Your Journal is a Teacher

by P. Braithwaite

20131004-083002.jpgWhen I was 19 years old, I picked up a pen and wrote a letter to myself. It was an angry letter — filed with criticism, self-hatred and anger. When I was done I cried. I didn’t realize that my relationship with myself was in such bad shape.

I’ve kept a journal to myself ever since.

My journal is an incoherent mix of letters, lines, poems and prose. There are sentence fragments. I write in different voices often giving myself advice. I write sideways. I draw pictures. I make lists. I don’t stay inside the lines. I never edit and most often I don’t even reread what I’ve written. My journal is a place to be completely honest with myself.

It’s not for anyone except me.

Four years ago I decided to undertake a four day fast. During this time, I drank water and some juice made of celery and lemon (or something). I did it as a way to meet my ego. I spent hours journaling about learning to curb my cravings and understand my thoughts. I don’t remember lots of details (I was probably delirious), but I remember journaling my way through the experience.

I was cleaning my apartment last weekend I found the old journal stuffed in my drawer, and opened it to a random page.

“What does Ole Patty have to teach me?” I asked.

This is what Ole Patty had to say:

“When you live without judging things as right or wrong…you truly come from the center and exist in this place of freedom. Restraint is simply the ego’s evil twin. The truth is that everything you do serves you. The service may be poor…it may ultimately kill you, but it serves you! When these things you resist cease to be appealing then you have transcended. Even as you resist and rage against them they serve you — helping you to discover who you are.”

And so it is.

Do you have an old journal? Ask it to teach you something and open it to a random page…