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The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed, and can’t get there, is the meanest feeling in the world.” Edgar Watson Howe

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can't sleep

image courtesy of smallbiztrends.com

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There is something incredibly wonderful about being able to fall asleep at the end of a long day.  It is a well-known fact that to operate at ones best we need between six and eight hours sleep every night. That is each and every night.  So now I have a confession to make, my sleep  deficit schedule is so far overdrawn it would take me years to bring it back into the black! I seriously envy those people who can lay their head on the pillow and be asleep in moments. (My husband being one of them).  How does this happen and why, oh why can I not do the same?  I don’t resent them being able to do this, I simply wish I could emulate them.

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I suppose, if I am honest, that I have never been what might be called a ‘good sleeper’. Even as a child I can remember laying awake for hours, making stories up in my head to while away the time until I finally would fall asleep.  As I grew older I can vividly remember hanging out of my bedroom window so that I ould look up at the night sky and picking out the constellations, depending on what time of year it was.  Of course being in the UK meant  that it was light for much longer, but the evenings and nights were beautiful all the same.   There was a peacefulness which was apparent as I gazed around and listened to the slumbering sounds of the ‘city’.   I didn’t really live ‘in’ the city but on its outskirts. We often spent the weekends strolling through Bronte country at the edge of Haworth Moor.

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The difficulty of course, is that back then I didn’t feel tired – ever! I lived on a ‘diet’ of a few hours sleep and was on the go non stop through the day, which is somewhat of a misnomer since I would be on the go day or night. Even as an adult, with a family of my own, I was never one to spend long hours sleeping.  I could bound out of bed and be working at warp speed all day without ill effect. My children often tell me now, that going ‘shopping’ with me was torture because they would need to run to keep up with me as I charged through the day.  At the time I had no idea.  Strange how these things are brought home to roost later on.

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people rushing around

image courtesy of colourbox.com

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Truthfully, it was never a problem for me because I could get everything done I needed to and have time to spare for myself, to do those things which I wouldn’t be able to if I didn’t rush around. I was  almost obsessive about filling up every moment of the day. I was a keen craft person,  constantly handling several projects at once, depending on how I felt at the time. I did tapestries, crochet projects and cross stitch to name a few. I never did get the hang of tatting though. My home is filled with framed tapestries and cross stitch works and I have a cupboard filled with crochet mats and covers of all kinds, shapes and sizes.

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Perhaps therein lies the secret. I was relaxed whilst I was doing these hobbies.  Not only was I relaxed whilst I did them, I could watch TV if I chose, have conversations with anyone  and even help the kids with their homework.  It occupied my hands but left my mind free to concentrate elsewhere.  Multi tasking became second nature, in fact I rarely thought about it being odd to juggle so many things at once. It’s only been in recent  times that ‘being present’ has brought home to me how far from that I was in those days.

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So what caused the change?  A simple car accident! I suffered no more than a simple whiplash. Let no one ever tell you a whiplash is simple. Thirteen years later and I’ve just undergone treatments which brought tears to my eyes to relieve the pain. I went from sleeping soundly, when I did go to sleep, to being unable to lay in bed comfortably at all. I lay awake by the hour, uncomfortable and unable to distract myself. My time-honoured practises to wind down, my hobbies, had been taken from me also, since my neck injury prevented me from bending my neck for any length of time at all.  It took all my energy to force myself through each working day, get the essentials done at home and try to steel myself towards that moment when I had to go to bed.  I counted sheep. I listened to meditation ‘music’ as well as the guided meditations. I bought the CD’s with the binaural beat, guaranteed to give you a good nights rest, all without any success at all. Not even the smallest degree of success. I still couldn’t relax because it was uncomfortable in bed or out, and I haven’t to this day been able to lay on my side again.

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car crash

image courtesy of annarbor.com

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My daughter jokes that I’m the only person she knows who can get out of bed and have the bed look as though no – one has been in it. I simply do not move during the night!  Is it any wonder I don’t sleep well, if I sleep at all?  It’s frustrating to say the least. I have to wait until I’m so exhausted sleep finally comes for me, broken though it will be because there are too many things the day needs to see me accomplish. “Time and Tide waits for no man” said Shakespeare.  How true. In due time I know I’ll be able to get back into a regular sleep pattern, but at present I am still struggling, and feeling frustrated with myself. It does help with the writing though!

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It’s now well and truly daylight. I’ve watched the sun come up, which in itself is a treat. I’ve watched my bush pheasant scuttle across my garden, the doves playing at the pool’s edge and the heron take a few drinks from the pool since the dam had finally dried up.  I’m very lucky there are some benefits to my sleeplessness, although I will gladly come to an accommodation so that I can see my early morning treats and still get sufficient sleep to prevent me from turning into  sleep deprived zombie each day!  So off I go to snooze a little, and then hit the day at a run – hopefully. Journal time first thugh!  Have a glorious day – it certainly looks like it will be from this vantage point.

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at peace with oneself

image courtesy of personaldevelopment123.net

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“Time is the reef upon which all our frail mystic ships are wrecked”
Sir Noel Coward Blithe Spirit

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“Sometime in your life you will go on a journey.
It will be the longest journey you have ever taken.
It is the journey to find yourself.”

Katherine Sharp Simple Abundance

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magic journal

image courtesy of ancientchildren.com

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Theres no denying, the path to self discovery is full of half filled journals. Each one begun with zeal and promise and oft-times left forgotten under the press of other, more important matters.  The funny thing about journals is that they aren’t a new thing. Writing in a journal has been an occupation which has been around for hundreds of years. The main difference is that they were often called diaries back then.  Many a fair Victorian lady could be seen writing in her diary, her thoughts, her hopes, her dreams and it was a perfectly acceptable, indeed, it was a recommended pastime for a young lady.  They even date back to Roman times and were called  a ‘diurnal’.

So why have they achieved so much prominence now?  My personal view is that many people have taken the route to self discovery and recognised the value of keeping a journal. It allows you to order your thoughts, identify recurring patterns of behaviour or thoughts and allows you to express those inner most desires we often don’t wish to share with anyone else.  They also allow you a path to self discovery and improvement. Recently I completed a 30 day Gratitude Challenge wherein I kept a journal, (a Gratitude Journal) for thirty days.  We looked at the things in our daily lives for which we were grateful.  When viewed from a different perspective it is amazing to find how many things each day we can be grateful for. With the right degree of coaching (suggestions on how to look at the every day things in a different light), it is incredibly easy to find many incidental things we are grateful for, the sunny day instead of rain, the rainy day to water the garden and bring on our plants, the beautiful moon shining down on us, the help of a stranger as we struggle with our shopping, the smile from a waitress as she brings our order, the love and understanding from a husband or wife, the smile and hug from a child. The list becomes endless when you look with different eyes at the world around us.

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ladybug lavendar

image courtesy of inside919.ning.com

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However, we, my husband and I, have had so much fun doing the Gratitude Challenge that we decided to repeat it again.  We are finding more and more things we are grateful for and we are finding ourselves happier each day as we fill in our journal. We are also happier with each other because we have more things we are grateful for about each other!  A wonderful bonus! So we decided it would be even more fun to combine our journal with a personal history.  We had already decided to make a travel journal, recording each outing, however big or small, one picture to act as a memory trigger and writing about the activities and what we had appreciated about them.  In essence, what we were grateful for as a result of our experiences.

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On thinking about what we planned we decided to get a large two ring binder, not a small one since we plan on putting lots into this, and called it a “Living Journal” because it was something we were going to continue to add to throughout our lives. It would be a record of our journey, with gratitude, throughout all the countries and places we visited and recorded in our “Living Journal.”   Sounds great!  It couldn’t be any old two ring binder though. We wanted to make it something special from the outset to match the intent we had for it.

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So we went out and wandered through the craft areas of one of the local shops and gathered the supplies we thought would make this something extra special. We came home with styrofoam and wadding to make it nicely padded.  We found two different types of material to decorate it with, plus some ‘rope binding’ to divide the segments.  We also have some glitter stickers and butterflies to finish off the dressing.   We made a start this evening, getting the foam glued to the folder – and melting some in the process. We learned to be grateful it wasn’t glued to the board we rested it on!  We played around with the material deciding which pictures we might like in each ‘quadrant’ (there will be four sections front and back but not squared off or totally symmetrical since life isn’t boxed up so neatly),  and how it would be finished off with the other adornments.  I  have a feeling we may decide to add to it but that’s part of the fun.

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hand decorated journals
image courtesy of  liesel.typepad.com

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We already have a couple of small outings planned and a slightly longer holiday plus a big eightieth birthday party to attend. Dare I say it, we are almost excited to be able to start filling our journal! The wonderful thing about it is that we can simply add the pages as we like, until it is filled and then we can begin another!  We can use coloured or plain paper. We can each write what we like to add to the photo memory and add anything else which was special at that time. Perhaps an entry ticket somewhere or an information leaflet.  The list is only limited by our imagination and what we are grateful for.

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Now I’m off to bed to dream about decorating my journal,  my “Living Journal”  and,  since I feel I may want to decorate others now I have begun one, I’ll dream of the other also.  I may take lessons in how to make them really decorative and the wonderful things about it is that we can look back on it later and have the memories as fresh as the day they happened.  Lots of work and happy memories.  A “Living Journal”  – what a great idea Ray.

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happy couple in europe
image courtesy of  dexknows.com

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“The heart of marriage is memories; and if the two of you happen to have the same ones and can savor your reruns, then your marriage is a gift from the gods.”
Bill Cosby

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handmade journals

image courtesy of jonnabarnett.blogspot.com

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