We all have hardships in life, I'm going through some hard times right now with my grandmother being ill. My grandmother, who I call Mame, is my mom. My godparents and Mame have raised me into adulthood. They've given me a very solid foundation in many things, and as I got older I've used these skills and created myself into who I am today.
As we grow we pick and choose what we want in our life... Like Mame always said,
"You have a choice... you can take the good from people, and leave the bad alone. Learn from others mistakes and accomplishments"
The things that help me the most are looking back to good times and bad. Much of my life I've relied on my mind and memories to account the good and bad times. I find this not only difficult (My memory is shit most of the time) but also misleading. The present becomes the past, the past becomes a memory, the memory fades and changes until it is called on again. The next time it is called on it will be different. Different in many ways. Why? because in our mind we only remember what is most important to us. Without a concrete recollection of something, even the important past fades into obscurity.
This leads me to my next point...
It's important to write things down! A journal has been my best friend through many hard times, but in August of this year I made it a point to write at least one thing per day. Not only does it help me to cope with hardships of the day but it also helps me bring out the good from every day. My life has steadily gotten better over these past few months by adding this simple habit.
Paying attention to others helps you learn from their mistakes and accomplishments. Writing down your views on everything helps YOU learn from YOUR mistakes and accomplishments. The more you look back on these things the easier it is to derive skills from your past. It doesn't stop you from having problems, but it makes dealing with your problems a million times easier.
In the practice of Tai Chi Chuan we say "Practice the form to learn of yourself, Practice push-hands to learn of others." Journalizing is putting form to your life, action is the push hands of life.
Mame has kept journals regularly since 1969. In following her example, I look forward to writing down every day for the rest of my life. For a better more fruitful life I recommend you do the same. =)
Daniel R. Hyde