Had another whirlwind weekend. Drove three hundred miles, attended a wedding, made a one-of-a-kind gift, manufactured another, celebrated one of those milestone birthdays, saw and hugged old friends, and family, played with my granddaughters, found tears in my eyes several times, and laughed uproariously far more. Talked with lots of people, yet didn’t have very many really meaningful conversations except via long distance on the phone.
And now its already Tuesday and my head is still filled with flashing images of people, antics, words spoken in passing, surprises at the changes I encountered, and a whole load of reflective type material to write about. The problem is picking one and staying with it long enough to make sense out of it, or hopefully resolve it. It all flashed by so fast, some of it making deeper impressions than others, and trying to sort that all out looks overwhelming to me. Especially because life continues and demands constant attention.
I did fill journal pages during those few days, but they are far more notes than anything coherent. Lots of dots and dashes to simply help me remember some of the things I want to go back and consider on some deeper level, only to find myself sidetracked by things and people that had nothing to do with what actually went down during those few days of hectic movement.
I had an interesting conversation with a close friend who happened to be the bride at the wedding I attended. She said that although she knew all of the people who attended, there were moments when she felt that she didn’t recognize any of them and couldn’t remember most of the day at all. In a similar fashion, with all that running, greeting, hugging, and surprises, I felt exactly the same way.
We discussed how although there were hundreds of photos taken, we might look at them later and not remember the moment they had captured. That is where my journal may be the more efficient manner to hold those memories.
Before I write my daily page, I reread what I had written the day before. That often leads me to explore something mentioned in the reading. Too often, photos are not developed immediately and the time lapse between the taking and the actual viewing is filled with more moments that have meaning as well. And although the human mind retains all of those moments, they do not always easily surface or appear on demand.
That in turn, means that months or years might pass and suddenly we remember a flash of memory but lack the framework that gives it context. Can’t remember when that happened and why we were involved in the first place. How it actually came to be. The details are muddy because we were moving through them too quickly to take notes. They become no more than flashes in the pan that although valuable, get missed because we are simply moving too fast.
I can’t say it enough: my journal holds the threads that help me stay sane, if indeed, I can be defined as sane at any given moment. That all depends on whose definition we might be using in that moment. I prefer mine in most. Those glimpses of gold nuggets in all of that mud certainly help the process. They create the context of all that mud and hold it together until I can ascertain its true value. After a weekend, like this one just past, I need that.
What is the process you use to find meaning and value in your own experience? Do you sift through all that mud and just throw your hands up in defeat? How do you stay sane and remain in contact with who you are and truly wish to become?
We make choices everyday. Those choices are informed by all of those past moments we have experienced. If we don’t take notes, make mile markers in our journey, what exactly do we base those choices in? The emotional whim of the moment, or the accumulated nuggets we have extracted from all the rest of these swiftly passing moments? Do you make space for the sorting process? How do you do that?
My journal is not the only way I choose to do that, although I think it is the most important one. It forms the basis of the other ways I store those nuggets as well. Writing a poem is far better than a photo because it often captures the emotional level within that distilled moment. The images I create in my sketchbooks do something very similar as well, but allow a much greater level of interpretation. Interpretation that allows for more than a one-dimensional view.
Collage is also another favored process in which the layers of meaning can be aptly portrayed and reflected upon. Song lyrics run through my mind on an almost constant basis. They can be some of those gold nuggets of immeasurable value in a manner that these others can not do, often suggesting deeper emotional attachment than otherwise suspected.
The gifts I create and manufacture do that for others as well as for myself. A piece of me lives in each one and is a tangible proof of my passage. And my journal, more than anything else, most often holds the first glimpse of those mud-covered nuggets, inviting me to a closer look, a sorting process that never really ends.