WRITING FOR CONNECTION – #WednesdayWisdom #AshWednesday

JournalingToday, I need to write, to lay out in words on a page the cacophony that has taken up residence within me.  Not writing too often leads me to bouts of irritability, depression or sleepless nights. I used to write in a journal every night before I went to bed. That was years ago, before kids, before I married. I lived alone. No TV, no phone, no close friends.

PATHWAYS

Writing in a journal led me down such interesting paths in those days. Each night, I grabbed my notebook and pen and climbed into bed, eager for a conversation with a caring friend. I began with whatever came to mind, often with no particular forethought. The process of writing loosened my unconscious thoughts and opened the floodgates that kept me locked within myself. The more I wrote the lighter I became and I eventually flowed into exhortation and prayer. When I put down the pen I felt stronger, a bit more whole, my spirit solidified.

‘the world will never starve for want of wonders;
but only for want of wonder’

I believed the Divine was alive in me then, as I do now, alive in all of us. We simply need to find our point of entry.  Writing became my vehicle of communication, a daily dialogue with the great beyond. I was not clear where the two worlds met other than in that very private and personal space. It didn’t matter. Inner peace is worth a few unanswered questions.

I set down my pen for years. Lost in the world of doing and becoming. The connection weakened. The communication severed.  I could not find a way for the two realities to meet. I experienced this great divide for the first time after returning home from church camp. Longing to share my experiences I reached out to the one person I thought would understand, my mother. She was unable to cross the bridge from her world to mine and the wall between my experiences and the “real” world thickened. Eventually I gave up trying to talk about it. Doing so only made me feel more alone than I already did.

THE GREAT DIVIDE

This great divide ultimately led me into a very dark place. A psychiatrist named it Clinical Depression and gave me medication. The pain dulled and once again I reclaimed my place in the world. This world. Dwelling here in finitude my focus shifted to more mundane matters, a career, a marriage, children. My connection with myself and with the Divine lay in a closet somewhere out of sight.

Many years later, a mighty swing of the hand of God put the pen back in my hand. Even now I stray and wander as I always have, but with each passing year I come to understand more deeply the connection between my soul and the written word. It is my life blood, my vehicle for expression and connection with myself, with others and with the world of Spirit.

I still choose not to question too deeply and instead choose to rest in gratitude for all that lives within each of us. The spiritual path is a practice that requires leaning into, embracing and accepting our yearning, our sense of incompleteness as a fundamental human drive for a deeper connection with all that is.  The strength of the longing and the fact that it exists in all of us is proof enough to me that it is a path that we all must travel in our own way.

“In my life, writing has been an important exercise to clarify what I believe, what I see, what I care about, what my deepest values are. The process of converting a jumble of thoughts into coherent sentences makes you ask tougher questions.”  ~ Barack Obama, 44th President of the U.S. 

 


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About Dorothy Sander

Writer.

12 Comments

  1. My favorite line: “a mighty swing of the hand of God put the pen back in my hand.” Thanks for pointing out the power of the pen, pencil, or computer keys.

    • Some days I think I’ve almost forgotten how to physically write! When I do, however, it feels quantitatively different from typing on a keyboard. The author of The Artist’s Way insists on using pen and paper for morning pages and yet I resist. It slows me down. Perhaps, that is the point. Thank you for showing up at the top of the feed this morning. I’m always happy to see you here and hope life is settling down for you and that Spring is in the air or soon will be in your neighborhood!

  2. Thank you for this validating post. I have been journaling daily for several years. In my journaling, I explore my deepest thoughts, emotions and beliefs. I confront my most intense fears and doubts. I gain immeasurable insight and clarity. Because this journey of life is a process, I revisit some issues over and over as I inch my way toward understanding and transformation. I am grateful for the gift of writing and the ability to use it for introspection.

    • Well said! You describe succinctly my experience as well. Thank you for the reminder that life is a process, a journey of transformation and growing understanding – a journey that goes on for a lifetime. I am grateful for all of it and grateful that you stopped in and shared your thoughts. Have a wonderful day, Billie.

  3. Excellently written!! I so enjoyed this! I feel very much the same way but must use art…painting, illustration etc as my “way” as I have no talent with the written word. That being said however, I’m trying to find a way to express myself using a bit of written word along with an illustration as a way to talk about my person experience. I’m thinking that I just celebrated a most difficult 70th birthday which really took me back a step. Perhaps I could do a project of observations of the human condition in this my 70th year. Kind of like a memoir but not necessarily only my experiences. I just wanted to say thank you for such beautifully written thoughts. I would like to know who did the illustration? I can see the signature but, can’t make it out.

    • Any means of creative expression is a form of communication. I so envy artists like yourself, Linda, because I have no artistic talent and yet I think it adds so much to express multi-dimensional experiences and thoughts. Music as well. I love the fullness of music in verbal expression. I love your idea of combining words and art to express your recent experience. Some of my favorite books over the years have done just that. I read from such a book when I conducted my mother’s funeral. Like art, words are symbols and we don’t need as many as we think! I tried to track down the artist in order to give credit but was unable to. I linked the pick to the source and am still working on finding an answer. If I find one, I will let you know. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m so happy you found my words meaningful. If you do put together your art/writing project, let me know!

  4. Beautifully written thanks for this reminder. I have been journalling for years and as a yogi it helped me deepen and inspire my practice. Through the yogic concept of self-study, someone wrote (paraphrasing here) “Your journal, like your mat, is your refuge, a place to let your guard down and discover who you really are and celebrate that discovery” My journal and my mat (practice) also completes the spiritual connection for me.

    • I love this! What a wonderful union, Linda. Expression of body, mind and spirit all rolled up into one. As I woke up from trauma, I re-discovered my connection to my body and the need to allow it to speak. Finding an avenue of expression has been on my mind lately. I am getting stronger each day physically but am still reluctant to begin. Fear. That’s all. Yoga is on my list, as is some form of expressive dance. I need a class for over 60 beginners! 🙂

  5. That quote by Obama is what I believe about my writing. Without it I would have no connection to the world. Great writing, Dorothy!

  6. Dorothy, your words are more beautiful than poetry as they are going straight into my heart, stirring it, producing a sound, which I can only associate with a musical instrument melodious beyond words! Some words resonate so well that they can only be felt and you have chosen them today. Thank you for this…”the connection between my soul and the written word. It is my life blood, my vehicle for expression and connection with myself”…I could sense that connection! Reading and re-reading this post. 🙂 Love it.

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