About a week ago, my beloved notebook accidentally found its way into the washing machine. Well, it didn’t find its way there. I accidentally tossed it in with the laundry, while multitasking and not paying full attention to what I was doing. After unknowingly tossing it into the washer, I searched for it frantically. I ran up and down the stairs of my house, tearing through rooms, before the worst case scenario occurred to me. I raced down two flights of steps to my basement. I said a little hopeful prayer, as I paused the wash cycle, and opened the lid. I both wanted it to be in there and didn’t want it to be in there. I wanted to find it so my panic would subside, but I knew if it was in the washing machine that it would be a mess. And there it was, one end poking out of the soapy water, propped up by the soaked clothes beneath it.
It was waterlogged. I didn’t cry, though I felt like it. I was happy to have my beloved notebook in my hands again but didn’t know if it would actually survive this accident. I took it apart and spread all of the contents on a blanket in front of the radiator and turned up the heat. It took about two days for most things to dry out. My notebook refills were a “wash” (pun intended), and they have been archived in my archival storage binder. But most items, like my Fourrouf linen zippered pouch and Traveler’s Company kraft file folder, actually looked quite good, after I ironed them to smooth them back out. I dried my plastic zippered pouch with a paper towel. I carefully allowed the miniature paintings by my friend, artist RH Mohler, to air dry thoroughly. And some things, a few, didn’t really make it. But strangely I don’t remember what they were because I’m never quite as attached to things, as I initially think I am.
For a few days, I considered replacing my leather traveler’s notebook cover. It isn’t the same as it was before the “Washing Machine Debacle of 2018.” I think the leather has stretched a bit. It seems to stretch over the inserts better, which is actually a good thing and it is much, much softer to the touch, which is also a good thing. My embossed name, however, isn’t as deeply imprinted as it once was. That’s a little disappointing and was perhaps the only reason I considered replacing the leather cover. But these days, as I try more and more to become a minimalist or more of a minimalist, I am not impulsive with my purchases, and I took some time to think it through. The longer I waited, the less the urge to replace it, and now I’ve grown used to the new way it feels and looks. And this has made me think even more and in different ways about my writing topic today.
I share my notebook and personal writing techniques on Instagram every single day. I love everything about my notebook, from the paper, pen, and writing techniques that I use to the trinkets, charms, and stickers that adorn it. Every item means something. Some were carefully made decisions. Some were silly or impulsive ones. Others mark special times. Still, others are gifts from special friends. And some of what I love is the wear and tear of adventures and mishaps. My notebook is an amazing tool, and my writing processes help me get through day to day life. It is a tool, a “companion” of sorts, as it contains things as precious as my innermost thoughts, hopes and dreams, and plans. I guess one could say, I have achieved “planner peace.” One could say that, but I won’t, because to be perfectly honest, I think it is a strange concept, this planner peace. It is fallacious at best. For peace would never come from a notebook or a pen or a type of paper or even from a planning technique. At least, I know I could never achieve a peace that way. To me, peace, true peace, real peace, is an inside job. Without inner peace, there can be no external peace. We cannot create peace outside of ourselves if we don’t have peace within ourselves. A perfect planner won’t make you happy, and besides, nothing is perfect.
The analogue tools that I use are simply that, tools, to support the life that I am living and continually crafting. The tools I use are not my life or my hobby. I spend little time planning how I am going to use them, but a lot of time actually using them. Many of the ways I use my notebooks haven’t changed in years, while others change and evolve as my needs change. I try to use what I have and try to buy only what I need or absolutely love. And more and more, I am beginning to love the character that things have once they begin to age. There is something distinctive and regal about a well-loved item, such as a leather briefcase or notebook. The aging is indicative of the stories and adventures they’ve seen and endured, and oh how I love stories and adventures.
Our stories and adventures are all a part of, or should be all a part of, the amazing, miraculous life that we are purposefully and intentionally trying to create for ourselves. We derive inner peace from living a life rich with purpose, compassion, and healthy relationships both with ourselves and those in our lives. When we work to understand our purpose and stand in our truth, kind and empathetic to ourselves and those around us, and nurture good relationships, we will most likely have “inner peace.” When we feel good on the inside, it affects how we function in our lives and how we do the things we need to do and how we treat the people in our lives. And so our internal peace lends itself to our external peace, which spills out into the world.
That is the type of peace I strive for, planner and beyond. We have to work on our inner peace, if ever there is to be peace on Earth.
Wishing everyone much peace and a happy and healthy winter holiday season.