Friday, November 12, 2010

Lessons From Brazil: Lesson #4: I Need To Write

As many of you know, I got back recently from a whirlwind trip to Salvador, Brazil for the wedding of my beloved nephew and his wonderful wife. I was only there for a short time but it was life-changing. So I decided to start a short blog series called "Lessons from Brazil" to share about this trip, to help me to process it, and to inspire you.

When I traveled to Brazil a couple of weeks ago and fasted from technology, I wrote every single day, almost all the time I could, up to 6 hours a day. I wrote on all the planes, I wrote in my hotel in Miami, I wrote on my balcony in the posada in Brazil. I wrote every second I could get. I processed everything that happened.

I got a new Moleskine just for the trip, stamped it up, put washimatta tape all over it, and wrote in pencil. Writing in pencil is a pattern-breaker for me and so much fun. I'm definitely a fountain pen girl, so it was exciting to just write with an old-fashioned school pencil and keep sharpening it. I have continued this since I've been back, for much less time of course. I processed everything that happened to me, journaled about it all and asked myself other questions too--questions that would just pop up as I was writing. Here are some:
(1) What does it mean to live life as "valid" versus as an invalid?
(2) Will I go to ___'s funeral? Why or why not?
(3) Is it better to stand up for this person when they're railroaded by a bully when the bully will be offended and retaliate or is it better to handle everything privately behind the scenes?
(4) Do I confront ___ and ___ when they lie to me? Do I just let it go? Do I laugh and move on?
(5) What would it mean for me to "die with my song inside me"?
(6) How do I totally let go of my need to be a victim?
(7) Why does someone choose to live to hate? What do they get out of devoting their life to hate?

I would go back and answer those questions when I ran out of things to write in the main part of the journal.

Some of these questions are things that Chani and I would talk about. Now I journal about them.

I overdid it a bit on the trip but I'm glad that I did, because I have been resisting making time for simple journaling. I missed it. I do believe it is a need for me and not a want. Whatever it is, it is something I will continue to make time for.

Do you journal regularly, in addition to blogging?


laundrygirl said...

I love this post. It makes me wistful as I long for a time to slow down enough to do this. I always journal on the train when I ride up to see Derek and yet lately I have been daydreaming about taking a long trip on the train because it would be nice to just sit and look out the window and reflect as I write.

Olivia said...

Oh, I know, Kristine. There's something about "bulk time" when writing in that different things come out after 2-3 hours that you just don't get at first. I love the picture of you on a train writing and reflecting and staring out the window. It sounds so nice.

Yes, it was like that on my trip with the long plane flights and with the hours that LoveHubbie slept in the room that I wrote out on the balcony in the heat (it felt really nice, a good heat). In fact, each day would feel more like a writing day with various interruptions for events...then I'd just get right back to writing.

Okay, and if you ever want to make a long trip on a train you know where you can come, right? Up here!


patti said...

Your very own writing retreat in Brazil!

I agree, travel is a fantastic opportunity to write. I went on a short train trip recently and wrote quite a few pages on my observations. It was fun to read it much later.

You have some serious questions to ponder there O and I guess the answer to some of them is to be assertive (not aggressive) when tackling them. Stand tall!

I love the idea of writing with a pencil and I hope it's your 'song' that you are writing!

Keep the flow going!!

Olivia said...

Yes, Patti, it was indeed that!

Another train writer!

Yes, I sit and really ponder the answers to those questions and write them out. Sometimes it takes several sessions to get the answer. Or some questions vegetate for a while until I'm ready for them.

Manual pencil writing rocks!

I hope that it's my song that I'm writing. I think so. I haven't answered that question yet :)

Thanks, Patti. Blessings and rest and sweet mangos, O

Jane said...

Fabulous post, Olivia! I journal every day and have for at least 20 years. What I find that frustrates me is that sometimes I seem to find myself writing about the casual mundane stuff in
my every day life. I want to go deeper in to my journal writing. My meditation mentor is always stressing the importance of writing EVERYTHING down. I subscribe to this:

Each week I get a journal writing prompt in my email. Sometimes I print them out, cut the prompt out and put it in a big cup. I'll randomly pick one out and write when I need a little challenge :)

Olivia said...

Thanks, Jane!

How wonderful that you have journaled for so long. You know, what may seem mundane to you now may be poignant to you later. When I think back on things I miss about the past--loved ones, my dear dogs, details of a life spent with CFIDS--I don't know, the little ordinary things I used to mull about would be sweet now. I too like to write everything down.

Even lists. For example, we are having some things repaired in the house and I like to make lists about pros and cons of what we should do.

Anyway, thanks for the link and the ideas, xoO

Carmen said...

oh i love tape i love tape i love tape, i have to follow that link
and yes as a matter of fact i do love to journal ;-)
hugs Olivita!

Olivia said...

Carmen, It's such great tape because it's Japanese and it lays almost totally flat in the journal, so you can use a lot of it and it won't affect your writing in other places. It's pricey, but a little goes a long way, and once you've made the investment you can go to town! Good to see you here, Carmen, Blessings, O