Journaling for the New Year

January 19, 2022 Deborah Wilbrink

Minister Diane Dowgiert offers thoughts about the use of journaling as we reflect, transition, and plan for the New Year:

The month of January is named for the Roman god Janus. Depicted with two heads, Janus looks both forward and backward, to the future and the past. He is also known as the god of beginnings and endings, of gates, doorways, and transitions.

Janus

Janus looked into the past and future. Dreamstime Stock Photo.

One of my cherished January rituals is doing a thorough review of the year that just passed. I go back through my journals month by month and make notes about events that stand out along with the peaks and valleys of my spiritual/emotional journey. It always helps to put the year in perspective. From the distance of time, I can appreciate the challenges met, insights gained, and all the ways I’ve grown and changed–and give myself a high-five.

I have been especially grateful for this practice these past couple of years. Not only do I have a record of my personal journey, but a chronicle of events that changed the world in which we all live. Our world is radically different than it was two years ago. Not just because of COVID, but because of political upheaval, raging hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires, and the social unrest caused by entrenched racism and white supremacy.

We’ve been through a lot of change.

William Bridges, a preeminent authority on change and transition, noted that

“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational: the new site, the new boss, the new team roles, the new policy. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external, transition is internal.”

Paradoxically, looking back is what makes it possible to look forward; doing the internal work of transition. Looking back makes it possible to let go of old ways of being in order to cast a future vision and move forward with intention…

I go back through my journals month by month and make notes about events that stand out along with the peaks and valleys of my spiritual/emotional journey. – Rev. Diane Dowgiert

January is a time of endings and beginnings, a time of openings and passages, a time for walking through gates and doorways to new possibilities. My hope for each of you in this season is that you pay attention to your transitions, the internal responses, and shifts happening in you as you navigate change. And, give yourself a high-five!

May this new year unfold with new hope and new visions for the future.

Rev. Diane Dowgiert, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, excerpted from her “Mid-Weekly Message”, Jan. 5 2022, with permission.

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“The Best Book is Your Own Story.”
Deborah Wilbrink

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