Jour du Journal: Facing despair

I didn’t write a “Jour du Journal” last week because I was in something I can only call despair. Its force, like a cold, biting wind, sent me staggering. The fact that it happened on September 11 or as someone close to me was herself up all night being assaulted by the brand new reality of being laid-off (unbeknownst to me until the next morning), may or may not have aggravated this storm. The story of the beaten baby I heard right before bed or the financial crisis my own family is facing certainly contributed. And it was frightening.

Christina Baldwin writes a whole chapter on despair and disorder in her book, Life’s Companion. She says:

A dark night is a shattering, confusing, painful experience that is also an ordinary, to-be-expected part of the quest.

She goes on to say:

And what despair requires of us is tolerance during the free-fall, and then the courage to take a leap of faith…. Despair is such a nearly universal experience among people who have chosen consciousness, that you and I would so well to accept it, name, and prepare ourselves as willingly as possible to submit to the process.

You can choose to give into the despair and forsake your dreams or you can use it to re-mold your life.

If despair comes to our own small lives, so comes the avenue for allowing it to deepen and change us.

Today, if you are in despair, in your journal ask:

1. The reasons I see for my current despair is…
2. Intuitively, I know this about my life right now….

If you are currently enjoying a positive time in your life, recall a time of despair and write:

1. The purpose of that desperate portion of my life was…
2. I see that it was a blessing in that…

I’d love to hear from you about your experiences with these journal prompts. Feel free to leave a comment (anonymously if you prefer).


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