Last week Hurricane Matthew came barreling down the eastern coast of the US and for hours it looked like it was on a direct path to hit my home town in Florida. Evacuation orders were given well in advance. I did not fear for my family’s safety, but I did not know if I would ever see our home again.
Last on the list was…”irreplaceable keepsakes.”
As I dug a hard-shelled suitcase from the garage, I thought “How do I fit my most treasured possessions in a 28” Samsonite bag?”
In a trance, I walked around our house, letting items that could never be repurchased or replaced, call to me.
- Red champagne flutes that toasted our first wishes for a happy marriage
- Our wedding album, marriage document, and other photos I did not have on my computer
- 2 of my paintings that helped me get through tough times
- Our children’s favorite stuffed animals…
Gently packing up these things, I knew I could start over if our house was lost in the storm.
Suddenly, I remembered one of my most prized possessions hidden in a Chinese wedding basket…the box of my journals. Journals of different sizes and shapes. Some plain, others decorated by silk cloth or funny foreign cartoon characters. Torn and tattered, I’d keep these journals since I was 16.
The pages of these oddly covered journals recorded some of the most exciting and darkest moments of my life. Those journals were my salvation, my best friend, my confidant and adviser at a variety of stations on my life journey.
- They held my teenage angst over wanting to fit in and be liked.
- They cried out for my deep desire to be close to God.
- They captured the new and wonderful ideas I learned as a college student diving into symbols and world literature.
- They freeze-framed the moment I met and fell in love with the boyfriends I thought were my soulmates…until I found the one who was.
- They held the love and tenderness I felt when first holding my babies in my arms.
- They captured my wonder and astonishment as I traveled to new countries, and immersed myself in foreign food, languages and art.
- They brought the magic of my vivid dream world to life as I wrote down and then processed my nocturnal dreams.
I could not leave those journals behind even though I haven’t read them in years. They held the seed of the person I was and the person I've become.
Writing as a sacred practice
In high school, college and the years I spent abroad, it was easy to find IDEAS to write about. Like a sponge, my mind longed to soak up the ideas and experiences spinning around me.
Back then it was also easier to find the TIME to write. Now as a wife, mother and entrepreneur, time for myself is a rare and precious luxury and I usually use my free time to simply relax.
However, because I’ve experienced such profound benefits from journaling, I know that journaling moves us beyond relaxation and creation…journaling is an act of transformation.
So even with my current busy schedule, I have found a way to create a journal habit that yields both fresh ideas each month and shows me a way to slow down and honor time.
The Moon Journal
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you might have guessed…I keep a Moon Journal and I write every new and full moon.
I do this because the moon helps me connect to my own watery, emotional, feminine nature and by watching the ever-changing shape of the moon, I’m reminded that I’m forever changing too.
Using the timely rhythm of the moon as a guide is not new. We’ve been doing it for years to determine when to plant and harvest.
Women are connected to the moon through our cycles of 28 days, and we can use this sacred rhythm as a reminder to connect to what is truly important in our lives. Like a farmer who uses the moon as a guide for when to plant and harvest, you can do the same with planting and harvesting dreams, desires and goals.
On the new moon, honor yourself by letting go of the past and setting intentions about what’s desired in the future.
During the full moon, celebrate and record all that has been achieved or received and then decide how to celebrate these things that day. You can also use the brightness of the moon to discover what needs to be “illuminated and cultivated” and what needs to be “illuminated and eliminated”?
Free time is an “irreplaceable item” in our modern and busy world. However, through writing you can slow down time by capturing and highlighting what really matters in your life. Regularly checking in with ourselves helps us make the most of our “one wild and precious life”.
On this full moon, I’m celebrating the gift of life, family, friendship and on still having our home to come back too. As I sip dark, red wine, I’m also celebrating the precious memories of my journals and the gift of transformational writing.