Every now and then I would pick a notebook from my shelf, open to a random page and read what I wrote that day. If I’m being honest this isn’t always a pleasant experience. There are some days you don’t want to relive again but it is always an eye-opening experience. Every time I traverse over my past entries I gain a new perspective.
Case in point? The last time I picked up an old notebook a few slips of paper fell out. I opened up the lined paper to find a list of New Year Resolutions made back in 2006. I suddenly remembered that I used to make resolutions. A lot. I stopped making them in recent years because it seems more discouraging than encouraging when I inevitably don’t complete my list.
I had a thought though. I wanted to compare my lists of resolutions that I kept all these years. Next thing I knew I was frantically flipping through all my notebooks and checking all the back pockets for any remnants of a resolution list. When I found them all I laid them out on the floor of my bedroom.
And it was exactly what I had suspected. There was one similarity between all these resolution lists: “Visit the Buddhist Temple”. I don’t know why I had put this off for so long when it seemed like such a simple thing to cross off my list.
I knew exactly which Buddhist temple I was referring to and how to get there. Over the years I had completely forgotten about my desire to visit this Buddhist temple. But there had to be a reason why it was important enough for me to carry this resolution through year after year. I resolved to visit the Buddhist temple that weekend.
I mentioned it in passing to my mother that I was visiting the temple and she decided to come along. When I got to the Sunday morning service I was stunned at how beautiful the temple was. I entered the main shrine and paid my respects with incense to the Buddhas of Five Directions. I looked over to my mother and suddenly I realized why I had this resolution on my list all these years: to connect with my mother.
On the ride home my mother couldn’t stop talking about the service and how beautiful the shrine was. I remembered she always wanted to attend this temple but had no way to get there. It may be years overdue but I’m glad I finally got to cross that resolution off my list.
What I learned that day was that it was never too late to fulfill what you gave up on or forgotten about. Re-reading my past helped me revise my present. Any events, thoughts, goals or dreams we may have had years ago can be lost in our memory and may be irretrievable forever. But with journaling all my past selves are preserved on paper and what’s lost can be found again.