The greatest vignettes that I love to write about are the times of love in my life. Not only the people I love or have loved, but the things that I love. One way to approach this topic in your writing life is to make a list of the different people you have loved in your lifetime. This list could be divided into categories such as a romantic loves, friendships, family, etc. Now you can also make a list of the things you love to do. What are some things you love to do but are maybe now no longer physically able to do? Who are the pets in your lifetime that you have loved?
Stretch yourself a bit further and focus down on the loves you have loved and now no longer have. Tell about what you have learned about yourself in each of these relationships. In these relationships, are there some that you wish you could just erase completely from your life or are you thankful for the lessons you learned through them?
I recently taught two classes for Inter Valley Health Services in Palm Springs. My first class was on journaling for beginners and cowards and then I taught a class on the ethical will. I love teaching the ethical will workshop because it reminds me of how important the words we speak and the words we leave behind are. I spent the entire two hours sharing about my gift of the ethical will and what it was that I wanted to leave behind.
Words in our lives are so very important. What are some things you would like to say but may feel like you can’t? If you try putting them into a letter or your private thoughts into a journal you may be surprised about how much needs to come out.
As I was leaving the class I got a sweet text from my (almost) 21 year old son that said: “I love you mama. Just wanted to say that.” Of course that warmed my heart since I had been thinking of all 4 of my kids while teaching the class.
The beauty of the ethical will is that it is not a legal binding document, but it is really a love letter that you write for your family. What are the hopes and dreams you would like to see all of your offspring achieve? What do you hope they will realize about their life that you see that you want them to also see. What about your family traditions do you hope they will remember? What would you like for them to cherish?
As I write these love letters to my friends and family I will leave these behind because I want them to know I cherish each of them. Remember words are so very important. Who do you need to write to? What are those things you wish you could have said to those who are no longer a part of your world?
This picture of my sister and me reminds me of all of the choices we have in life. I smile as I see this picture and it looks like the pepsi can is as big as my head. I can’t believe we used to drink soda as a kid, but we did. Look at your life today, what are the choices you have to make? Some of the choices are so simple, such as orange juice or apple juice…chicken or fish…coke or pepsi…
But in reality, we usually have some pretty tough choices to make in life. I have spent my last two blogs talking about who we really are. We do have the choice of what face to show to the world. When you are smiling on the outside, what are you really feeling on the inside? Can you really go deep within and see what is it that you are feeling?
Do you feel safe to cry or scream or shout? How do you handle loss? Can you express yourself clearly. I was reminded today of the importance of journaling as I taught a class at the Inter Valley Health Plan of Palm Springs on the importance of journaling. You have a choice of what it is you want to say in the privacy of your journal. Are you angry? Happy? Sad? Fearful? Write it down…don’t censor yourself, this is for you. When you spend time journaling, you give yourself a gift of reflection. Remember, this is a gift for you. What I have journaled these last several months have been many hours of self reflection and examining what has happened in my life. I have come away with a better sense of awareness and love for me.
What choice do you have to make today? Is it a big one? Are you ready to reflect upon it in the safety of your journal?
We have a choice of who we surround ourselves with as well. Today in class Pat read a beautiful piece she wrote about her friend Joy. It was a gift she gave to the whole class. We can choose the people with whom we hang out with. There are basicaly two types of people: lifter-uppers and puller-downers. We have a choice as to who we will be and to whom we will hang out with. Spend some time examining who you spend the most time with.
Journal today about your choices and experience a new sense of freedom!
Write to please yourself. Let yourself become a part of the story. But here comes another one of those signifying “howevers.” Boasting is a bore. Write about yourself with confidence and pleasure. But make sure all the details-people, places, events, anecdotes, ideas, emotions-are moving your story steadily along, taking you where you want to go without bragging, being defensive or upstaging.
Disentangle yourself from the ghosts. Stockpiling those disparaging memories defeats and hurts you. Besides, they take up too much room. I’ll tell you a secret…contrary voices suffer from middle-age spread. The longer you keep them, the more they will swell to become bigger and uglier until they consume all the storage space in your head, crowding out not only your creative instincts but, worse, the confidence to expose your singular voice and view. Fortunately they shrivel and shrink in the light.