macrj-journal

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When therapy and pills aren’t enoughwhen the time has passed to merely “cope”when secrecy is only intensifying pain what remains?

Everyone has their own stable of go-to answers. Lately, I’ve been contemplating the beginnings of my own Goddess Circle, a la Danielle LaPorte, although I’d probably come up with my own, I’m-a-little-woo-woo-but-okay-not-that-woo-woo-yet name for it — because I need that kind of support in my life. I want women to talk to on a regular basis, and not just periodically on Skype, as much as I love my Skype ladies. (& I’ll let y’all know how that goes, or if I persist in being a capital-H Hermit.)

Writing is another one for me. Writing fiction has gone on the back burner these days, as much as I hate to admit it; business-type things have come to the forefront of my life right now, and I haven’t found my groove with this second book yet, as much as I’ve tried to wrestle my schedule into the shape of something that looks like it might accommodate a novel. When I do work fiction into my days, I feel wonderful. It’s not a guaranteed wonderful, and half the time I spend hours with two paragraphs that I end up deleting. Part of the process, of course, but damn if having a completed blog post isn’t more instantly gratifying.

I’d also, shamefully enough, taken an unintended break from journaling. How strange that my habit of journaling should be cut short right as I was beginning to create and launch a restorative journaling course, but that’s what happened. My soul-friend J had invited me to join a journal-sharing circle early this year. Along with a select group of others, I mailed out typed-out journal entries and sent them into the void, via post, for months. We were not to comment on one another’s journals. No matter what was going on in each other’s lives, we didn’t email — didn’t call — didn’t try to reach out. Or maybe the others did; who knows. As far as I know, it didn’t happen.

But with the blog, guest posts, and other forms of writing that I’ve been doing, I’d already been feeling like I was forever typing to an audience. My journal was beginning to feel the same way; every time I wrote in it, I was imagining the silent circle of readers that would be receiving it in the mail, and later, reading thoughts that I actually wanted to keep to myself.

I didn’t drop out, though. It wasn’t until the shit hit the fan over and over again — and I’m not counting the previous half-year of psychosis and its variously complicated medical dramas, which tells you something! — in early September that I realized just how much journaling had fallen out of my life. I got hold of a new notebook. I started writing again by hand. I was walking the talk that I’d been talking about restorative journaling because I knew that if I did it, I could find a voice that could not speak anywhere else in my life, no matter how loving my family is or how lovely my friends. It was my own voice, and it needed to unburden itself without the anxiety of a readership. Later, I sent a resignation email to the journal group, and that’s basically what it said.

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Registration for Rawness of Remembering: Restorative Journaling Through Difficult Times ends this week. It feels to me both as though I’d just launched the thing, and also as though I’ve had it launched forever. Regardless, this is the final week for you to get on board with a fine group of folks and li’l ol’ me. We’ll explore the wild and woolly world of restorative journaling together.

I’d previously shared a sample lesson of Rawness of Remembering online, but took it down. Today, I’m bringing it back so that you can get a tiny taste of what I mean. The lesson is my answer to the question, “What if I don’t have time to journal?” and “How am I supposed to figure out how to do this on a regular basis?”

This is what one registrant, MKD from Boston, has said about “Growing the Journaling Habit”:

“When I started journaling, I started doing it to write, rant, and rave about my depression, anxiety and everything else… I wrote freely and without abandon. Over the years it became more about what my blog LOOKED like and all the design and widgets, and an over-concern with who might see it. I lost my ability to write. Since your course preview, I have written every day to answer the prompts you suggested – and it has turned into so much more. I don’t want to stop writing at 5 minutes, I go, and go – sometimes rambly but it feels good to be getting it all OUT again. And the thing is, once I write it freely I then seem to be able to paste it into my blog easily (so much less important to do this). Day One [Ed. note: This is a program that I suggest using in the class] made me feel safe again in my writing, and your prompts feel like the doors to Pandora’s Box.”

Click here to see the video, and its accompany downloadable PDF, for yourself.

As a reminder, this post is one of three pre-scheduled posts for the week, as I’m actually on holiday right now. You’ll see Alexandra Franzen here on Wednesday, talking about her secret superpower, and Sui Sea Solitaire here on Friday, with a beautiful mini-essay and series of film photographs from times gone by.

Stay gold,

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