I don’t re-read my journal entries often enough. I went through them yesterday in a moment of boredom, and was rewarded with page after page of raw gold: insights surfaced in the moment and then evaporating from my memory, as if they were physically attached to the minutes during which they were written. Thankfully I kept a record.
After some internal debate, I decided to publish a few of these entries in this blog. A note of caution, some of it may seem a bit weird. Many years ago I discovered automatic writing: I pick up a pen, ask a question, and let answers flow through me. I’m not religious per se, and I have no idea whether what I’m writing is simply my own wisdom or I’m channeling something bigger. I just know that when I’ve really needed guidance, the Voice was always there to tell me things I would never have consciously told myself. It’s been gratifying to see other writers who do this as well: Eckhard Tolle is probably the best known, but Liz Gilbert also confessed to this method in Eat Pray Love.
I worry about posting stuff like this. I worry that it will be too woo woo… you know what I mean by that, right? I’m an uber-logical person who ticks the “spiritual but not religious” box. I am decidedly not into crystals. Astrology sets off my bullshit meter, but I have fun with it and occasionally it makes me go hmmm, maybe. I resist reading the life-after-life books that my mom keeps persuading me to read. But then I write stuff like this that rings true deep in the marrow of my bones. It calls me back to a time when I was more open and receptive and in love with what cannot be explained.
So, post I will. Partly because I’d like to “open the kimono,” so to speak, on this process of personal transformation. But also because…well… (looks down, shuffles feet)… god told me. Or my intuition told me. Same thing?
The below entry was written in transition between Estonia and Riga when I was wrestling with the sense of urgency to be productive and figure out my remote-worker revenue model: in other words, to be as busy as Western capitalist society has programmed me to be. But I’d reached a point where I knew this busyness was unproductive: that I needed some time to do some real soul-level excavation first. One big step backward to enable two, three or even ten steps forward.
I was wrestling with the need to be as busy as Western capitalist society has programmed me to be.
You’ll be able to tell when the switch happens from my own conscious effort and the effortless flow that I call The Voice. My handwriting, at first relatively neat, becomes an urgent, pressing scrawl by mid-second paragraph, full of underlines, circles and stars.
“Writing is what I need to be doing now: bearing witness to my life, pain, happiness… allowing the logical left brain to serve as a witness to what’s going on in the subconscious depths of the right brain. Perhaps this “bridging” between left and right hemispheres is what talk therapy was originally designed to do but has lost its way; there’s a vast gap between theory and practice. it’s so much easier to stand on the sidelines and analyze emotions rather than dive in to re-experience them and by doing so, release them.
Publish your writing: this is truth being channeled. You’ve been discounting it, but this is work. This is THE work. And when you go deep enough into what really matters — not this corporate bullshit but the work of the soul — this is why you are here on this earth. This is meat for your soul. Not the petty cravings, not even the photography and travel. Feed your soul. Do the work you are here to do. Put yourself in a monastery if that’s what you need in order to focus: this is the work of your life: to peel away everything that is not you and enter the flow. Stop all the advance planning: you will see. Open the clenched hand. This is the practice every day — whenever the temptation arises to dive into work that is not your work, at least not right now, or to escape into Facebook or fantasy or a nap, or to try and control life — we are called to let go. Let go. Let go. This is why devout women and men drop to their knees: not my will but thy will be done: every minute, every second, overturning, overriding the ego, the small fears. This is the path of your soul across lifetimes. It’s a path you’ve run from. You’re still running. All of this distraction from the real work to which you committed long ago.
Let go. Let go. Let go.”
And then the following poem flowed from my pen:
the widest vantage point
has no fixed handrail.
Take the backward step
turn into another world.
another culture, country, life.
each step a wider view.
set down baggage as you go.
the journey is too long
to carry it all.
the path to enlightenment
is littered with the debris
of worthless trinkets
The way is hard
Not upward, but inward.
When I arrive at my next destination — Nida, on the Curonian Spit of Lithuania — I do exactly this. I open the clutched hand, and let go. More in the next post.
Dear reader, does this resonate with you? What is the work of your life? And do you journal, allowing wisdom to flow through you, to find out?
If you liked this post, I’d appreciate a like, comment or a share. It tells me I’m on the right track with writing what rings true to the heart.
5 thoughts on “Journal entry: The work of your life”
Beautiful words flow through you Jen. Publish all of it! The soul craves nourishment and
words that string together so eloquently through thought, feeling and raw emotion need to be read. And we feel it. So keep it up
and share it because you have a natural gift. A fountain of wisdom and a deeply curious intellect that is inspiring and thought provoking.
You could create a book in the midst of all your musings – even if it appears absurd. How I wish we could discuss and share a lovely bottle of wine!
With love and blessings to you…
thank you so much, my friend! I do have plans for a book, but letting the content emerge organically. I gave up on a structure until I can see where all of this is headed 🙂 Yes, someday we will sit outside again and chat over wine, for sure. I’m looking forward to it! Wish NZ wasn’t so far away!