Journaling has become a mainstay in my life. It wasn’t always that way. I cycled through different journals looking for something that would ‘make sense’ to me. Year after year I would start and stop with journal after journal. At one point I threw them all away proclaiming that journaling was not for me… And yet, the days I journaled the day seemed to have a fuller meaning, I had a better memory and deeper reflection on successes and failures. The day seemed to make sense.
Some of you can appreciate that paragraph because you’ve been there too. The struggle I’ve had with journaling has been long until I distanced myself from what I thought journaling was supposed to be. I just spent time thinking about my life and what I wanted from it. It was during this process that I started journaling about what interested me.
What I discovered was that for me there are four areas of my life that I wanted to focus on. My journaling time would focus on what I had done, or not done. They are broad categories, or as I came to call them – Dominions of my life. Dominions has a nice ring to it. I actually called them that as a personal joke that I held for myself. But then I shared them with someone else and I called them the Four Dominions of Life and it stuck.
Being broad, these Dominions allow me to journal about what I experienced that day, but focused enough that I am paying attention because they matter to me. The Four Dominions of Life are: Mind, Body, Soul, Work. Without getting too deep into what each is (except Soul), these are some of the questions that I ask and reflect on.
The Mind – What am I learning? How am I growing? Where is there a dissonance in how I am choosing to live? What do I want to improve?
The Body – How did I feed my body today? Did I use my body properly? What movement/activity did I get? Did I abuse my body? If yes, how? Was it in training or indulgence?
Soul – As a bit of explanation, the Soul is often viewed from a religious standpoint. The Soul is a part of us that is difficult to quantify. There is nothing physical to it. As a Christian, I agree with this. However, there has been research done around the idea there is something more to who we are than we can see, touch, or hear. Pixar produced a movie in 2020 called Soul that talks about the idea of an essence of who we are. For the Soul, I like to ask about nourishing or feeding my soul. Whether I spent time in reflection of my life and whether I am living according to my faith.
Work – What did I produce today? Did I help/serve others? How? Where was I lazy? How did I build my business?
I share this with the hope it will help you to start a new rhythm of journaling or if you’re struggling to find a way to put thoughts on paper or just to get them out of your head. Regardless, I’m sure I will reference the Four Dominions of Life and wanted a place to reach back to that explains what I mean.
How are you journaling? What works for you? If not journaling, what is your process for getting thoughts out of your head so they become something you can work with?