I hobbled into the New Year – literally.
We learn something every day they say and late on Christmas Eve, following a wonderful celebration with family, I learnt NOT to try to carry two bags of opened presents down slippery wooden steps in the dark whilst deep in thought! My resulting agonised scream brought the whole family to the top of the stairs and as I lay there I began to feel as if I’d landed a part in a soap drama. Whilst my ankle was carefully checked out by a first aider in the family, others brought pillows, duvet and comfort.
For those few seconds before the fall, life became clarified, intensified. As I started to fall backwards I thought, no, no way, not with my two slipped discs in my spine. Pitching forwards I remembered the wall at the bottom of the stairs and imagined my head smashing into the vertical obstacle. I straightened and fell, landing with my right ankle twisted beneath my body.
The enforced stillness has been an unexpected present this Christmas, time literally slowed as my usual busy self was reduced to a few painful hobbles, accepting lots of help. Now nearly fully recovered the peace is with me yet, a new inner calm.
In this spirit I turn to my first post of the year and want to write about a certain present I received prior to my fall on Christmas Eve.
The Five Year Journal is a unique form of the diary requiring only one or two sentences a day – over five years. The layout is one day listed five times on each page, each entry to be filled in one year at a time. The concept had me intrigued from the start and was a perfectly thought out present for me.
What will the five years bring for me? I see this as a time-capsule, to be re-visited…relive memories, emotions, dreams.
Already I start to consider each and every day, what made a particular impact, what was especially emotional, what comment or quotes caught my imagination. Surprisingly it’s bringing a constructive form of reflection upon each and every day, of the ramifications of my words and actions. I wonder how my entries will evolve, what I will learn.
The concept of the Five-Year Journal was originally created by Doreene Clement for the new millennium in 2000 although it has been widely copied since then. It is recommended even for people who might be writing a normal journal as this process is uniquely different in recording a flashpoint of events/emotions/thoughts of each day and later upon reading they can see and appreciate the real growth and change in their lives.
As Doreene says: ‘Time is a healer and what was once hard or unbearable can now make more sense, giving us a clearer picture. Recording and tracking our lives… can actually bring relief, clarity, joy and laughter.’
I can well imagine that with time my journal will become a source of support and thoughtful reflection of where I have been and where I am going, already it is focusing my attention on ever-present and I’m gaining a new perspective on my life!
Although I am not using any prompts from my entries it is possible to write each day in answer to specific questions or theme for that date. So far it’s so quick and easy to use and there is no room for excuses not for me to write at least these couple of sentences a day!
Have you got a Five-Year Journal? Have you ever started one or perhaps completed the journey? Would you consider buying one for yourself or a friend? What do you think of the concept? As always I look forward to comments and discussion.
“A writer is like a tuning fork: We respond when we’re struck by something. The thing is to pay attention, to be ready for radical empathy. If we empty ourselves of ourselves we’ll be able to vibrate in synchrony with something deep and powerful. If we’re lucky we’ll transmit a strong pure note, one that isn’t ours, but which passes through us. If we’re lucky, it will be a note that reverberates and expands, one that other people will hear and understand.”
― Roxana Robinson
To finish my first post of 2017 I want to share a song I personally love and which came to mind on New Year’s Eve when we sang ‘Auld Lange Syne’, bringing to mind those no longer with us.
The first loss I experienced as young was an influential young teacher who along with his wonderful writing would entertain us with his guitar playing and singing – his favourite was ‘Streets of London’ by Ralph McTell. Hearing this I always remember those childhood days, my teacher’s inspiring classes, his far too early death.