Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Journaling the Journey: Show Up

Today's post is by Deb Lewis:

Some of us FCC folks have committed to regular (I’m shooting for daily) journaling in this “Journey to Jesus”. We write in so many ways that we take the gift of writing for granted: our grocery list, the note about tomorrow morning’s dentist appointment, and on and on. At least in a small way, any words put down on paper or on the computer even casually, briefly or of necessity (like the grocery list) say something about us.

But sometimes, many (most?) of us carve out a block of time and find a place, pick up a pen or sit at a keyboard, and allow our mind to walk through a door marked “Writer”. The brain engages hand, and the words are chosen. We might simply be recording a thought or observation – there, it’s down in black-and-white. We may wad it up and throw it away or hit the delete key, but even this has changed us, just for having walked through that door. On the other hand, we may save the words as a record because they capture something about who we are: I live, I am here, I matter. Our words become a milepost for our journey.

This may inspire us to purchase a journal and a nice pen (or set of colored ones to match our mood as it changes). A warning for those like me – I’ve done this, spent several dollars for a bound journal, then have hardly used it because my words just don’t seem worthy of recording in something so nice. So I’ve put my nearly empty bound journal aside and, since last spring, I’ve been writing on a yellow notepad. For the coming weeks of the Advent journey, I’ve gone slightly more upscale – a spiral bound composition notebook with cute puppies and flowers on the cover, an investment of less than $2.

Another problem that I’ve run into as a writer, whether of poetry, journaling or other forms of writing, is soon bumping into my internal censor or critic. You know, the one that says, “You can’t really write.” “This is a waste of time when you ought to be doing ____.” “Your spelling or grammar are too ‘atroshus’ to be a good writer.” “You just can’t get your thoughts together this morning, so why bother.” “You’re too busy to write right now.” So in my journal (and the small group of us who met this past Sunday afternoon did this, as well), I imagined a form for my censor/critic, drew it on the inside cover, then took a red crayon and X’ed it out. My censor/critic is banished, not welcome here – or at least that’s my intent! (We’ll see how it goes…)

So with this introduction, I invite you to journal your journey in this Advent Season! And, if you want to share your experiences of journaling, and learn from others on the journey, I invite you to join us on Sunday afternoons! [A slight note of caution here, though: don’t write your journal with the thought that you’ll be sharing your words with us directly from it – that’s a cue for your censor/critic to show up.] Pay attention and take pleasure in whatever you write, whether journaling or otherwise – even your grocery list! But this Sunday we’ll also start to explore how we can be open to the holy and write with deeper meaning.

Blessings on your journey,
Deb Lewis

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