What I think we are up to, we throngs of journal-writing pilgrims, is reclamation. We are searching for ways to reclaim a sense of place, a sense of empowerment, a sense of healthy relationship between our lives and our times. We look for whatever can help us make sense of the moment. We Write. (Christina Baldwin, Life’s Companion)
Dear Ms. Baldwin (may I call you Christina? I feel we are already friends):
Reading this quote today, I choked up. I’ve read it before and jotted it down for future reference but today it hit me, right in the chest. You see, Christina, I have gotten myself all in a tizzy.
I am working very hard to establish myself in this world. A very new world. A world of self-employment, in a unstable economy, in an unusual but emerging field: Transformational Language Arts. Most days I feel I am just shouting at the sky, HEY! People! I think you might want to listen to what I have to say! I can help you. Won’t you let me help you? I realize it will take time for society to see the value in the work I and my expressive writing colleagues are doing. But I network, I email, I provide free services, I blog, I Twitter, I Facebook, and still I see so little response. Many times I wonder why I keep doing it.
Despite this, on most days I still feel positive because I know in my heart that I am doing the right thing. I believe in what I teach and I know I can help people. I also know that those who need me the most will find me.
But the truth is, Christina, I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed by this monster I have birthed. I can’t just walk away from the little corner of the internet I now call my own. But it is pulling me under. My children, writing, time, energy, fun… these things are left floating above me while I drown in a social-media flood of my own making. I need to get back to the surface, catch a breath, gain balance and hold on tight to what I value and love – because ultimately it is these things that will get me back to shore.
But there is one thing I have not lost or neglected in this vortex: my journal. Each night and morning I fall on its pages as one falls into bed, exhausted and in need of rejuvenation. In particularly difficult moments I physically crave the respite I find there. My anxiety is high until I can sit with my journal on my lap and pour out my petty fears.
Because – yes! Christina – I am searching to reclaim. I need to reclaim my peace of mind, my self-confidence, my sense of who I am in this world when everything has become a little bit crazy. I am trying to re-find the “why” when I have gotten lost in the “how” and “when.” Looking for the path of Purpose and Meaning again when I have veered off into the jungle of Productivity and Profit.
I write. And I reclaim myself. And when I reclaim myself I also know I am meant to write. My authentic self is a writer. And so, Christina, I chose to write to you today to thank you for your meaningful, powerful words, but also for the pure pleasure of stringing words together – an act that both calms and re-energizes me. And when I place the final period I will know I am doing the right thing. To be given the privilege to teach others the incredible power of writing is worth every effort to be able to do so.