As part of the two year yoga teacher training intensive I am taking, we have to write a paper and present a project. My project is about journal writing as a practice. Part of the research I am doing has led me to this book:
Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest
by Christina Baldwin
It is resonating within me with intense vibration; I feel like I might have been led to this book. And I have to share part of the first chapter.
We go to work, come home tired, make supper, do laundry, watch over the children, talk to our spouses or lovers or friends. There's nothing good on TV. We try to glimpse life's meaning in trips to the grocery store, talks about the weather, thoughts about how things are at work or at home and how are lives are turning out. We feel vulnerable and perhaps disappointed. Something has sifted under us that we thought we could count on, an assumption about reality we never named, and now it isn't there. We're trying to figure something out and we don't know how to help ourselves. We are waiting for the way to be made clear, only there doesn't seem to be "a way." We are alone with ourselves as we are, and life as it is, learning to attend to what Willa Cather calls "that which is about us always." This is a perplexing situation, but confusion in the way pilgrimages and journals most often begin.
Despite the pressure of the times, the journey cannot be forced to grow like a hothouse bulb. The best any of us can do is ready ourselves with spiritual openness that we have practiced during the lulls in our life, so that when the turning point comes, we have structure in place to help us decide which way to turn. We practice finding spirituality in the ordinary so that we may recognize it in the extraordinary.
What I think we are up to, we throngs of journal-writing pilgrims, is reclamation. We are searching for ways to reclaim a sense of place, a sense of empowerment, a sense of healthy relationship between our lives and times. We look for whatever can help us make sense of the moment.
Do you want to know why I come to this screen and write? This is why. We are pilgrims together on a journey. Pilgrims. Reclaiming our dreams, hopes, desires. Living.
What we are afraid to let out into the world, we can let out here. What we think no one else might understand, we can put into the universe through the written word. This is so powerful.
(on a side note: is there a book about journal writing that you recommend? Or about art journaling? Or about writing as a practice? i would love to hear from you if any come to mind.)