“Peace comes about when one party recognizes the narrative of an antagonistic party and sees its point. Peace presumes the capacity of one party to enter in some way into the experience of another.”
— James Carroll, author of Jerusalem, Jerusalem*
Many of you know I’m on a mission to encourage every citizen of this planet to write your story.
You don’t have to publish it if you don’t want to.
Some stories are content to curl up in a hearthside chair and rock a grandchild to sleep. They send personal messages to your descendants who won’t have the pleasure of knowing you.
Other stories scream from the rooftops for freedom and justice.
Sharing our stories inspires deep empathy, allowing us to–as James Carroll puts it–“enter in some way into the experience of another.”
And even before sharing, the writing process itself opens us to new perspectives. Writing is both cathartic and nourishing. We release pain and receive inspiration. We might empathize with the person we used to be, make sense of familiar patterns, and find beauty and meaning in places we never supposed that we could.
Write for peace: first for yourself, and then for another–in the present or the future–and maybe for the world.
If you journal only sporadically, or monthly, or weekly, you’re tempted to be significant or profound–or silent. I’d been at that for years when I heard a Sunday School teacher compare scripture study to manna, saying you need your daily bread every day, and it doesn’t keep. Great–I had that habit covered.
Then my inner teacher butted in: “Are you ready to journal every day?”
Uh-oh. It took me hours on Sundays to catch up every week. How could I do that daily? But I accepted the order–I mean, invitation.
Daily writing is easier. Memory is clearer, event list is shorter, being present (rather than caught in past or future) is more likely, pressure to pontificate is off. Later I worked through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way with her Morning Pages practice: three pages of stream of consciousness before you’re totally awake. It’s not writing; it’s brain drain. If you’re remembering laundry, that’s recorded for posterity. (Lucky them.) Once your drive to be poetic is thwarted, the real thing has a better chance of showing up.
Daily blogging is working! Instead of waiting to be inspired, I just do it. I go both deeper and broader–more personal and wider in topic range. And what do readers like best? Those beat-the-deadline-just-because entries. We can all identify.
Posting daily is a small way to put my own practice first, even when deeply immersed in the writing of others. It keeps my antennae tuned for ideas all day. And it exercises those courage muscles. Hey, I just showed you another rough draft. What other brave things shall I do today?