I filled up my journal today, which is to say that I wrote on its last empty page this morning. This was a journal I have carried around with me since 2007. I still remember the first time I spotted it on the shelves of the TBC bookshop in Sarit Center. It made me laugh, something I still do to this day whenever I pick it up. On its cover are images of sheep standing upright (shamba la wanyama style) along with the line – beware of the sheep :-).
2007 is also the year I purchased my first laptop (still in use to write this post). And with the laptop came more typing and less hand-journaling. I have never been fond of writing by hand, in fact I often joke that if handwriting was a determinant then I should certainly be a doctor – they of the illegible prescriptions fame. Believe me its bad, I can hardly read some of the thoughts I put down in the journal.
Yet I still love to write in my journal. Reading through the writing brings me many wonderful memories as well as insight into how far I have come. It also offers a wonderful birds-eye perspective of life in general. With powerful reminders that God does work everything out for my good, that nothing in this world is permanent or repeatable, that I am much stronger than I think I am…it’s never the same on a computer. I have lost numerous intimate reflections to reformatting and bad organization (mostly because I cannot remember where I last saved them 😦 ).
Handwriting can say a lot about a person. During my short stint as a teaching assistant of 7 year olds, I remember being taught to pay attention to how they write…especially on the blackboard in front of the class. I learned that writing straight on a blackboard wall has a lot do with being truly centered. Centered here referring to that balanced peaceful place where one has a healthy image of themselves and the world. At the time I was going through a disillusioned phase and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep my writing horizontal. It would always slant, sometimes upwards but most times it dipped downwards. I know it’s not an exact science but isn’t it interesting how our unconscious actions can point to the state of our inner mind/heart?
My bowling experience last week was some-what like that, actually worse than that. I was a bowling group’s horror. My ball would start out in the center and about half-way make a contour toward the pit on the side of the aisle. It would have been a perfect curve-ball for a soft-ball or cricket game. And the ball was right, I was bowling exactly as I felt. Tired, frustrated and emotionally out of sync.
It’s hard to remain centered when things are happening that I would rather were not. Being centered here means taking in information without clouding it with expectations or fear; instead making creative, intuitive decisions whose axis is the knowledge of myself as God’s beloved. It’s even harder to feel centered when a full day has provided me no time to digest my feelings or give perspective to my fears. On such days ”faking it till I make it” is what I tend to do.
And this pretense feels dishonest and deceitful. Much like lying, pretense makes us conflicted and weak. Conversely, truth and honesty are associated with strength and peace. We see this in lie detector tests or even hand-wrestling. If you want to win an arm wrestling match, ask your opponent to repeat something personal that they also know to be untrue. It can be anything, just a statement…like “I have never lied to my partner.” Try it, they will not be able to push against you and lie at the same time! Again, not a science but in my limited experimentation, spot on.
Doesn’t that make you want to be more honest, more truthful, more fearless, more centered? It makes me want to find that place where I can hear God’s voice of truth most clearly; where I am in step with the world around me; where I can counter anxiety or frustration with God-centered belonging and love.
Any ideas on how I can do that? On a busy demanding day, how do you keep yourself centered?
Song Of The Week – I choose to be dancing – Donnie Mcclurkin