“I’ve been like a balloon in a storm for twenty-one years, and finally I’ve set down!”
– How it works: Journal pages and Daily Check Sheets
– Additional pages: Alter descriptions, DAAA, to-do’s, scribbles, art pages, meditation help.
– Finishing a “Chapter”
I really love my Journal/Notebook – the one I wrote about here, and will write more about now….
This notebook/journal has been amazingly empowering! It helps me compensate for my fractured mind, and helps me track thoughts that I otherwise lose track of, so I can actually develop ideas and follow through on them. It is such a relief!
To review: I use a timer every 30 minutes (Yes, I know it seems crazy, but it works for me and sometimes I absolutely love it) every day to make me stop, remember what I’ve done for the last 30 minutes, write it down so I can remember later (otherwise, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t), breathe deeply, remember not to move too fast, say any necessary prayers, acknowledge things I have to be grateful for, and make sure I’m on track for what I want to do.
The Journal Pages I write on require me to write the date (many times a day), day of the week, phase of the moon, time, page number, and a code just before the writing lines to indicate journaling, activities, dreams, meditation/prayers, summaries (more about this later), and planning (J, A, D, M, S, or P) – so I can find things later more easily.
I drew these pages by hand (I like the look and feel, and it reminds me it’s my idea) and every so often I make thirty copies, hole-punch them, and put them in my notebook. Today, after almost 2 months, I’m on page 173. A moveable paperclip marks the current page and is easy to read through.
Daily Check List
As soon as I began using this Notebook/Journal, I realized I needed a Daily Check List to help me do a number of things that I have intended for years to do more consistently, but just haven’t been able to, as all my alters aren’t equally on board, I guess. My checklist I did design on the computer, maybe because it was the sort of task enjoyed by my business woman alter – and I suspected I’d be updating it, and it was long. On the top of each page, I fill in the date, day of the week, phase of the moon, and maybe a note at top to identify any specialness that day, such as a big community event or waking to a big rain.
The first line of the Daily Check List is for noting the hours I slept and how I feel. The second line is to note whether I remembered any dreams (which would be detailed in my journal pages) and first thoughts of the day. If I forget to remember my dreams, I have to acknowledge that, which helps me be more conscious the next morning. And if I’m wondering how I’ve done on that count for the past while, I can see it at a glance by flipping through these pages.
Third, I note the time I meditated, prayed, or sat listening that day, and add a page number for reading details.
Fourth, I note the time I first set the timer for the day. Sometimes I don’t set it at all, but usually I’m happiest when I set it for the whole day, and let it bring me back to record the route of my wandering consciousness, and remember that I’m taking control of my own mind – which makes me feel proud a couple dozen times a day!
Fifth, I note whether I took my supplements that day. Sixth, I note what vegetables and fruit I ate, and any junk.
Seventh, I note what exercise I got that day. Eighth, I note whether I was out in the sun, which is always good for me, especially for Vitamin D.
Finally, ninth and tenth, I write down my accomplishments of the day and next goals.
Some days, there are blanks, but I don’t kick myself for it. More and more, I’m feeling very pleased by myself.
Not only have I pinpointed problems, tested and brainstormed my own solutions, and documented progress on practical goals, but I’ve made progress on important philosophical questions that help me put a framework on my situation that helps me understand and break down some psychological hurdles that have kept me in some trenches for decades.
I can’t say I’m out of the trenches, but one evening, with the help of my journal and all the record-keeping that has flowed out of it (yes, there’s a bit more to share), I was able to state some important truths for the very first time and after Greg and I had discussed them, I cried, “I’ve been like a balloon in a storm for twenty-one years, and finally I’ve set down!”
While the current page of the Daily Check Sheets is the first page when opening the notebook (where it’s easiest to read and write on all day long), and the Journal Pages are next, after those sections are a few others: “Alters,” for recording information on various alters (which I’ve previously forgotten or ignored! – now each having their own pages or a few, hopefully to keep growing as I understand better and integrate or heal them more completely), a To-Do list (to be integrated into my calendar or written about at the computer as Spirit moves), art pages, Meditation Help/ideas, and a chart I designed and call “DAAA,” for recording Dreams/sleep, Anomalies, Activities/accomplishments, Alters/helpers, and other important notes for each day.
I created the DAAA template (which I copy every week or so) with columns (hand-drawn) across two pages. Horizontal rows are drawn in after recording each day, so I can conserve paper when little happened, and I can use all the space I need when a lot happens. I usually can get a week or ten days summarized on a two-page spread.
This lets me look more easily for any patterns between sleep/dreams, moon phases, energy levels, anomalies, my activities, alters who’ve emerged, etc. In the past, there has often seemed little correlation, except that anomalies have often been accompanied by exhaustion – but not always; sometimes it seems the controllers give me the equivalent of a “vitamin shot,” and after a weird night, I race around with energy to spare. This chart serves my curiosity about this, and will hopefully help me understand what all goes on.
I’ll probably redesign my pages in order to track things in a different manner now and then. And anyone who likes this idea should think about how their mind works (or doesn’t) and what sort of compensation they need, and design accordingly.
Finishing a Chapter
When I was on journal page number 109, my notebook was beginning to be difficult to open and close the rings, and coincidentally I realized I was feeling at a point of completion in one area of my life – time to close a chapter! I pulled all the pages out that had been written on (except for alter pages which probably will stay for a long time in my main notebook, until there’s some completion with them), and I put the “first chapter” of this healing phase in a notebook on the shelf. In the mostly empty original notebook, I still had the templates, Alter pages, Meditation Help, and unused Journal Pages and Daily Check Lists. I numbered the next Journal Page “110,” and kept right on going, with a sense of something important completed and very well documented – and a new chapter being written, by me, directed by me, my mind and life – documentably – under my control.