Life is a journey. Life is a book. Life is a drama. Life is a work of art. Life is a growth process. Life is a timeline.
There are many different ways that you can conceptualize the reality of your life. Whatever metaphor you use, the reality is, your life has a beginning, a middle and an end. Your life in the world began at birth and will end at the death of your physical body. The middle of your life is everything that occurs in-between. It is obvious that right now you are somewhere in the middle of your life.
If your life is a journey you have carved a path and traveled through different times and places on your way to this present destination. You have not yet reached your final destination.
If your life is a book, you have a story to tell that has many chapters, which have led to this present chapter of your life. The end of your story is yet to be told.
If your life is a drama, there are many Acts and Scenes, which have already been played out and have led to this present Act and Scene of your life. Your Final Act has yet to be played out.
If your life is a work of art—whether it is a painting, a song or a sculpture— the final touches of your masterpiece have yet to be completed.
If your life is a growth process, you have passed through many stages of development from infancy, through childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood. You have grown and changed and right now is where you are in the total unfoldment of your life. The full blossoming and fruits of your life have yet to be realized.
If your life is a timeline, you have passed through many eras or periods of your life that have led up to this present moment of your life. There are many more points along the line that have yet to be marked.
However you conceptualize your life, the reality is that at this moment, at this instant this is where you are. Right now, you have come to a particular destination, you are “writing” a chapter, you are living out a scene, you are at this stage of your growth or you are living in this particular period of your life. You could literally say that this instant is where you are or where you’ve come to in the total duration of your life. And the fact that you are still alive, there is more to come and that “more” is yet to be determined.
Throughout these journal exercises, we will use these metaphors interchangeably to help you describe the various aspects of your life. If there is a particular metaphor that works well for you, go ahead and use it.
In this first exercise, you will simply describe where you are in this present period of your life journey. This is a broad, general statement of what is true for you as you reflect on this present time. This present time is more than “this present moment”. The present time may stretch back to certain life events and circumstances that mark off this period. This present period is your own subjective experience of what is true for you. For some this present period may stretch back only a short time while for others it may stretch back many years.
Describe the outer events and circumstances that are occurring and also your inner experience in relationship to these events and circumstances. You need not go into much detail. You want to simply gain a general grasp, without judging, what is happening now in this period of your life and how you feel about what is happening. You want to consider both the positive and the negative aspects of your life.
A good phrase to open the door to this present period is to begin some sentences with the phrase, “This is a time when…” then complete the sentence with what is true for you.
Some useful questions to prompt yourself are:
- What is happening in my life now? What am I going through?
- What major events and circumstances seem to mark this current period? How far does this present period seem to go back? When did it seem to start?
- What recent changes have occurred in this present chapter of my life?
- Who are the people that seem to play an important role in this particular time and place of my life?
- What feelings and emotions am I having in this present period of my life?
Go to the next journaling exercise: Focus on Feelings
Click here to download the pdf version
*Journaling exercises written by Cort Curtis, Ph.D, used with permission.