Friday, January 24, 2014

Throw Away My Journals?

"She always threw away her journals after filling up the last page. It was an act of acceptance, a way of releasing the past and finding peace." ~Moments of Joy and Pain, a Journal

Eleven months back, I did just that...threw away my journals. It wasn't easy to make that decision. I was loath to part with them. It was as if by destroying them I would lose a part of myself; my memories would fade and so a part of me too.

This wasn't the first time I had thrown away journals, oh no, I had shredded a few without any remorse or regret five years back and purged myself completely of memories of bitterness, resentment, and anger. At that point in time I had just come to a place of acceptance and forgiveness and it hadn't been easy getting there. Once in a while I'd come across these journals while looking for something in drawers and cupboards and I'd casually flip through the pages, more from curiosity as I didn't remember what was recorded in which one. As I scanned the pages something horrible would show up and I'd be compelled to read the whole account of incidents which although I hadn't forgotten, were no longer the subject of focus or attention. They were simply accounts of incidents like a news report or story that I was impervious to and as such they had no affect on me. I believed that. How wrong I was! As I read, the picture would emerge bearing all the anguish, sadness, pain, hurt, rejection, anger, resentment, and injustice that I had felt at the time of each incident or situation, and what I thought I had overcome, accepted and forgiven was actually not gone, but lying dormant like a reptile in hibernation. Just waiting to be revived and spring back with renewed vigour. I would relive the moments, and feel the emotions taking over and destroying my newfound peace and calm. Truth dawned: I had not really forgiven. To forgive and forget meant to forgive and forget the bitterness, the pain, the hurt; to shake off the negative feelings and move on. To say it was tough would be an understatement. I was battling myself. Finally faith, trust and spirit won and I was able to read each word and not feel the stirring of any unwanted and unwelcome feelings.

That's when the strings were broken and I was free. The journals went the way they should have gone a long time back. But as they say, "Better late than never."

To come back to the beginning again. Why was it difficult to discard some more scribblings collected, post the detoxing, over the years? These were not the 'Unhappy Diaries' kind of journals. So now it became a question of being cut off from my happy memories. Many questions, silly, absurd, and valid, cropped up. To my mind, of course, every question was valid and reasonable and every reasonable, valid and justifiable answer was out of the question! What if those wonderful, happy memories got wiped out...erased due to any reason, possibly amnesia or Alzeihmer's? It's so funny how even the lamest question seems so important when one wants to hold on to a crutch. So, an unnecessary battle ensued once again. I wonder at my proclivity for going to war with myself so many times. Long story short, 'joy' won! After all joy was in me, deep-seated, deep-rooted. I have a propensity to find joy in little things, in down times too. Tying my happiness to a few journals could not ensure recall if the thing that worried me most -  forgetting -  occurred! I carried those moments with me. As long as memory served me well, I would remember. So those went too. Am I happy? Can I remember and relive the joy? To both I say a definite yes, but to be honest photographs and videos do contribute in a major way! 

Have I done away with journaling? No, I haven't and I guess I never will. But things are different now. The purpose of writing is no longer what it was and that has made all the difference.

"Don't use your mind for a filing cabinet. Use your mind to work out problems and find answers; file away good ideas in your journal." ~Jim Rohn

Excerpt from Paulo Coelho's blog: On Writing.

"All creative processes, be they in literature, engineering, computing - and even love - always respect the same rules: the cycle of nature....Ploughing the field: The moment the soil is turned, oxygen penetrates places it was unable to previously....The process of interior revolution is very important - because, just as the field's new look will see sunlight for the first time, and be dazzled by it, a new assessment of our values will allow us to see life innocently, without ingenuity. Thus we will be prepared for the miracle of inspiration. A good creator must know how to continually turn over his values, and never be content with that which he believes he understands...Sowing: All work is the fruit of contact with life. A creative man cannot lock himself in an ivory tower; he must be in contact with his fellow men...He never knows, at the outset, which things will be important to him in the future, so the more intense his life is, the more possibilities he will create for an original language. Le Corbusier said that: as long as man tried to fly by imitating birds, he couldn't succeed. The same applies to the artist...Growth: there is a time in which the work writes itself, freely, at the bottom of the writer's soul - before it dares show itself.....It is this moment which the Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade refers to, when he states that we should never try to recover lost verses, for they never deserved to see the light of day. I know people who during a growth period, spend their whole time furiously taking notes on everything which comes into their head, without respecting that which is being written in the unconscious. The result is that the notes, which are the fruit of memory, end up disturbing the fruit of inspiration. The creator must respect the time of gestation, although he knows - just like the farmer - that he is only partially in control of his field; it is subject to drought and floods. But if he knows how to wait, the stronger plants, which can resist bad weather, will come to light with great force.Harvest: The moment when man manifests on a conscious plane that which he sowed and allowed to grow. If he harvests early, the fruit is green, if he harvests late, the fruit is rotten. Every artist recognizes the arrival of this moment; although some aspects may not have matured fully....he understands that he must work from dawn to dusk, until the work is finished."

With that I sign off.



  1. It's interesting to see how we move along on and process the journey, isn't it? I don't journal regularly, but I can understand how you would be reluctant to get rid of them. It reminds me of giving away clothes that don't fit, but you are tempted to keep them in case they might fit again someday. I suppose there are two sides to this coin, and benefits either way sometimes. Glad you shared part of your journey with us. Have a great weekend! :)

    1. Thank you Karen. I appreciate your comments and look forward to them. I like the example of clothes and do agree that there are two sides to it, I have experienced the usefulness, most times, and utter uselessness of clinging on to clothes! .