Early morning. Low light and birds beginning to sing. Church bells ringing, roosters crowing, the sound of plumbing from other homes vibrating through the adobe walls. And me, wrapped warmly with a rebozo around my shoulders, sitting here writing, scratching pen on paper in no clear format, and for no one to see but me… this is good stuff. Good medicine if you will. A chance to clear. A chance to clarify. A chance to let go or open up. A chance to just ramble or rant. A chance to wake up and get the creative juices flowing.
Creativity is one of the most under rated but joyful and expansive parts of the Whole You. Yes, you are creative. Everyone is. Only not everyone has honored this part of themselves. Likewise, most of us have had our creative side squashed along the years. It’s not practical, we are told. It’s not real. It’s not going to get you anywhere. It’s a waste of time.
Time to turn those all around.
Let’s start with that last one.
Creativity is NOT a waste of time.
In fact, it’s time well spent and an essential part of each us that usually doesn’t get enough, if any, time.
So guess what? I’m going to suggest you start taking time. Exploring, excavating, or maybe just touching the surface if that’s your place to start. Fine. As long as we do it, and stop leaving our creative side neglected and feeling abandoned.
Here’s one the most wonderful ways to begin. The Sacred Journal.
Your Sacred Journal. It it Your Sacred Space to start awakening and nurturing your creative energy, and in the process, flowing through maybe nagging thoughts, awesome ideas, dreams, hopes, wishes, prayers, or even gripes and grievances. What you write about is not important. That’s totally up to you. Maybe even up to the pen. Just let it flow. What does matter is that you write. Not because we all have to be writers. On the contrary. This is not the time to be working on the Great American Novel. Your Sacred Journal is just a chance to open, let it flow, and let it go.
It’s a good idea to bring this up now, because the Sacred Journal is a powerful tool that can help you through this journey – or any journey – and beyond. And like meditation, this one may sound super simple, and feel wicked hard. At first. Especially that part about taking the time for oneself. And yet, that’s kinda the point of this whole Rite of Passage. It’s about growing up and learning to accept, love and care for ourselves. And no, dear ones, that is NOT a selfish thing to do, though many of us have been told otherwise. Caring for ourselves is responsible. It means we are committed to our well being. It means we’re less need of the care of others (though we sure as heck can still choose to enjoy it). Here’s the other important thing to remember: the more solid we are in our selves, the more we have to give to and care for others. So please, care for yourself as if life depended upon it. It does.
This is one of the greatest tools for slowing down, diving deep, and creating clarity. Journaling.
If you haven’t become acquainted already, I’d like to introduce you to The Sacred Journal. At least that’s what I like to call it. Call it what you will. Your note book, diary, journal, morning pages, little black book or big old glittery binder. What ever you choose to call it, what we’re talking about here is simply a space to release. It’s a place to pour forth, vent, clarify, take the time to put into words (or images if you like to sketch). You may see the blank page as a mode for opening and outpouring of the soul. Or a chance to vent and get clear on something that’s been on your mind that you haven’t taken the time to confront. Maybe you’ll write about what you did yesterday, need to do tomorrow, or how you’re feeling right now. Maybe you’ll use this as a place for creative expression and write some poems. Who cares if they are good or bad – no one need judge because no one need read. Which brings us to the matter of privacy.
This is your safe space.
Keep it private. And trust that it will be kept private. Don’t ever share with anyone unless you choose to. And assume that others will respect your privacy and not take a peek. Anyone who deeply loves, honors and respects you will respect your space.
Otherwise, there are few rules or requirements. Only this suggestion to make the most of it: commit to a daily practice. Or almost daily. As often as you can. Don’t sweat it, but do honor it. Because what you are really honoring here is your self. Try to set a time and make it part of your daily ritual. Maybe first thing upon waking, or during your morning coffee, in the evening with a cup of tea, or at the end of the day while lying in bed. Maybe carry it with you and get in the habit of jotting words down whenever you find a few moments of quiet time or a chance to escape.
Your Sacred Journal (that’s what I like to call it) can be a powerful tool for transformation. It may help you find a little bit of reason, understanding, clarity. Perhaps it’s by taking the time to write, which slows our thoughts down just long enough to get from mind to hand to paper. And sometimes, that little pause is enough.
Your writing need not be the Great American Novel, just a quick blurb of emotional outpouring, or anything in between. It can be whatever you want it to be. The point is the process. The doing. The act of clarifying crazy thought into the written word, messy as your writing may be. No one’s going to see it but you, so make it as messy as you want, or as fine and fancy as your choose. Yes, once again: it’s your choice.
I have kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Years ago I burned a bunch of them that remained from my teenage angst years, but mostly I keep them, move them with me in a box that collects dust and grows heavier with the years. I don’t know why I do it, but it feels like the right thing though they remain unread, tucked away somewhere beneath stacks of old newspaper clippings and worn Levi jeans.
My journals have been a space and place in which I can vent, unwind, express, explore. Some days it’s about creative expression and the poetry flows; other days it’s about me getting in touch and in tune with a dark mood or a concerning situation. One of my favorite things to write about is simply what I see. We live in a beautiful world, so writing about what I see from window or out on a walk, when at home or travellin, is often a beautiful expression with words. Look around you now. If you can’t see the beauty right away, writing about it may help you look closer… and find it. (It is there, everywhere, and in every person.)
Without judgment, criticism, expectations or demands. Just write…
You need not be a writer. Journaling is a tool of expression and exploration. It’s about filling the page instead of cluttering your mind. Journaling is also a tool any creative mind uses – and the feminine IS creative. So though you may not have taken the time to express and explore your creativity in the past, now is a good time to start. I ask that you honor yourself by trying. Use it as you will. Write about your day, your dreams, your gripes if you will. Write poetry, stories, or write the words of wisdom you wish you’d here right now. Write about what you see out the window, or what you feel inside. Write about your lover, your mother, your dog. Just write.
The first step, and this is a fun one, is to treat yourself to a special notebook and pen. Stop into a gift store or shop on-line for something that feels good in your hands and is pleasing to your eyes. If you prefer simple, a lined spiral notebook will do the job. Then find a pen that moves you. And then, begin moving that pen, and start writing.
What should you write? I’m not big on the word “should.” There is no “should” here. Write whatever you want. Write about what you see. How you feel. What you made for dinner. Your perfect date. The grouchy man you met in the elevator that you actually made smile. The dog you pass on your walk to work and wish was yours, or are so glad it is not. Write about the weather. The grey clouds. Your grey hairs. Anything. Or nothing at all. Just hold the pen over the open page and let it hover. Chances are, it will begin moving. Seemingly all by itself.
Throughout this journey, I’ll share prompts and ideas to get you going if you’d like. Take them or leave them. Maybe you’ll find your own inspiration from my words, or your own life. Be open. Look around. Receive and play with whatever comes to you.
If you can write every day, Wonderful. That’s really the key to making this work. Commitment. To yourself, to the exploration, to the creative opening. I know finding the time is not easy. And yes, there are always a pile of excuses larger than the laundry pile and longer than the grocery list of reasons why you can’t find the time. All the more reason to make it happen. Because this one is for you. I encourage the Sacred Journal as one of the most powerful tools for getting through, appreciating, learning from any process of great transformation.
Once again, this journey is not about perfection, but acceptance and understanding in the process of expansion. Treat yourself lovingly. Write when you can. Hopefully it will become habit and you’ll miss it when you’ve missed out on a daily entry. If it helps to set aside a special time where you can be alone to think and write, that usually helps. You, know, the routine thing. Maybe wake even earlier to find a few minutes to yourself. For some, at the end of the day, writing in bed, is the best way to unwind.
The Sacred Journal is a time to reflect and release. Taking the time to put things in writing can be both honorable to your inner wisdom and helpful to clarify your mind and soul. I call it Sacred because I feel it is. These are your words, your expression, your release. A space and place that is all your own that will not be shared with any one else, ever, unless you so choose. The moment we share our Sacred Journal is the moment we open up a part of us that may not be made for sharing. Every woman can have a place that is solely hers. Let these pages be your space. If you care to share, take an extra moment to be certain that what you wish to share, and with whom you wish to share is safe and feels right. If you have any doubt, wait. Or write that piece out separately and share at another time. Honor your own space. That aspect of privacy allows for tremendous opening, and you may find yourself tapping into deeper places within your heart, soul and mind that you have not dared to touch before. You can. Here in your Sacred Journal, you are safe. This is yours. Your space. All yours.
Enjoy it. Play with it. Have fun. And… write!