My youngest daughter asked me today if I have a journal to which I replied yes. What do you write in it, se asked. Do you start with ‘dear diary’?
I have been writing a diary for over five years now. It all started when I was living in India, and had recently discovered the mess in my mind. I had just started my Yoga Teacher Training at the Yoga Prasad Institute, and I had a terrible cough. One of my peers recommended me to go see a homeopath. Most homeopaths have a holistic approach to health, so she was not only interested in helping me cure my cough, she also asked me a bunch of questions about my lifestyle and my personal life. I was actually in a quite tricky period in my life with a big mess in my head, and she recommended writing in a diary every morning after my asana practice. She recommended what is called ‘stream of consciousness’ where you sit in a quiet and calm place, set a timer, and write everything that comes to your mind during that set time. You just write, without a purpose, without editing, without even reading what you write. Just to let thoughts flow.
I don’t know how many notebooks I filled with words that many times didn’t make much sense. It was kind of fun sometimes. I would start writing what I was thinking so it had some kind of structure, but then moved to ‘it is hot’, ‘I am hungry’, ‘What’s that noice?’, etc. It was a very soothing experience. It often felt like I was ’emptying’ my mind, and sometimes I would reach a point where I would stop writing because nothing would come to my mind. This would last for a few seconds, but it was a nice feeling.
I don’t remember exactly when, but I was already back in Norway, when my Yoga teacher recommended I start a diary, and this time, he encouraged me to write structured and coherent texts, but allow my mind to express itself freely. I have discovered that writing for me is a very good exercise. It helps me digest what I learn about yoga, and try to apply it to my everyday life. It also helps me digest situations. I consider myself relatively slow when it comes to interactions, so I often see the whole picture better once I have taken some time and distance from the situation and I sit down with my notebook and pen. Writing helps me get to know myself better too although it has taken me some time to be honest in my writing and not write what I want to believe comes honestly out of my mind.
Writing has also taught me to be patient, understanding and compassionate towards myself, because it has become some sort of conversation between me and myself. It sounds a bit scary maybe, like I am slightly crazy, but, who isn’t?…What I mean with me and myself, is between my impulsive mind that functions out of habit, and the more reflective side of me who always tries to find what is beneath my emotions, thoughts and patterns of behaviour.
Writing has also helped me in many situations to detach. I remember once, I sat to write for the umpteenth time about a ‘problem’ I had, and going ‘wait a minute, I’m tired of this. I need to change my perspective, otherwise I will continue filling notebooks with the same old story.’ And I did. I decided that day to write about the same issue from another perspective, and gradually, I managed to detach.
This blog was born out of this habit of writing. I have to confess that it was my Yoga teacher’s idea. The purpose of it is to share my thoughts, share my experiences to whomever it may help or inspire.
So the texts I write here, often start in my diary, and then I feel like sharing them. The funny part is that during the last six months or so, I have been writing more and more in Spanish, which is my mother tongue. It has become more natural, after years and years of writing in English. My writing has become more varied, maybe. I write maybe with less certitude. Lately, I write about my doubts, but I also write a lot about gratitude. I haven’t been feeling that there is any blog material lately, but today I felt like sharing. One thing that I often write about lately is when I experience the magic of taking one step at a time and living in trust.
I was born a doer, I think. Or maybe, I grew up to believe that I ‘have to’ do. Most of what happens around me feels like my responsibility which I know is nonesens. During the last few months, I have been consciously choosing to sometimes not do and see what happens. Not because I don’t care, but because I have come to realise that it is impossible to have everything as a priority. In addition, I am not getting younger, and I honestly notice how I have less energy now than ten years ago, so I am learning to spend my energy wisely. For my own well-being, but also for the well-being of those around me. I am more patient and act from a better space when I feel rested. So, when the to-do list becomes impossibly long with more than one item that needs to be done almost at the same time, I choose what to prioritise, I focus on that and I hope for the best, and you know what? It almost always works like magic! Some of the items are taken care of someone else, or they are removed from the list, or I realise that the world doesn’t go under if I leave some things for later – or for never…
So back to my daughter’s question. No, I don’t start my diary with ‘dear diary’, and I don’t write every day, but I go back to it quite often. What I write varies. I sometimes write a quote and my thoughts around it. I sometimes write what I like to call ‘poems’, because I feel that what I need to express is so personal, so ‘strong’ that it can’t be put in many words. Sometimes, I write long stories, long reflections, and I still go back to stream of consciousness from time to time.