A Gentle Journaling Session 2022

Dear friends,

Happy New Year 2022! Wherever you are, whoever you’re with, I hope you’re all well, healthy, and safe. As usual, on the last few days of the Previous Year and the first few days of the New Year, I will spend some time to journal. Not so much about creating a resolution of some sort, but more about taking the time to reflect and refocus—like doing warm-ups before going on a long hike.

Here are some journaling prompts I have been using this year to ease my way into 2022.

Feel free to go through each one and notice if some of them (or maybe all of them?) are calling out to you.

1. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST MEMORABLE THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO ME LAST YEAR?

They are things that you want to keep, remember, and cherish, either because they remind you of the things you’re good at, how strong or blessed you are, or because they teach you a valuable lesson about life, or because they give you an experience that opens up your horizon and change your perspective. Do you see any resemblance between them?

2. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST CHALLENGING THINGS FOR ME LAST YEAR?

Despite all those challenges, here you are. You are still here. Know that you can thrive at one thing and barely survive another, that you can be proud of something and be disappointed in something else, that you can feel grateful for some things and still feel sad or unfulfilled from time to time, that it’s okay to feel like things are hard or challenging or difficult while enjoying little bursts of joy.

3. WHAT ARE THE THINGS FROM LAST YEAR THAT I WANT TO DO MORE THIS YEAR? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS I AM CURIOUS ABOUT/ INTERESTED IN?

I love the message from the book Essential: Essays by The Minimalists, where they talk about cultivating a passion instead of finding/following a passion. I like to think of it as things that make our lives beautiful, fun, or enjoyable (however that looks to you)—the things we live for.

4. WHAT ARE THE THINGS FROM LAST YEAR THAT I WANT TO DO LESS THIS YEAR? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS I WANT TO LET GO/STOP DOING?

I love the concept of ‘mentally/emotionally decluttering’ as well as ‘unlearning‘. We’ve absorbed so many things throughout our lives (information overload, over-stimulation, societal pressure) that might have weighed us down. Is it possible to declutter or unlearn these things?

5. WHICH ROLE I WOULD LOVE TO TAKE THIS YEAR, AND WHICH ROLE I WOULDN’T MIND TAKING?

When I was still working full time, we had a weekly team meeting where we asked each other what role would we choose in the office—if that role had nothing to do with our job titles, tasks, or functions.

Someone said, he’d be the clown, making people laugh with his jokes and funny impressions.
Someone else said, she’d be the decorator, making things look neat, pretty, and artistic.
Someone said, he’d be the problem solver.
Someone said, she’d be the cheerleader.
Someone said, he’d be the dreamer.
Someone said, she’d be the devil’s advocate.

What role would you be happy to play in life?
What role would you choose for yourself at work, at home, at school, among friends, that had nothing to do with your assigned function, expectations, duties, or assumed responsibilities?
What role would you not mind filling?

When you’re thinking that you have no idea about your passion or not knowing your life purpose yet, maybe you can focus on the role you’d love (or wouldn’t mind playing).

How can you play this role more often wherever you are, whatever you do, whomever you’re with?

6. WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HELPED ME MAKE LAST YEAR FUN, ENJOYABLE, MEMORABLE, OR BEARABLE?

Write their names, what they did, and what it meant to you: how the things they do have impacted you. Write them a message, call them, text them, write an open letter, or send them a postcard telling them about what you have written, about what they mean to you. They can be people you know, someone from work, a client, a good friend, a stranger, or someone on the Internet. Reach out. Build bridges.

7. FROM A GENTLE HEART, WHAT ADVICE WOULD I GIVE MY FUTURE SELF TO FACE 2022?

Take a deep breath and imagine all the things you’ve experienced in life that have brought you here, at this point in your life. See your future self in 2022 with love, kindness, and affection—the way you see a good friend or a loved one. Write a letter/a piece of advice to them, write whatever comes to mind for 10-15 minutes, write as fast as possible, without stopping, without editing. See what comes up.

with much love,

hanny

Hanny illustrator
Hi. I'm HANNY
I am an Indonesian writer and an artist/illustrator based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I love facilitating writing/creative workshops and retreats, especially when they are tied to self-exploration and self-expression. In Indonesian, 'beradadisini' means being here. So, here I am, documenting life—one word at a time.

hanny

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