“MEMORY IS THE DAIRY that we all carry with us,” said Oscar Wilde. But so many of us never record our memories, or we start diaries in January and never make them.
“The eye called the window of the soul, is the chief means whereby the understanding may most fully appreciate the infinite works of nature”-Leonardo Da Vinci.
As I drove around downtown, we were held in traffic jams. The recent article I read titled “Challenges and solutions for smart mobility in urban areas came to mind about traffic jams, long commutes, noise, and pollution are likely to escalate and new paradigms are on the horizon .”I took a mindful breath to release my frustrations and accommodate the impatience of other drivers. A few minutes later, in the corner of my eye observed the quote “paper is more patient than man” written stylishly on a signpost along the busy road. I wondered who said, “Paper is more patient than man,” and mused this for the rest of my journey as a therapist. What people keep in their brains tells you about the owner’s character, right? At the next traffic light, it came from my subconscious mind that it was Anne Frank’s quote! Some people are quote people- they collect inspirational quotes like you might collect plastic bags full of other plastic bags under the sink. My escape from my echo chamber inadvertently ended up in a journaling workshop, and I thought to myself, Lord, where do I find the time for journaling in my busy Life? We all have 16 hours daily, assuming most of us get 8 hours of non-negotiable sleep. The sarcasm in my tone was apparent in my conservation with the therapist facilitating the workshop. At the end of the meeting, she graciously handed me a fascinating book titled “Remarkable Diaries,” out of the 700,000 books in the vault of the Library. This quote came to mind “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one”. According to psychologist Dr. Lieberman, “Writing seems to help the brain regulate emotion unintentionally. Whether writing things down in a diary, writing bad poetry, or making up song lyrics that should never be played on the radio, it seems to help people emotionally.” I should self-experiment with Journaling and find out if a paper is more patient than a man!
“A naturalist ought to acquire the habit of writing very copious notes, not all for publication, but as a guide for himself.”- Charles Darwin.
The Sun shone brightly through the beautiful blue sky into the basement building through my lattice, and the scene looked so beautiful that my heart melted away; as I started to journal, the strong smell of coffee kept me awake as it diffused into the room. I had writer’s block after writing a few words. I took a short break looking for inspiration. The “Remarkable Diaries” came to mind, so I picked it from the pile of books on the floor, looking for inspiration from great writers and poets. It felt so heavy that I had to carry it with both hands. The smell of the book transported me back in time, and I witnessed everyday Life and significant moments in history. Out of curiosity, I started reading, and it was fascinating to understand some diaries reveal the beginnings of a scientific system, such as Carl Linnaeus. Some were written to be read widely; others were private. Many were hidden, censored, or cut. Some mark extraordinary heroism and bravery, such as Charlotte forten Grimke’s notebook. Other provides fascinating insights into great minds. On June 12, 1942, Anne Frank, a young Dutch German Jewish girl Living in Amsterdam, received a present –an autographed book. It was her 13th Birthday, and she had chosen the dairy from a Local Shop.
It’s a good idea to get my daughter a diary for her 13th Birthday, but she prefers electronic dairy! I continued reading. When Anne started her journal, there were already severe restrictions on Jewish inhabitants of Amsterdam, but her early entries revel in birthday parties and Ping-Pong clubs. “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you,” Anne wrote. But within weeks, the family had to hide in a secret annex in her father’s office, where she wrote her diary until the Nazis found the family two years later. Her words became, for many, the best-known and most potent journal, an unforgettable voice of one of the six million who died in the Holocaust. Kate Williams wrote Diaries ate among our greatest historical treasures- they bring a place, a person, the world to Life. They are invaluable for historians, literature students, sociologists, and scientists. Through times of considerable change, upheaval, or suffering, people keep writing to save themselves, to know they are still present, not alone. At its best, As Anne Frank proved, the diary reveals the triumph of the human Spirit.
The Diary or Journal is the most democratic form of Writing. In the hands of professional authors, it has become a well-established literary genre, but it is open to anyone with a bare literacy record of their Life. Justifying his voluminous dairy, the 19th century British Clergyman Francs Kilvert wrote that it seemed “a pity that even such a humble and uneventful life as mine should pass away without some such record.’ Keeping a record or journal means taking a stand against the passing of time, which sweeps all passing thoughts, emotions, events, and experiences into oblivion. It also opposes dishonesty- the frank opinions and feeling jotted down in the heat of the moment providing evidence against later false memories or re-invention of the past to which everyone is prone. A diary is both a private document and a literacy experiment. There is no clear-cut distinction between purely personal musings and diaries written with an eye to possible future publication. Journals are reported to be read, if only by their authors, in the years to come. Most readers would agree with French Author Maurice Blanchot: “the truth of the journal does not lie in the interesting and literary remarks to be found in it, but in the insignificant details that tie to everyday reality.” People have often started to keep a diary in response to significant events, such as political upheaval or the outbreak of war. Some diarists, whether bystanders at a royal court or soldiers fighting in the trenches are conscious of their responsibility as eyewitnesses producing the first draft of history. Many writers have used letters alongside or instead of diaries to record the minutiae of their everyday lives and explore their musings. Letters, notebooks, memoirs, journals, and diaries form a distinctive strand of “personal writing”- immediate, spontaneous, and open of form- that admits both the trivial and the serious, replicating the jumble of unfiltered experience characteristic of Life.
Let’s look are the benefits of Journaling. Should you decide to put pen to paper like Anne Frank!
“When I write, I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived!”- Anne Frank.
- Emotional Catharsis: Journaling can be an effective tool for emotional catharsis, allowing individuals to express their feelings and emotions in a safe and private space. By putting their thoughts and feelings down on paper, individuals can gain insight into their emotions and work through them in a more structured and intentional way.
- Self-reflection: Journaling allows you to reflect on your thoughts, actions, and experiences.
- Improved mental health: Journaling has been linked to reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as improved mood and overall mental health
- Increased self-awareness: by regularly journaling, you may become more aware of your values, beliefs, and goals.
- Better problem-solving: Writing about challenges or problems in your Life can help you clarify your thoughts and come up with solutions
- Enhanced creativity: Journaling can help you tap into your creative side by allowing you to explore your thoughts and ideas in a free and unstructured way.
- Improved memory and cognitive function: Regular Journaling has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function and increase overall brain activity.
While Journaling may seem like a time-consuming task, it is a worthwhile investment in one’s personal growth and development. It is a way to document one’s Life, thoughts, and experiences and leave a legacy for future generations!
“A wish to record the passing events of my Life, which, even if relatively unimportant to others, naturally possess a great interest to myself, and of which it will be pleasant to have some remembrance, has induced me to commence this journal. I feel that keeping a diary will be friendly and profitable employment of my leisure hours and will afford me much pleasure after years by recalling to my mind the memories of other days, thoughts of much-loved friends from whom I may be separated, with whom I now pass many hours, in taking delightful walks, and holding “sweet converse”; the exciting books that I read; and different people, places, and things that I am permitted to see. Besides this, it will doubtless enable me to judge the growth and improvement of my mind from year to year.
- CHARLOTTE FORTEN GRIMKE IN HER DIARY, MAY 1854
“Jesus Christ!” I am free to take a line, walk, and spend my time with those who matter.”
ME IN MY DAIRY, APRIL 1, 2023″
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Thanks for sharing!