A morning meeting with my writing sisters–two women with whom I am writing a book about the communal act of journal writing, called “Writing Alone Together: Journaling for Creativity, Compassion and Connection within a Circle of Women”. After our delicious conversation, I felt inspired to share the following entry from an old journal.

I so enjoy the process of rereading my journals. In this entry I appreciate my poetic articulation of the exploration of thoughts and the contents of the mind, as if it were now and I had just returned from last month’s meditation retreat. It always amazes me to see how themes are retold and remembered in different journals.

The photos were all taken in the summer of 2006, during a time when I had taken my journals down from their place on the top shelf of my closet and was reconnecting with them.

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December 24, 2006

First Entry, first words in a new journal. Always so exciting to start anew, to tell my life again in a new book, to “tell it” with these “slant”ed letters that love to fall out of my fingers like kisses to the ivory complexion of the page. Over and over I bend my lips toward its open face, touching down. Touching into a self that is always changing, learning, growing, shedding, embracing, emerging. An endless current that carries my many complex emotions, sensations, explanations, year after year, from moment to moment.  I sink the pen into the rushing water, seeking a place to stand still as the white force curls around me. Stillness is illusion though as within the next breath the self that is standing has disappeared, another one having taken her place.
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These journals are temporary shelters, like the tents of the Jews who wandered forty years in the desert. I too have now been wandering this earth for forty years come this February. Lately I have been marking up this house of pulp less frequently. There is big movement happening. New locations haunt, take place of paper, screen that blinks and shines in colour. Easier to edit, to make words ready to be shared.
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Not in a rush to get it all down as I often have been after not writing for a while. Instead I go slow, let the outside penetrate the inside, percolating… feeling with all of it. mind is quiet. Music speaks louder. I watch my thoughts and wonder why they are so full of judgement sometimes, so soft and unconditional others. I watch my thoughts. The practice. Here. I put them all out in front of me so I can see them clearer. Where does the thinking come from? What assumptions underlie it? Whose rules, values are perpetuated by the thoughts I think? Are they really my thoughts or thoughts that raid my mind? Or thoughts of a thinker who is me? And not me?
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What happens when I am willing to let them go, to detach from them, to not claim them as mine? How did someone else’s thoughts get into my head? What are thoughts? Where do they come from? Where do they go? Why do I let them lead me sometimes and then refuse to listen to them other times?
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Why did I get so excited about letting myself buy those boots? Like I was accepting a whole other part of me, saying yes to my beauty, my funky styles, my “ranchy, rugged & sophisticated” self. Who is that? How can a pair of brown boots do that? And they do. When I look good, I feel good. Although looking good has begun to incorporate other values-warmth, comfort, friendly to the earth, not too expensive.
I write to claim it all, my thoughts and their influences; the joy mixed with suspicion for the pleasure I receive from clothes and the beauty of fabric, colour, poise; success with the sadness at how tied I am to the material culture that exploits, objectifies.
Here is always so much going on. The river’s boisterous current.
Where to stand?
How to plant each step safely, with anticipation for the next uncertain landing? The wind, the breath are constants as I write, flow, wonder, allow the questions, curiousity, commitment, stay open to lightness not taking the self too seriously nor the mind.
Willing to contradict myself, to leave whole sentences undone, unended.
Starting as a fool and finishing or
crescendoing as the dancer – joy of movement, learning, change.
Being willing to change, to think in a new way.