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Dear Diary…

Written by Linda on . Posted in Coaching

Have you ever heard of or written a spiritual diary?  I hadn’t until recently when I read an article in Australian Yoga Life.  I  found out that it is different from a normal diary, in that it isn’t about what you have been up to, your thoughts, aspirations and feelings.  This diary is about answering some key questions each day, questions that you have designed for yourself to help you gain more self awareness, do certain things more consistently and stop detrimental habits.

I started mine this week …  it’s so easy to do, and if you would like to join me, here’s how to get started:

Begin with a lovely, fresh, clean notebook (all those with a stationery fetish will know what I mean).  Think about the habits you want to stop, the new habits you want to start, any emotions you want to resolve or feel more often… and begin transforming them into questions.  The questions can be simple ‘Yes/No’ types, ones that call for a quick numerical answer and deeper questions also.

Here are a few of mine:

‘Yes/No’ questions:

Did I read/write something inspiring today?

Did I tell someone I love them today?

Did I practice yoga today?

Did I have fun today?

Numerical questions:

How many times did I have sugar today?

How many times did I procrastinate today?

Deeper questions:

What insights did I gain today?

What did I give to someone else today? (could be anything: time, a laugh, patience, understanding, a muffin…)

Well, I have been doing this exercise every night for a week now and it has really highlighted my sugar habit (like I didn’t know already!)  It’s funny though how writing it down makes you pay more attention to these things, and think twice before having another toffee. It has also made a difference to my very slight tendency to procrastinate I am pleased to say!

Now, the latest research says that it takes up to 40 days of conscious effort to change a habit, so here we go…onwards and upwards, as they say, let’s see what this week brings!

Do let me know how you get on if you decide to start one of your own.

 

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Comments (6)

  • Sally

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    I love this idea.

    It is a great way to focus your thoughts and give you a positive feeling of progress.

    It would make interesting future reading too.

    I also love an excuse to break into a new notebook :-)

    Thanks for sharing.

    Sally x

    Reply

    • Linda

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      Yes, I think there are many of us out there with a love of stationery, and from the emails I have received as a result of this blog, I now know there are more than I thought!

      Reply

  • Sue Burt

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    Thanks for sharing this lovely idea, Linda. And very timely as I was drawn to a very pretty note book in a shop the other day but persuaded myself that I didn’t need it….well now I do!
    I was driving this morning listening to radio 2’s Pause For Thought and heard some or questions that could be adapted for our spiritual diaries. I have managed to find a copy of the clip and included it below. I hope you, and your readers, find it as inspiring as I have. X x x

    Pause for Thought
    From Rabbi Pete Tobias, of the Liberal Synagogue, Elstree.

    We may be well into the month of August, but for those of us whose religious calendars are based on the moon, we’re at the start if a new month. For our Muslim brothers and sisters, that means the end of Ramadan, and the joyful celebration of Eid.

    For Jews it’s the month of Elul, the one immediately preceding the Jewish New Year. Our new year is a time of reflection and a promise to change and improve ourselves, and this month is meant to offer a time of preparation for that.

    We do this by asking questions about what we have done, how we have lived. Here are some questions, extracted from a reading from a Canadian rabbi called Jack Riemer which, for me, sum up what this period of reflection is meant to be about.

    Let us ask ourselves hard questions, for this is the time for truth.
    How much time did we waste in the year that is now gone?
    Was there love inside our home, or was the affectionate word left unsaid?
    Was there a real companionship with our children, or was there a living together and a growing apart?
    Were we a help to our partner, or did we take them for granted?
    The kind deed: did we perform it or postpone it?
    The unnecessary gibe: did we say it or hold it back?
    Did we deceive others?
    Did we deceive ourselves?
    Did we acquire only possessions, or did we acquire new insights as well?
    Did we fear what the crowd would say and keep quiet when we should have spoken out?
    Did we mind only our own business, or did we feel the heartbreak of others?
    Did we live right, and if not,
    Then have we learned, and will we change?

    Changing patterns of behaviour is one of the hardest things for people to do. But perhaps the way to begin the process of change is by asking ourselves questions like this, and answering them honestly.

    Reply

    • Linda

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      Thank you for sharing these questions too, there are some really good ones that make you think about the handling life’s ups and downs…

      Reply

  • Kyoko Horiguchi

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    Dear Linda,
    Today I had a really great time and thank you very much for the fun time.
    I read your blog now and decided to write a diary.
    This is really a good idea!! To stop my bad habit, as you know, smoking…

    Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy days left in Japan.
    And please don’t forget my invitation for FB!!!

    Thanks again,

    Kyoko

    Reply

    • Linda

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      Hi Kyoko
      So glad you enjoyed our time together exploring Nagoya – thank you so much for being a wonderful tour guide! I loved it!

      Reply

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