“…If I get it all down on paper it’s no longer inside of me threatening the life it belongs to…”— Anna Nalick, Breathe (2 a.m.)
I heard this song years ago and these words have stayed with me.
I mention this quote at almost every writing workshop I lead because it rings so true.
“If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me threatening the life it belongs to…”
That said, not everyone wants to write their heart out on paper, let alone read it afterwards.
My own sister thinks I’m crazy to write, store, and read my journals. She thinks it’s insane.
But for me, writing is my medium.
Writing is my channel.
To myself. To the divine. To my deepest truths.
It’s the best way in for me.
I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating why this is so and so here are some ideas that I’d like to share:
The blank page is powerful.
It’s the empty space. The void. The container. The nothing.
When you confront the blank page (whether it’s lined or not) you are confronting silence, emptiness, the divine, the source, your Self, your highest self, your lowest self.
Something incredible happens when you do. YOU start to spill onto the page. Your truths. Your secrets. Your shames. Your joys. Your loves. Your pains. All of it. And the thing is that this space, this blank page is amazing because…
it doesn’t judge
it doesn’t provoke
it doesn’t mock
it doesn’t criticize
it doesn’t shame.
It just holds you. It grounds you. It captures all your emotions, your memories, your fears that cascade like a crazy gushing waterfall when you let it flow out and like a bottomless pool it holds it all and every time you turn the page it holds more and more and more. There is no end to how much the blank page, this void, can hold.
And why the pen? Why words? Why writing? Well, I know there have been studies done on the transformative power of putting pen to paper, what actually happens in the brain when those words are released from mind/heart through hand/pen onto page/screen but I’ll have to revisit that to have anything worth saying about it. And I will!
But, for now, I just know that it works.
It’s worked for me for YEARS. I’ve been journaling for 31 years!!!!!
It’s my longest practice ever.
Now I’m journaling in groups, out loud.
And it’s even more powerful than journaling alone.
The thing about this practice is that it always meets me where I’m at. And it never gets mad at me for abandoning the practice for months at a time. And it’s there when I return like a benevolent mother with open arms and a listening heart, always.
And it’s so simple because all you need is a pen and paper. That’s it.
So as life goes on and I continue to be humbled by this practice of writing,
I am always remembering these words by Anna Nalick—
If I get it all down on paper,
it’s no longer inside of me
threatening the life it belongs to.
I hope this practice of Getting It All Down On Paper serves you as much as it has me.