“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place. We stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there. We travel to ourselves when we go to a place. Now we have covered the stretch of our lives, no matter how brief it may have been.” (Amadeu de Prado)
There was something in this Portuguese poet’s words that stayed with me after watching the movie Last Train to Lisbon. Though young Amadeu was talking about travel I took from his words a lesson about the journey we take into ourselves every time we write in our journals. We may occasionally lose touch with the centre of who we are, but can easily renew awarenesses of values, beliefs, dreams and desires, if we just take the time to reflect, to return to that place of deep introspective contemplation. I like to think every time I pick up a journal, I’m traveling back to myself, to the stretch of my life, to see how I’m doing. Whether what I say and what I do match. Whether I am living authentically. Whether what I do matters.
This cycle of going and returning, like the weft that meets the warp on my loom, is what creates the fabric of who we are. Recording events, dates, worries, rants and raves have their place, but do not contribute to the central fiber of our being. Rather it is the thoughtful self-examination powered by journal writing that leads us to new awarenesses and the meaningfulness of our lives. As Socrates once declared, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” ... It is a mandate that compels humanity to examine life's essence.”