More time with the Writing 101 backlog. Tonight’s entry is brought to you by the number 18 — the day whose prompt I should be responding to — and the letter “U” — for how uninspired that Day 18 prompt has me currently feeling. So let’s look at Day 14 instead:
Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration. If you need a boost, Google the word and see what images appear, and then go from there.
Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.
Journaling, the world seems to agree, is a good thing.
~ Janet Conner, Writing Down Your Soul
It’s an interesting coincidence that the Writing 101 prompt asks me to “write in the form of a letter,” when that same approach is a key technique Conner suggests as a way to help “journal-writing” become “soul writing.” The ritual of addressing the words externally, whether to God or Spirit or Inner Wisdom, serves as reminder that someone is there to listen to what I write and even sometimes to provide an answer. Whether you understand that “external” someone as out in the cosmos or housed in that still, small voice within, I think this reminder of writing’s capacity to be in dialogue and meditation is a potent one. And a reminder well-worth receiving.
During the last crazy stretch at work, I not only fell away from blogging publicly, I also fell away from the daily practice of writing in my pen and paper journal. And let me tell you, Spirit, man oh man, did I ever start to feel the ill effects of that choice.
By halfway through the 9-day break from my morning journaling, I could quite literally feel the bile and the poisons building up in my system — frustration, anxiety, negativity of all shapes and sizes — without release. Without a safety valve. Without giving myself the space to vent off the poison and, by the very nature of that process of writing and voicing and studying, to — often, if not always — create a distance between my core self and the negative ego-state I was venting off. To always be able to write myself to some space of release, and to sometimes be able to write myself to a solution, or at least to a deeper level of insight.
For all that I could see the cost I was paying by last Monday, I wasn’t quite able to manage my time adeptly enough last week to reconnect with journal-writing* during the final crazed days of proposal work.
I finally cracked back into my journal last Friday morning. And the internal space and clarity I feel now that I’ve been back to this morning practice is palpable. It’s like I can almost feel that old-fashioned pen nib drawing the poisons out of me, like it draws ink out of a bottle.
This shift, last week to this, is loud enough for me that I’m going to consider long and hard in future proposal cycles — or other busy times — whether I can really afford to take this resource away from myself.
That particular question will actually be a study to take on sooner than later. We have a big family vacation coming up in July, and my sense is that the travel and excursion schedule may be sufficiently robust that morning journal-writing could be damn hard to accomplish. But on days where the morning routine doesn’t work, could I still commit to 15 minutes’ writing meditation later in the day? Before dinner? Before bedtime?
And once I experiment with the benefit of a daily journaling practice — independent of when in the day the writing occurs — is this something I can bring back home to use during crazy work weeks?
That’s definitely my prayer for tonight.
* I am still avoiding the phrase “soul writing” — I’m only about halfway through Conner’s book, so I don’t yet feel clear on 1) what exactly distinguishes “soul writing” from other forms of journaling; 2) whether my daily writing would “make the cut” to be considered as soul writing; and 3) whether or not I even want to reach that standard. For now, I’m talking about my journaling as “journal-writing” — ‘cos I know that term fits and is something I value.
Image credit: http://yogainmyschool.com/yoga-journal-writing-a-window-to-the-soul/