We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.
~ John Dewey
As John Dewey makes clear, if we choose to go through life non-stop without taking a break to reflect, our learning will be limited. The alternative is to take time to look at what you’ve been doing and ask two questions: 1) What is working? and 2) What can be improved? Next, celebrate what is working by sharing your gratitude and connect with what isn’t working by fulling mourning it. As I’ve shared last week, appreciation makes it more likely that you’ll continue doing the things that are working. Mourning is a form of “heart learning” that educates us about what we wish we would have done in the past without beating ourselves up. These two powerful steps increase your energy by giving you clear ideas about how to move forward.
My Reflection Practice
I am a prolific journaler. Since college I have been journaling typically on a weekly basis. Once I discovered Compassionate Communication, I began to add feelings and needs check-ins along with gratitude and mourning to my journal entries. I especially enjoy the practice of journaling while I’m agitated or off-center to get clear on what is happening in me. This self-empathy practice has repeatedly helped me find my center when the mind is in turmoil.
A New Environment Aids Reflection
Yesterday, Katie and I left Flagstaff to visit (and love on) my father in Colorado. I brought along an intention to reflect about my work. The plan is to drive from Brighton, Colorado where my dad lives to Estes Park, Colorado where my dad has a small second home. The cabin where we’ll stay is situated on the side of a hill in the forest near Rocky Mountain National Park. I’ve been visiting this place for over 40 years and it is a sort of sanctuary where my mind slows and takes a break from the electronic world. It provides a perfect environment for reflection. I look forward to celebrating and mourning the time I have spent changing the world!