Time for the magic notebook to shine

At this time of year, there’s something appealing about looking back over the next year, measuring it, weighing it, and putting it in a neat little package to set aside and get ready for the new year.

When I was little, I used to have this idea in my head of the ‘old’ year was crumbling and old, waiting to be replaced by the shiny glossy new year at midnight on New Years’ Eve.

It’s useful for us to put time in little packages. To measure it. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years. But time isn’t really like that – it just keeps flowing. Life isn’t like that either. Much messier. Harder to measure, weigh and package.

But what is useful is pausing from time to time to take a look at where we’re going, where we’ve been, lessons we’ve learned and plans we want to make. Clichéd as it seems, it’s useful to pause and reflect, then prepare for what’s ahead. And the start of a new year on some arbitrary human calendar is just as good an excuse as any.

I have a notebook that was given to me as a gift several years ago, a really nice one. With a padded cover, cloth binding, creamy lined pages, and a satin ribbon bookmark sewn in. I’ve become convinced that it’s a magic notebook. At the start of 2002, feeling trapped and desperately unhappy with many different areas of my life, I took it off the shelf, and wrote down a list of things to accomplish to better my situation. I wrote a little essay about each item. I tracked my progress toward each of the goals for a couple of months. Then I forgot about the notebook. But I didn’t forget the goals. I kept working.

At the start of 2003, I pulled it off the shelf again. I reviewed the old goals – some of them accomplished, others not. I took stock again. I set my intention for the coming year.

My notebook became a regular habit. At the turn of a new year, I pull it out, review the goals I set the previous year, and set my goals for the coming year. And magically, the goals are accomplished. Not always in the first year they were set down in writing, but they are accomplished. It feels good. At some point, it started to feel like magic. Thus it became known as the magic notebook.

It’s that time of year again to pull out the magic notebook, review the previous year, and set my goals for the year ahead. I invite you to join me. The magic lies in setting your intention, asking for what you want and trusting that you’ll receive.

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