These may seem like a simplistic questions but I know how much I have not acknowledged myself in the past. I know how much I have hidden beneath a facade that I thought would acceptable to others. I want to dig below that facade and find the truth. Of course, that begs the question, 'What is the truth?'
To answer that question requires daily vigilance and a daily concern for my own well-being. The issue that concerns me most is how to carry out that process of daily vigilance and concern. Doing it for a time is relatively easy, but doing it continuously requires a complete shift of how I see myself and what I do on a daily basis.
I get a journal every year as a Christmas present. My intention, every year, is to write a page a day of my thoughts and my life. I have been on this trail for ten years now. The first year is more or less complete but later years are more empty than complete.
The year starts well and then peters out. There are months of empty pages with occasional bursts of activity. What is stopping me doing such a simple exercise?
I am aware of what is happening but I still have not got to the bottom of it.
I feel a resistance when I am writing in my journal. I love writing and am enjoying writing these daily posts but somehow using a pencil and writing on paper seems to be a different matter. Why?
I do not feel that the resistance is to do with revealing myself, after all I am revealing myself in these posts. Maybe, though, this form of revelation is carefully constructed with a structure I have control over. Writing in the journal is more freeform and has no structure, other than a day a page.
If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you.
I read this quote when reading about writers and journals. In the article Maria Popova said,
Journaling, I believe, is a practice that teaches us better than any other the elusive art of solitude — how to be present with our own selves, bear witness to our experience, and fully inhabit our inner lives.
That statement makes me want to get back to me journal and be with myself.
Andre Gide said, revealingly,
A diary is useful during conscious, intentional, and painful spiritual evolutions. Then you want to know where you stand... An intimate diary is interesting especially when it records the awakening of ideas; or the awakening of the senses at puberty; or else when you feel yourself to be dying.
A fascinating book on this subject is by John Steinbeck, 'Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath'. He wrote this alongside his masterwork 'The Grapes of Wrath'. In it he talks about the sole substance of genius being the daily act of showing up.
In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration. Consequently there must be some little quality of fierceness until the habit pattern of a certain number of words is established. There is no possibility, in me at least, of saying, "I'll do it if I feel like it." One never feels like awaking day after day. In fact, given the smallest excuse, one will not work at all. The rest is nonsense. Perhaps there are people who can work that way, but I cannot. I must get my words down every day whether they are any good or not.
I must get words down every day whether they are good or not. Here's to habit...
- Are you truly aware of what is going on inside you?
- What daily act do you resist doing?