The Art of Reflection

In addition to being the odd sort of person who gives away money, gives up things and finds joy in personal challenges like climbing mountains and running marathons, I’m also very nerdy when it comes to another thing- reflecting.

If you ask me where I was or what I was doing a year ago today, I can usually remember. Not just because I have a pretty good memory, but because I’m intentional about not forgetting. Living a life worth remembering is important, but just in case my memory goes some day, I always write it down.

Should you care to know, a year ago this week I’d just finished running the Bangkok half marathon, I spent Valentines Day wandering the streets of Hong Kong alone, and was excited to be taking off on my second trip the land down under.

For more than 20 years I’ve kept a journal. Not a diary of what I do everyday, but my own book of stories about what I’m thinking, where I am and where I might want to be going.

My first journal was felted with blue and green plaid, and I carried it with me on my first trip abroad. This journal and the dozens that have followed have pages penned with lists and letters of hopes and dreams. And of course, they also carry their fair share of tales of failures, sorrows and lessons learned.

More than writing in these journals, I love going back and reading them. Even though it is sometimes embarrassing to relive the things I was thinking, looking back on the pages reminds me that I’m going forward (and it gives me a kick in the pants when I’m not).

When we think of reflecting, we typically focus of the looking back part.  Yet a reflection is more than a view from behind, it is a mirroring of the present. When we learn to see these views together, it becomes easier develop a clear vision for the future.

Reflections aren’t just a treasure chest of memories, they’re the key to our treasure map ahead.

Where were you a year ago? More importantly, where are you headed now?

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