day. Find a quiet place and breathe in and out and think about good things happening instead of the worst scenarios.
  • Set goals. Surround yourself with happy people who believe in you.
  • Volunteer in your community or Church. Try reading to children or helping in a town-sponsored food pantry.
  • Have a chat with someone who is in need of hope.
  • Rather than “woe is me” share some hope signs from your life.

Karen Kingsbury (best-selling Christian author) wrote on her blog recently some ideas to help us.

  1. Read a book (not necessarily one of her’s!)
  2. Call a friend.
  3. Play a game with your family.
  4. Take a walk in the sunshine.
  5. Hug more.
  6. Journal (where have I heard that before??)
  7. Do one thing each day to make someone else’s life better.

Her final comments on the post were:

” Life isn’t perfect. But if we don’t determine to choose joy, we can actually lose entire seasons worrying, fretting, riddled with anxiety. Days and weeks pass with nothing but bickering to mark our moments.

CHOOSE JOY.”

Have a joy-filled day,

~Sallie

Circle

Dear Fellow Journalers,,

There’s a song recorded by the late Harry Chapin called “Circle” which has been reverberating in my brain for the last several days and I’d like to tell you why.

During the Watergate years in American history (1970’s) the US was in turmoil. As more and more revelations came to light, discussions and arguments arose from dinner tables to the public arena. In those days, the internet and social media was non-existent, but the disturbing “unknown sources” and newscasters’ comments were still biased. Impeachment was the word of the day. After the whole incident left the world stage, in 1974 Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s book “All the President’s Men” was published. The book (later a movie) was read by thousands including me. It detailed the whole sordid story which made for fascinating reading.

Now I know you’re wondering how all this pertains to journaling. Well, it seems to me, that given the political climate of our country and the world today, we’re ripe for another disaster. I have now resorted to watching the evening news just long enough to get the bullet points. The world seems to me, to be falling apart – gang violence, disrespect for our national flag, divisions between races and genders, political and religious long-held views questioned, people wanting to tear down our past to forget (not realizing that the past is what helps forge our present and future), families divided, and finally the most insane and almost prevalent “fad”- ” I don’t like your _____ (fill in the blank) so I am going to hurt you.”

It’s time to calm down and realize that the real “us” is being torn apart. We need to re-group and get our priorities straight. We need to find hope, love and new paths to self-discovery.

Join me this month in our journey to self-discovery. In future posts we’ll talk about hope, self-care strategies, accepting ourselves and finally self-care books.

See you on the path,

~Sallie

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