Tag Archives: journaling

back

doll

I’m back. Here, I mean. What happened? I just got tired. And I was sad about my writing. When I’m sad and tired, I don’t have extra energy. This is what this is. Extra energy. A way for me to exercise writing in a different way.

What does “back” mean? Coming here weekly. Attempting not to bore. Opening up a bit to what’s inside. It also means some chores: selecting what to write, writing it, playing with photos and links, if I want to deepen the entry.

At first I blogged because I was supposed to: marketing. Then it became another and quicker and more fun way to express. Then I ran out of steam and felt empty. So I stopped writing here. Kept on with fiction, but stopped here. Now I have a second wind. Let’s see where we go……………

cameilla

Advertisements

comets

By Thursday of every week, if I don’t know what I’m going to write here on Sundays, I begin to wait on the muse. I go on lookout for the quiet ding that sounds when she throws a topic my way. If the ding doesn’t sound, I rummage through my journal for something. I had decided to put down the little lines of poetry/attempted haiku I’d written in the week, nothing polished, just play paint with words over my finding a perfectly preserved yet perfectly dead bee.

But a local newspaper story about former poet laureate W.S Merwin made me hear the ding. “When the Poet Laureate appointment came along, Merwin used it as a platform to comment on human imagination and life as a whole,” read the story, ‘which does not just include this self-important human species,’ he notes. Merwin says he feels exhilarated to be part of something infinite. His poems circle that feeling, the ongoing mystery, it continues.

‘The comets burn out and black holes disappear,’  he says. ‘There’s nothing good or bad about that. That’s the way it is. I don’t know where I come from and I don’t know where I’m going and it’s wonderful to be here.’

Reading that, I was reminded with both a pang and a ding that gratitude each day for the very fact of being alive has to be part of the triumph on this flintier, shadier part of the path I’ve entered, otherwise bitterness tastes in my mouth and shows on my face and in my eyes. Merwin exhibited an aging with grace, not an easy accomplishment.

Who do you know who is aging with grace? What’s their secret? What’s yours? What is grace?

fresh

The new year can be a time of fresh starts, and one way is journaling. Julia Cameron of The Artist’s Way recommends writing three pages long-hand before you’re fully awake in the morning.

Why? Because you dump irritation, bad feelings, complaints onto the pages usually, and then you begin your day, and a lot of what would have muddied the hours is on those pages, rather than carried outward with you. It’s as if you’ve been heard. And writing three pages every morning creates discipline. (And more, but you’ll have to find out about that by going to her website.)

A lot of people are doing gratitude journals. A blog I read recently spoke to this topic with words from Nicoletta Baumeister:  “Gratefulness thoughts in the morning light are about the setting of the daily lens. What will we take in, what will we seek and what is today’s sense of self? Feeling grateful puts my feet on solid ground, able to work out the next step; whereas, asking what I don’t have sets my day on a frantic course.” She ends her day in an interesting way, too: “A poem, haiku or a small drawing at night has the effect of driving all other thoughts away. The narrowed focus and purity of intent creates a sense of calm after a day of supersaturated activity. It also affords feelings of satisfaction, job well done, if only in the tiniest work, so that I slip seamlessly into excellent sleep. Too many people out there have insomnia!”

Another way to journal is from wonderful Dr. Rachel Naomi Ramen, who counseled a successful but burned-out doctor in one of my favorite books, Kitchen Table Wisdom, to find again these three things in his days: what inspired him, what surprised him, what touched him. I’ve done this one for a long time, and it has transformed journal entries from junior high whining to memory rushes with sweetness.

And that, my dears, is what I want to take forward into this long day’s journey into night, into this particular new year in the journey, into aging, the only way forward in the journey: sweetness. What do you want?

journal

I found something to console myself these last few days (much stress around continued revisions of next novel) by accident. I’m about to open another blank journal, only these days I collage….that’s too grand a word….I cut out images and words I like and then I paste them randomly on the blank pages. It’s quite exciting to open one’s journal and come across an image. Somehow the pages don’t seem so white and empty, and it’s fun to wonder what I was thinking when I picked that image.

So, in making my soon-to-be journal ready, I found myself on the floor with scissors and glues and lots of images from magazines, and there was something so soothing in the pasting of the images on the blank pages. It was lulling enough to make me forget for a time my current upset around my revisions, novel, career as a writer. I went to some quiet, focused-completely-on-the-matter-at-hand place, and those kinds of places provide rest.

How do you soothe yourself? What takes you to a no-mind quiet? (Addictions can; but there’s guilt afterwards and perhaps chaos.) And how do you make your journal interesting? And what do you write in your journal? I try to focus on Rachel Naomi Ramen’s three questions: what inspired me today, what surprised me today, what touched me today…..and the answer on this particular day in big old Houston, Texas would have been the wind all day long and the blooming star jasmine spilling over the fence.

Thanks to friend and fellow writer Kate for the idea about collaging a journal. We did it a few years ago during our dance meditation summer monastery, and you’ve never seen grown women so absorbed. For days afterwards, we’d be all over the house and dance space during our lulls leafing through magazines for images and pasting them into our journals….lovely…..