Context. Feeling. Reflection. My high school teacher was sharing a particular process to us for writing our reflection papers. What did you learn? How do you feel about it? Why do you feel that way? These were the three processes that he told us to follow to write on our 1/4 sized sheets of paper. He made us do this for almost every activity we had. It somehow became a routine, especially for me.
I think that was one of the best lessons in high school I learned. I never understood then just how much more important this process of reflecting was on life and even at work. But recently, I’ve recognized the benefits of this process even more.
You see, you could be on your most productive state all day, exploring numerous interests and projects as multi-passionate creatives do, but you will always find pockets time—whether it be before you close your eyes at night or in the middle of rushing to the bathroom—and space for reflecting.
For some reason, tonight, I forgot to start my Pomodoro timer again. And so I never recorded how much time I was allocating for writing these articles. That bugged me a little because I wanted to know exactly how much I was putting into this.
But why? Was tracking time spent writing much more important than the act of writing itself? We all know the answer to this already. Aligned action is the main ingredient. Tracking those actions are simply the icing on the cake.
So even though working conditions aren’t always perfect (are they ever?), we could look instead for the learning moments.
Because these moments make you better in both work and life. Because these moments help you get to know yourself.
It might seem easier to just go on with your day, sometimes berating yourself for not being able to track a couple of things. But it helps to reflect and ask: What is this moment teaching you and how do your current judgements of yourself serve you and the work that you’re trying to do?
Leaning into your thoughts and feelings
I mentioned before that meditating is like looking at your thoughts flowing freely in a stream in front of you. This is also how we could practice reflection. But instead of just letting those thoughts go, we could distinguish what disrupts our flow and think of how and why we can improve the next time they happen.
Check in with how you feel about your disruptions. Notice how the feelings associated with your thoughts either block or inspire you.
Also, in our quest to just get on with the task already and doing the actions required, we forget the feeling. But feelings have a very significant role in realizing our goals. The feelings and the emotions are the very reason why we started setting goals in the first place.
Whether it’s because we’re frustrated at where we are now or we are inspired by the influencers we see and listen to daily, our feelings dictate our calling. And this is why listening to them and leaning into them is an act of service to your dreams and aspirations.
Once you’ve recognized and appreciated the lessons throughout your day, move on.
Just move on.
Do something about your goals. Do that aligned action you’ve been to take. Get done with it.
Whether your previous actions were wrought with mistakes or splattered with perfection, move on.
You’ve learned what you can and you can’t change the past, cliché as that may sound. The only way left is forward.
It would have been easier for me to just give up writing and go back to listening to the podcast I’m bingeing on instead. But I had to move on from whatever happened before me writing this so I could be writing now.
I think we can’t help but reflect because we weren’t made to just go-go-go without stopping. There will be idle moments in the day and those are important, wonderful opportunities to mull over thoughts and feelings during the day and find pieces of lessons within them.
And then we move forward from those thoughts and feelings not because we want to quickly dismiss them but because reflection is only one piece of the puzzle. The other parts involve getting back into mindset, goal setting, and action taking.
Stopping to reflect is also the perfect time for you to step back and appreciate the pieces of the puzzle you’ve already laid in front of you. To appreciate its beauty in all its incomplete-ness and potential before you come back again to play and make mistakes and step back again and find yourself actually enjoying. Because it’s not all supposed to be just sadness and tiredness and overwhelm and exhaustion. It’s also lightness and kindness and fun and flexibility and creativity.