I am a collector, which hasn’t been very easy, and at times has even been heart-wrenching. I’m not talking about being a collector of material objects, which I have several things I do collect, but a collector of experiences. Pieces of life that were monumental in my development; fragments of “ah-ha” moments, sadness, grief, success, struggle, joy, illumination, all of these things I write down and keep.

Some might think I’m insane for doing this, but it’s an ancient practice of journaling, chronicling one’s life to better look upon it and share it with others. Doing this also enables me or dissect experiences; to find out what could have been done better, to understand them better, to take from situations as much wisdom as possible, and to learn to accept the hardest lessons in the pages of my life. I don’t skip details in my collecting, as a matter of fact, most wisdom is hidden deep in the detail of life we overlook at the moment. Introspection and retrospection play a huge part in human growth and collecting memories as they happen or as we remember them, and in capturing the essence of each aspect of life, we can better learn from them.

It is through my collecting that so much of my past was brought to light, and how I changed who and what I am from, and through my knowledge and capacity to understand my experiences. This has been instrumental in so many areas of my life and personal development and is something that has helped me to understand people, situations, and the world better, through a more subjective view. These chronicles are a living testament to my inner self, something I can look back on, forgive myself for not having the wisdom back then to handle things differently in certain events; revel in accomplishments and joyous moments, and remember those who have been lost. 

In my practice, I always suggest that clients have a journal to chronicle their thoughts, feelings, and daily life. I teach them to create the journal as a tool, then how to use that tool to grow on a daily basis. I teach them to become fellow collectors, to be modern scribes, and to map out their future, reconcile the past, and to become better human beings to themselves, and to others. Those who become collectors, accumulate the wisdom to sort through their emotions, to learn the sometimes hidden lessons life teaches us, to move beyond past traumas, to forgive themselves, to heal. The collector grows on a daily basis, from their early stumbles, until their mastery of the tool. The tool becomes an important facet in the collector’s everyday comings and goings, from the grocery store, to just after that corporate board meeting. 

So, I am going to let you in on a little secret here; I honestly don’t think I’ve ever shared this information outside of my wife, but this is how I broke free from extremism, learned to find the humanity in all people and to love them like family. All of the deep introspection I’d mentioned over and over again, all of the changes I’d made in my life, to be who I am today, are because of this method I developed and have refined for nearly 8 years. Collecting allowed me to find specific points about myself, where they originated, then to work through or with them, to have the desired effect. It was potent work for me, try collecting yourself… you might be amazed at what you find out.