“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
I was shopping today, standing in the aisle and routinely packing groceries in my basket. No need for thinking. Then I went home, the same route I take every single day. I sat down to work just the same as the day before. How long can I take this? The prospect that I need to stick to this schedule at least until my kids of eight and six live at home. Dreadful.
Where is the wonder, the secret of life I was dreaming about as a small kid?
You may object and remind me to make an effort to look for miracles so that they can reveal themselves—I’m quite familiar with Einstein’s quote and the advice you get from self-help books. But still, there are those days that drag me down to the pit of routine. How can I keep my spirits up? What’s the key to enduring the everyday life?
My method for coping with such a situation is to write, focusing on my everyday life: the repetitive, mundane days I experience over and over. Focused writing is a simple, active learning tool I’ve used for more than 10 years now.
Benefits of writing a journal with a focus
Active – A diary is a follow-up of what happens, it’s a passive recording of experiences. What if I focus on myself today? What if my focus today is the pain the everyday life causes as I explore my feelings, thoughts and reactions with regard to this topic? I chose my focus, so I play an active role giving attention to this aspect of my life.
Educational – I explored my feelings of desperation and thoughts of self-pity, my need for sensation and change. Writing them down sharpened my attention to notice them the next time they would arise.
Self-development – Through capturing these volatile thoughts, emotions in letters, I got to know myself better: I identified areas where I could break out from routine. Focused writing is my support tool to change my life.
Writing did help, but it isn’t an instant remedy. My present state is still deep in the pit, I must admit. I have not figured it out, can’t give you ready answers. As always, my writing about it raised questions I now would like to share with you. Having the answers is not a prerequisite to being able to ask questions, is it? Besides, the answers to the questions I pose are unique to each of you. So join me, try focused writing on this topic.
Focus questions for journaling about the everyday life
- What does my everyday life look like?
- What do and don’t I like about my everyday life?
- How does routine affect me? What advantages and disadvantages does it provide for me?
- What kind of changes do I long for in my everyday life? What changes can or do I create for myself?
First I called my repetitive, mundane days the “slow murderers” in my notes. I soon get used to the routine and get laid back. Easy enough and a proven survival method.
But how will I feel when I see my kids doing the same? A clue just found through my writing to ascend from my pit of routine and be open to changes and miracles.
Orsolya Hernold is the writer of orzola.org, a blog dedicated to personal development by journaling, to experience how focused writing creates conscious living. She has written journals for over 20 years, but only recently started to share her experiences. Orsolya offers topics, questions to explore by writing, daily focuses to create the habit of journaling. Follow her by subscribing at orzola.org, or on twitter.