Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Journaling the Journey: Open Up

Today's post is by Deb Lewis:

As I wrote last week, some of us FCC folks have committed to regular journaling in this Advent season. As a small group of us met on Sunday afternoon, we found that we were pretty successful, having at least written in our journal on most days. It helps me to have made that commitment to myself and to others, and also that the commitment has an endpoint on Epiphany. On the other hand, I’m hoping (and maybe beginning) to find such joy in the practice of journaling that I’ll keep it up!

In my message last week, I wrote about “showing up”, with journal and pen and a block of time in mind for writing. This week, I’d like to go a step further and write about opening up. Many of my journal entries this past week centered around events or something I had observed or heard. But to open up means paying attention to the source of our words so that we can be “open to them”. Of course, words may come from many places – things we see or hear, our experiences or memories, our longings or joys, our relationships, and on and on. Sometimes, though, we may feel as though the words are coming from a special source deep within or beyond us. We may notice this as we write, or we may not realize it until we read what we’ve written, and ask ourselves, “Where did that come from?”  This special, positive source has been given many names – our muse, inspiration, our soul, the wellspring of words, the Source, the Voice, the Holy, God, Spirit,… However we may choose to label it, we know that we are given a special gift as the words “just flow”.

Are there ways to open ourselves so that such a spiritual depth may be reached in our writing? Several books that I am reading say “yes”, that we can at least encourage it (although we should not take it for granted that it will always happen). One suggestion is to go through a ritual to start and to close your writing time. It can be as simple as going to a quiet place and lighting a candle before writing. Another suggestion is to begin with prayer, asking for the words to come that you need for this day. It may be helpful to follow this by starting to write in your journal as quickly as possible with whatever words come to you – just keep the pen moving, then the source of inspiration may influence your words. Read and think about what flows from such practice to be sure that it isn’t leading you astray. But the words may surprise you with new insights and needed clarity.

Blessings on your journey,
Deb Lewis

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