I don’t think of myself as very disciplined. Papers and books litter my office. Exercise? Sometimes. Prayer and meditation are not always daily habits.
But for some reason, journaling has been a regular part of my life for 46 years. Most days a week, often daily, I write a few pages.
I recently completed a more-or-less annual ritual of starting a new journal. I started my first journal in November 1975 — a cheap composition book with lined pages. I previously blogged about my introduction to journaling. I’ve tried loose-leaf binders and journaling on the computer. I have settled on the Moleskine lined and leather-bound journal in recent years.
About ten years ago, I adopted a ritual of copying quotes on the first page of a new journal. I call it a ritual because it is a sacred marking of the end of one journal and the beginning of another. Each year I drop a few quotes and add others. They are all short so that I can squeeze them onto the journal’s first page.
I will leave you with the quotes I have chosen to open my latest journal on 11/21/2021:
“The end is nothing; the road is all.” —Willa Cather (d. 1947)
“Having no destination, I am never lost.” —Ikkyū (d. 1481)
“No envy, no fear, no meanness.” —Liam Clancy to a young Bob Dylan (c. 1960)
“The first 20 years of life contains the whole experience. The rest is observation.” —Graham Greene (d. 1991)
“God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by a process of subtraction.” —Meister Eckhart (d. 1328)
“…what I really want, it is not to be afraid. When I am afraid… I play it safe. I restrict myself. I hide the talent of me in the ground. I am not deeply alive.” —Gordon Cosby (d. 2012)
“… losing one’s attachment to the self is liberation, the end of suffering.… The malady is the self.” — Anil Ananthaswamy, The Man Who Wasn’t There
“Who are you, God? And who am I?” —Francis of Assisi
“Teach us to care and not to care. Teach us to be still.” —T.S. Eliot