As we approach the end of another year, and the beginning of a new one, it’s a natural time to look back and remember, celebrate, and reflect on the last 12 months. What went right? What were the highs and lows of 2012? The surprises? The triumphs? The discoveries? What have we learned from this segment of our short, precious, and complex lives? Are there lessons that we can apply to the coming year?
Journaling is an exquisite tool for understanding one’s life, and looking back is a great way to continue to refine your life. What works? What do you need more of? What do you need less of? What new elements do you want to inject into your life? How do you want to make your life better? Speaking of new elements and making your life better…
NEWS FLASH! In early 2013–sometime at the beginning of 2012–we’ll be launching LifeJournal Online, LifeJournal which will run in the cloud from your web browser. LifeJournal Online has many of the same LifeJournal for Windows features (e.g. Journal Explorer, Prompts, Quotes, Search, Wisdom, Daily Pulse and more), and will be accessible online from Mac or Windows computers or tablets.
With LifeJournal Online your journal suddenly becomes available to you from any internet-connected computer, without installation, as quickly as you can connect to the internet and enter your user name and password. The price will be $27/year. Click here to be on the Grand Opening LifeJournal Online List. We’ll keep you you informed as we move forward to the next exciting chapter of LifeJournal.
Winter classes start in January!
I’m quite excited about our next group of online classes which will be starting in January. We’re offering a wide span of journal-writing-related topics: from love; to unwelcome change; to overcoming stress; to writing spontaneously in online practice; to working on a long-term projects. If you have taken an IAJW class online you know how engaging and enlightening the experience can be. If you haven’t taken an IAJW class, then I can’t impress on you enough how uplifting, supportive, and stimulating participants find IAJW classes. Click on the links below to learn more.
•Writing for Love with Roger Housden. Starts on January 22.
•Online Writing Practice with Judy Reeves. Next one is January 9; then February 6, March 6, and April 3.
One of the ways that we enjoy sweetness during our years is within warm, loving relationships. I want to introduce you to author Roger Housden who has an article about loving relationships in this month’s newsletter. Roger Housden will be the next guest at the IAJW members-only telechat on January 15, 2013, discussing Writing Undefended: Finding Your Truths. Read the article below to get a taste of his world view and think about how writing deepens and informs our relationships.
From our LifeJournal family to yours, wishing you a warm, joyous, and loving New Year!
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by Roger Housden
Any deep and intimate relationship, and certainly marriage, is a metaphor for life: it is a journey whose outcome we can never know, except that one day it will end. The journey itself, then, is the adventure, whatever happens along the way; even and perhaps especially when it does not fulfill all our expectations. Which it most surely will not. Given fertile ground, the joy and the recognition that drew two people together in the first place can mature and deepen with the years, but other guests, some unbidden and even unwelcome, will be bound to come to the table in time.
In the spirit of the journey, our task and opportunity is to welcome them all. Then the journey, being all that there is, necessarily becomes its own reward. The flurry of days that make up our lives, with their eating and laughing and crying and wondering, with their doubts and fears and joys, their successes and failures – this is all we have. Any lasting intimate relationship is an alive and dynamic entity that will carry its own wild cards close to its chest. Only time will reveal what those cards are.
If there is any note to yourself to keep in your pocket as you set out, it is to start along the way as you mean to continue: with the faith (to recall David Whyte’s poem in the last section) that your journey will take you where you need to go. For as Kahlil Gibran says,
…..think not that you can direct the course
of love, for love, if it finds you worthy,
directs your course.
And though the journey into love has been trodden by countless men and women before you, so that there are certain signposts along the way, each of our journeys is unique and special to us. To have faith in our love is to have faith in our own life’s unfolding, and in where it wants to go. What we can be sure of is that it will not and cannot be merely a story of roses. We have only to look at the workings of our own mind to see that there are as many valleys as there are mountaintops in the course of a single day. How much more of an adventure it must be, then, when two hearts and minds travel the same road together.
Kahlil Gibran, in his lyrical poem, On Marriage, advises you to travel that road while allowing spaces in your togetherness.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love
he goes on to say. In the early joy of feeling merged in a great love, it can seem as if you would never wish to step out of the euphoria that seems to gather the two of you up into one being with no boundaries between you. Wherever you are, it can seem as if your beloved is there breathing the same air as you, even if they are a thousand miles away. This is a beautiful and important stage on the journey of love, and it can return again and again down through the years.
At the same time, we will always remain distinct and unique individuals, with our own preferences and inclinations, our own longings and dreams. If we were to try and sustain the merging beyond its natural span, we would eventually become resentful and claustrophobic, sensing that our own life was somehow being consumed by the relationship. This is when love itself can begin to seem like a limitation on your individuality and your own unique path in life. You will always be distinct from your beloved even as you travel the same road. Part of the journey, then, is learning to be alone together, as Gibran says so touchingly in these lines:
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same
It takes courage to walk alone together; to fully embrace your beloved into your life even as you claim your life for your own. Courage, and also discernment and insight. Yet the rewards will be great; for a true relationship can only be formed not from a merged confusion of identities but between two distinct individuals.
The last image in Gibran’s poem takes up again the theme of relationship as a temple; a holy place which is constructed with pillars that
stand together yet not too near together.
It is an image that has stayed with me for decades; one that shows how two people standing side by side can support something larger than either of them; that depends on the capacity of both to stand on their own feet in their own life.
|ROGER HOUSDEN is the author of twenty books, including the best-selling Ten Poems series, which includes Ten Poems to Change Your Life, Ten Poems to Open Your Heart, and Ten Poems to Say Goodbye. He has also written four travel books, the novella, Chasing Rumi, and a book on Rembrandt, Life Lessons from the Master. This article is an excerpt from his latest book, Twenty Poems to Bless Your Marriage and One To Save It, published in December 2012 by Shambala.|
“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.”– David Viscott
“Love is, above all else, the gift of oneself.”–Jean Anouilh
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”–Lao Tzu
“A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.”–Joseph Joubert
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