Reflections on journalling

A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.

Jorge Luis Borges 1899-1986

I’ve written a journal in one form or other since I was 21 years old.

This blog was 14 years old last month.

My first ever blog post was written in a Vancouver hotel, where I had just finished a 2-day workshop for business coaches, showing them how to build a million-dollar practice.

Ironically, whilst I was on-stage, the news came through that my second attempt to obtain residency of The United States had been declined and I was going to be forced to close my $500,000 revenue North American coaching practice and repatriate my family.

I’m not over-dramatising when I say that I sat in my hotel room that evening and contemplated whether life really was worth living. My “big plan” was trashed.

A gentle tap on the door by my two assistants, inviting me out for a quiet dinner on the marina, probably didn’t save my life but it certainly helped me to begin the journey through one of the my worst experiences. The rest is history.

Throughout my life I have found that writing and running have been the two principal ways in which I achieve catharsis and closure on my troubles.

When I write and when I’m jogging, I’m able to close my mind to everything but the situation before me – and yet gain insight into how best to deal with what life throws in my direction.

In 40 years of jogging I have never listened to music or books whilst running.

In 44 years of journalling I had a brief attempt at typing my daily journal but soon reverted to pen and paper – the peace and solitude with which every day begins – journal, pen, black coffee and a reflection on the previous day’s events, is priceless.

I’m much taken by the quotation that begins this post – and I’d ask you to pause for a moment this morning and reflect that:

  • everything that happens to you is a resource;
  • everything given to you is for a purpose;
  • your humiliations, misfortunes and embarrassments are the raw material with which you shape your art

I’ve had my fair share of disasters in life and I’ve always written my feelings down, sometimes publicly but most often privately.

It’s a habit that has kept me going – Mr. Weeble.

Use this day to shape your art.

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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

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