Reflections on beginning a blog.
I can’t tell you how many times in my years of work I have encouraged a client to journal. Recently, I received a response from a client that I’ll admit threw me off. We were discussing death. Clearly, not an easy topic, but as you get to know me better you’ll learn I rarely encourage easy. As we wrestled with this topic I asked her to take some time during the week to journal about it. She scowled, lifted her top lip in dismay and said, “Ehhhh, I don’t like journaling, it always seemed like a bit of a liability, don’t you think?”
I laughed out loud. That may have been the best response I’ve ever received in reference to a journal entry. And I had to admit, she was on to something. When I started to think about it, I realized how many times I have thought to myself; “man, do I hope no one ever gets their hands on my journal. I’d prefer this never be seen.” I’ve even thought I might like to have a journal burning at some point to get rid of all those incriminating thoughts and ideas I’ve placed on paper. So yeah, she is right: when you write words down there is power in that process. I guess we wouldn’t journal if it didn’t help us work through all those thoughts and feelings. But at the end of the day how many people would actually like to share their thoughts or feelings with anyone but those pretty little journal pages. I’ve always been impressed when I’ve asked clients to write journal entries to share with me. I’m honored by their trust and vulnerability.
This client’s response pushed me to take a look at myself, as often happens in the therapeutic relationship. I challenged my client and in turn my client challenged me. What a beautiful energetic balance can be achieved if done with integrity and acceptance. As I write my first blog post and consider sharing it with others it occurs to me how accurate my client was when she was referring to journaling as being a liability. Willingly sharing my journal entries with others is something that seems counter intuitive. I have a whole box of journals in my mother’s attic from childhood. My first was “The Beezus and Ramona Diary.” Anyone remember that book? Yes, I’m dating myself. I’ve had some good laughs as I read back through that one. And today I think of it fondly as I write this blog a.k.a. journal entry.
I’ve spent years trying to find my voice, as they say; submissively in past romantic relationships, vigorously as I fought against my father, and quietly as I struggled within myself. Looking back, I tested the waters with so many people, some kind and some not so kind. But where was I able to authentically be myself? In those numerous journal entries there were things I wrote on those pages I could never say aloud to someone else (or so I thought at the time). And for this exact reason I am excited to share with you because finding my voice took years of not hearing it. Finally feeling the confidence and freedom to share is liberating. It’s been a tremendous journey full of ups and downs and with hopefully many more ups and downs still to come. No more hiding myself or showing what I think people want to see. Here in these entries I share myself with all of you. The things I’ve learned about so far. Lessons from travel, heartbreak, love, death, loss, beauty, freedom, sorrow, joy, religion, spirituality and the list goes on and on.
You’ll get to know me as I’ve gotten to know myself. And I hope that sharing of myself will open the door for you to share a little of yourself. That makes me think of one of my favorite quotes by Frederick Buechner from his book Telling Secrets:
“What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are…because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing. It is important to tell our secrets too because it makes it easier…for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own.”
If you need someone to share with, I am here and ready to share with you too.