Sunday, February 07, 2010

Finding words

My friend is finding it hard to find words. She has cancer and keeps a blog and has been advised that she should keep writing however hard it might seem. Jonathan Edwards wrote some words of consolation in a letter that I have been reflecting on as I pray for my friend.

I think finding a safe place to put our words is a good practice. I have often advocated here the benefits of journal-keeping and it seems timely to do so again. Recently, I have read Leading from the Inside Out and here is what Samuel Rima writes about journalling:

"The practice of keeping a journal involves putting one's life down on paper....as a clarifying process: "Who am I? What am I doing? How do I feel about my life, my world? In what ways am I growing or changing?"
If there is one thing leaders [or anyone for that matter] need as they pursue self-knowledge and understanding, it is the ability to clarify the fears, motives, insecurities, and other emotions that lurk deep beneath the surface of their public leadership persona. Keeping a journal forces us to be honest with ourselves, warts and all. In our journal we can finally explore our inner rumblings and give definition and shape to them. The safe confines of our journal can help us admit to feelings of jealousy, selfishess, and pride. Within these therapeutic pages we can feel free to identify those inner urges and compulsions that drive us. The simple act of placing them on paper, in black and white, reduces their power over us to some degree.
....However, your journal will only be helpful to the degree that you are honest with yourself. It is important to remember as you keep a journal that the river of self-deceit and denial runs so deep and swift that your initial attempts to ford it may end in getting swept away by the current. There will be a constant temptation to paint yourself in the most favorable light. The urge will be strong to simply leave out some of the uglier and more negative behaviors and actions. When you succumb to these urges, you are being swept away by the current of self-denial and deceit. Just the act of journaling will not be helpful if you cannot be honest and probe your inner recesses. But rather than becoming discouraged and quitting, you need to persist until you are finally able to walk through the depths"

To start a journal I advise two things.

1. A moleskine
2. A copy of How to keep a spiritual journal by Ron Klug.

Then you just need to start writing.

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