It is December again. The year is ending. For me, that is always a time in which I like to do some self-reflection. What have I experienced and learned this past year? What could I have done better? What am I proud of and what am I less happy about? What goals do I want to set for next year? You probably know the drill. But wouldn’t it be much better to do that all year round? I don’t know about you, but I could use some help with that. And I found that in the beautiful journal Vertellis Chapters.
2019 was a difficult year for me. My boundaries have repeatedly been searched for and crossed. It was a big emotional roller coaster. And every time I think to myself: “Listen to your gut feelings, Marjolein! Haven’t you learned that by now? How often do you have to experience something and then afterwards think: deep in my heart I knew from the start that this was not right. I should have listened to those alarm bells immediately. Don’t doubt yourself so much!” Someday I will learn. In the end I fortunately I do have the courage to make a decision and get out of the unpleasant situation. Even though that too often has unpleasant consequences for myself as well. Nevertheless, staying in a situation that does not work is not an option in the long term either.
I can imagine you might be thinking: what is this all about? Actually, that doesn’t matter; the details are unimportant. What I am trying to say is this: We all have recurring lessons in our lives that are difficult to learn. Until we learn them, they always come back in different forms. It is often necessary to change something in oneself – something that is difficult to let go of. And sometimes we must learn that we are worthy of standing up for ourselves and how to set boundaries and be steadfast.
Taking a moment for yourself to do some self-reflection can be very helpful. Not only in December, when looking back at the year, but every week or even a few times a week. I have often started a diary with the intention of writing in it every day: about what I am grateful for, what is going well in my life, and what can be improved. But, somehow, I am unable to keep up the task of writing in such a diary. It is not inviting for me to do so it seems.
I recently came across Vertellis Chapters and I was immediately interested. I watched the video of Bart Kloosterhuis, one of the creators of Vertellis. Something in that video appealed to me; I recognized so much in it! Bart said that our world is becoming more and more digital and that we are looking for more distraction through our screens. That “being busy” has become the new normal. Vertellis Chapters is a journal that encourages you to be offline for a moment and to reflect on what you are going through in your life. It asks you questions such as “what are you grateful for?” And “what is going well in your life?” Just the simple fact that you pick up a pen, pick up the journal and are just consciously busy with what goes on inside you is already so valuable. You don’t have to think about what to write about, because the questions help you on your way. You also don’t have to write every day (although you can of course!). It contains inspiring texts, tips and quotes that are fun to read and it is beautifully designed. It feels sturdy and luxurious, as if it is a gift to take a moment for yourself and to write in Chapters. That is how you should see it, I think –as a very important gift to yourself.
My personal recurring themes or challenges are:
- Finding a balance between work and leisure time
- Trusting myself and my feelings
- Seeking less distraction and being quiet and conscious in the moment more often
How is that for a start? Haha! I suspect it is all related. If I pause a bit more often and consider myself, without distraction, then I get to know myself and my feelings better, and I will be able to find more balance in my life. Either through meditation, or just sitting still and shutting up – in case you are a little allergic to the word meditation:). So, how am I going to work on those themes next year? For starters, I will pick up that beautiful Vertellis Chapters journal at least once a week and take a moment of self-reflection. I would probably benefit more from writing if I did it more than once a week, but I know myself a little bit by now and I’d better set realistic goals. So at least once a week, and if it is more often than that, then all the better.
Consciously working on your self-development is something that I think fits the Tiny House philosophy very well. In my opinion, it is a very conscious way of living and a deliberate choice for a certain lifestyle. I suspect that the majority of Tiny House residents or Tiny House enthusiasts are working on their self-development. However, I am actually curious as to whether that assumption is correct. What do you think? Do you find it important, for example, to do self-reflection, and how do you do that? Do you use a diary, do you meditate, do you also have a moment of looking back and setting goals for next year at the end of the year? Let me know!
In case you want to spend time with family and friends more consciously during the holidays, Vertellis has also developed a super fun question card game. Really taking time for each other and learning what’s going on in the lives of friends and family members. Let’s leave the cell phones in the bag this holiday season and be genuinely attentive to each other. Deal?
This blog is in collaboration with Vertellis.