August Journal

What I learned from keeping a journal last month was that it’s really important to record the good and delightful things that go on  in my life.  August is rarely a good month for me.  I don’t like hot weather and it leaves me drained.  I had a lot of health and financial problems (nothing new).  I had deadlines, strained family situations, and too many moments of feeling powerless and unproductive.  Those things are noted in the journal, but the overwhelming feeling from looking back through my writings and drawings is  one of contentment. 

Dinner with friends, little notes from my husband, great feedback on my stories and art.  Even though it was hot during the day, in the evening it was coolish and I went to free concerts the park.  I played with new colors and taught a drawing class.  I drew kids in the neighborhood and read good books.

I was slightly astonished to find so much color and happiness in August.  Left to my own immediate memories, it seemed like a long, hot and difficult month. I would have forgotten so much of the goodness in my daily life if I had not made the effort to be more observant and outwardly focused.  I don’t want to ignore the troubles and hurts in my life, but I definitely want to give equal time to the good things. 

My brain is not set up to remember the good.  My memory clamps onto trouble and sorrow.  It’s a bit of fight or flight mentality, but also a witness and try to fix it ethic.  Nothing wrong with that, but if I only focus on the troubles, I give them more power over me than is good for me.    So with my journal, I try to make sure I record things about nature and the little pleasures of life. 

For years, I’ve been keeping two journals, one small paper one I carry around, another big one I write in at my desk.  The last two months I’ve gotten a sturdier 9×6″ ones that are easy to carry around.  I got a little watercolor compact and water brush to carry around, too.  In August, I wrote and drew and painted a lot in my journal.  It was effortless, therefore I expected when I re-read it, to find more depression.  Instead, depression only had its proper proportion in the mix, and so did delight.  I may have finally  broken through the learning phase — instead of trying to cultivate delight, it may have taken root and become a perennial part of  my vision.  May I never forget or take for granted my own riches.

Here’s some pages from August, the good, the bad, the scribbled, the misspelled and the peculiar:

Bad day
Morning at the Columbia Gorge
Showing materials at drawing class
Rejection?What rejection? I was already onto the next idea
Migraine Flash

I tape in things I write from notepads.  Remove the butterfly sticker and there are 3 more pages

Kenton Park Tree
Rose Garden
Sinus Headache

Good Medicine
Note from Jim
Soon all will change

Vonnegut quote — complete with mistake

“Be soft.  Do not let the world make you hard.  Do not let pain make you hate.  Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness.  Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful  place.”  Kurt Vonnegut.

If Vonnegut could be soft, so can I.

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6 thoughts on “August Journal

  1. Wow! Will start with the last first – the Vonnegut quote is wonderful.
    What a great idea to do a recap of the month. I will take more time and go through it slowly – but I really like it!

  2. You gave me lots to think about. Once again 🙂 I journal, but often it's just the stuff I don't want to burden others with. I forget to include the great things. Not anymore. Thanks, Joy! (Btw, I very much like “Bad Day”.)

  3. I always appreciate your feedback. I think it's important to have a place to express what I don't want tot burden others with, but the good things are often more fun to re-read. Thanks!

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