Friday, July 15, 2011

Write to know what you know...

I stumbled upon this quote from John Henry Newman 
'I think that writing is a stimulus to the mental faculties, to originality, to the the power of illustration, to the arrangement of topics, second to none. Till a man begins to put down his thoughts about a subject on paper he will not ascertain what he knows and what he does not know, still less will he be able to express what he does know.'

I know for me that writing is a time where I am steeped in knowing that I am not alone in this universe.  
In this private time of grief I cannot now share ...but this affirmation of how part of prayer a writer's words can be. 

for David

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Boundaries in Blog Land

Ah, time to write...I'll just start a post and even though I 'll have to save it and add to it later, it will be like a  magnet to draw  together some of the thoughts that pass through so quickly unless I  pen them down as able.  Even if capture is incomplete, I stand a chance of some themes coalescing. 

Nothing got posted here in June. 

 I wrote and then typing in the near dark early one morning, deleted one June post I had considered calling "Weeds for Words" about the seasonal mandate of the sprouting earth and how weeding, planting and pruning had usurped keyboard time.  Living in a garden and being outside is lovely and of course it is the keyboard that should be considered the usurper.  My handwritten journal has not suffered for entries but it seems to become more and more a sequestered reality.  A family death, concern for the next generation, strange dreams, stranger encounters, political observations, cultural clashes: I can bring  a proper light to such subjects, but the first dashed thoughts  usually need to at least marinate for a while.  I would never do in the world of journalism  where the rush to scoop beats many factors  of much greater importance.  

Boundaries are important. 

 Often times boundaries are viewed simply as restrictions, look at the implications of the word "sequestered"  used above: to isolate or hide away or to take legal possession  of...  but in fact,  clear boundaries can facilitate clarity and freedom.

I wrote recently to one of  the dear hearts of my life how impressed I was with her increasing ability to use words to describe her inner terrain.  It struck me  what a growth it is to keep the internal terrain in a gentle focus while juggling the multitude of external demands. Boundaries are inextricably tied to one's ability to do and give in the world at large and then retreat to recharge.  There is a difference between giving of yourself and not giving yourself away. 

Although I didn't post here in June, I read many other people's web log entries.  I try to be generous in my willingness to  respond and comment.  I suppose I have scattered an essay or two across the blogosphere at the feet of other's blogs... that's the opportunity available to us: sharing and encouraging and being encouraged and learning from each other.  I hope soon to reference to and highlight of few of the blogs I have found noteworthy.

 While writing and reading blogs I've thought a lot about the  dilemma of personal censorship.How does one  identify internal censors, blinders, screens, misbeliefs? How does one sneak up on one's self to get a good candid shot?  It's a good trick, to lay down some of your defenses while you write about them in all their ardent hiddenness at the same time.
The delight of self encounter in the very act of writing is good stuff.   Balancing requires that one neither be too easy or too hard on one's self...  
 Ironically, our internal restraints, judicious restraints,  are part of potential openness and relaxation, we must say "No" to protect the "Yes" we have already committed to.
And sometimes the best of the candid shots are for our eyes only... and our shots of others...our understandings of others...respect and compassion for self and goes a long way.  But not restraint to the point of not sharing, not giving...

What exactly do I mean by judicious restraints and boundaries?  I don't mean internal police. I don't mean a ball and chain.  I don't mean political correctness.  So many negative stereo types exist...

Trust is an important part of judicious restraint. I see internal surrender that then allows us to be free because we can trust we are barefoot where we should be barefoot and well shod for other terrain. It's the restraint that knows how edgy reality can be and even when I'm not paying super conscious attention to it, it informs me where the edges are. It's a restraint that is at the ready, you can climb mountains with it and when you start to slip the instinct leaps in every muscle. It needn't rob you of moment to moment entering in; in fact I think it gives more energy for doing so.  

Yes, there is a beautiful field of wild mountain flowers that one can reach without  as the old saying goes, "throwing all caution to the wind."
Other adages come to mind, we learn not to throw out the baby with the bath water and  not to overcorrect on a curvy road.
The body is a great teacher of boundaries. We are "fearfully and wonderfully made."  The cells, as I  remember their description from long ago biology classes, have a wall that is a semi-permeable discerning membrane.  A healthy cell boundary knows how to let  the good stuff in and separate and excrete unusable components.

Our bodies know we should try to avoid toxic realities, not over extend ourselves, that we can't safely embrace or hold onto impurities.  There's no room for what doesn't support life as a  pure flowing exchange where it is nutrients in, waste out to build strong cells, strong tissues, further organized as organs of purpose...multiple purposes, co-ordinated with an over- arching goal of letting yourself be a real,vulnerable and safe, available  and composed,distinct and unique person; a valuable existence validated  by God's love.