I’ve been keeping a journal for the past 13 and 1/2 years. I remember watching an episode of Oprah when my oldest son was about 6 months old where she talked about the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal. I was lonely and overwhelmed and possibly suffering from a little postpartum depression and it sounded like a fantastic idea.
Over time my journal has evolved into a place for gratitude, kvetching, and generally sorting things out. It’s helpful to get things out of my head and on to paper so I can stop thinking in circles and over analyzing.
In her blog the other day my favorite life guru, Danielle LaPorte, suggested that old journals should be burned. She reasoned that they keep you mired in the past. That got my attention.
Right now I am consciously working very hard to let go of a lot of stuff from my past; old ideas, hurts, plans, images of myself, and I can definitely see where she has a valid point. I have a habit of looking back and rereading old entries in those journals. Sometimes it feels great. I can see where I have progressed from a neurotic new mommy to a slightly less neurotic mommy of teenagers. I can see where some of the plans and ideas I had have eventually been completed. But more often than not, I get caught up in the exact frustration or anger or pain that sent me to my journal in the first place. I can be a way to pick open old wounds.
I have been making great progress, moving forward, accomplishing goals, letting go of a lot of stuff from my past; but the journals, not yet. I definitely don’t want to go back and read them now, but can I burn them? Completely let go of who I was so I can keep moving forward?
I’m working on the courage. It’s part of that whole strange horder mentality — I might need it someday. Only I’m hording thoughts and feelings from my past. Which seems really silly now that I see it on paper, in black and white.
Will I burn them? Not yet. So I am obviously still working on letting go. But when I do, I’ll let you know. I’ll plan a little ceremony; it’ll have to involve some Jameson Irish whiskey and cranked tunes on my ipod. I’ll take pictures.