Writing in a journal for 20 minutes a day provides a mentor for myself

Writing in a journal for 20 minutes a day provides a mentor for myself

9.19am, writing desk: I’ve been sitting here for four minutes, ruminating. Hugging Benji Cat and reflecting on why I did not write an entry in my online journal yesterday. Usually if I miss a day, which is rare, I am either hiding from myself or am outrageously busy, but yesterday did not fall into either of those categories.

I had a good day with myself, and my six-month-old English Staffordshire puppy Maisie, and my two rescue cats, Benji with the tortoiseshell fur, and Fizzie with the ginger fur. Maisie and I attended puppy school as we normally do on a Saturday morning, 9am to 10am. Maisie is now one of the best-behaved puppies, and definitely one of the most outgoingly friendly and strongest, if not the strongest puppy. Everyone likes Maisie. Afterwards we met a friend for brunch at a café, that welcomes dogs, near my home. Maisie enjoyed her own slice of toast lavishly spread with crunchy peanut butter.

In the afternoon I worked on the World Eating Disorder Action Day story campaign and other website matters, and went for several walks with Maisie – including one by the seashore which we both always love. For the past few days we have had the beach to ourselves and for the first time I have released Maisie from her lead. I laugh as she races, as only a little army tank-shaped puppy can, along the sand, stops, feverishly digs a small hole, looks up, and races back to me, over and over again. I am glad Maisie likes the seashore, as it is one of my favorite places too, especially for sorting thoughts and gaining inspiration.

Maisie and I have been for one walk so far this morning, around the neighborhood streets—hardly anyone else about, due to a little drizzle is falling, but no real rain as yet. While we walked I thought about the old plant boxes that I discussed with my friend yesterday. The boxes are sitting unused in the large backyard of my former home, now owned by my daughter, who does not have much time to garden. She is happy for me to rejuvenate the former abundant vegetable patch.

We are still in autumn and this will be a project for spring, but it is fun to plan and anticipate. I will order some extra soil when my friend thinks the time is right. Any vegetable that requires room to move will be ideal  for the boxes – like butternuts, pumpkins, zucchinis and cucumbers – and there is plenty of tank water for keeping them moist.  I have grown good crops of pumpkins and other vegetables from that patch in the past. I love eating pumpkin and so does Maisie:-) At $3 a kg in the supermarket, having our own pumpkins will be very helpful to the food bill.

Today I plan to do some writing and spend at least an hour in the much smaller garden where I now live, having ‘down-sized’. Mostly I will put liquid fertilizer on the shrubs and my fruit trees which include orange, lime, lemon and mandarin. Each of the trees already has some fruit and I look forward to these ripening as the cooler months roll on. I might visit a local plant nursery to choose some herb seedlings, as I enjoy going outside armed with my kitchen scissors and snipping a little bit of marjoram, or chives, or parsley, or mint, or coriander, or another herb, to add to my next meal. I also might treat myself to some winter flower seedlings (I love stocks). Maisie has destroyed most of my herbs in pots in the backyard so I will keep them in pots in the front yard henceforth, safe from her digging forays.

Amazingly, Maisie likes vegetables as much as I do. No canned dog food for her. She eats the same vegetables and meat, and pasta and rice dishes, as I do. I omit the onion and garlic and spices when cooking, and add them for myself later, or make two separate batches. One for her and one for me. Don’t laugh.

So, at 9.39am, after 20 minutes of reflecting and connecting and having a conversation with my thoughts and feelings, I am feeling happy and contented. I hope you are, too.

Writing tip

Write for 15 to 20 minutes in your journal each day. It is as important to write about the good times as well as the not-so-good times. If you do have a worry or concern, writing about it can help you gain a fresh perspective and a positive sense of direction.

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