How difficult it is to leave behind the familiar…and how equally difficult it is to return home to everyday responsibilities.
For a few days, I live suspended between vacation and home. And though I’m quick to empty the suitcase, I’m less disciplined when it comes to unpacking my life — you know, the sorting of life experiences — taking stock of what the world is making of me … and what I am making of the world.
For whatever reason, I don’t possess the genetic make-up of keeping life simple. So my packed-full life works against me, to compress and shape me in imperceptible ways. Unless I unpack life regularly, I risk losing something valuable — perhaps an answer to prayer or some insight on truth. Even an essential part of myself. My saving grace has been my off-and-on again practice of ‘morning pages.’
Morning pages were created by Julia Cameron, author-teacher of The Artist’s Way. As their label suggests, they are written each morning and kept in a private journal. They consist of three pages in longhand with the first thoughts of our days, like the dreams we wake with, the worries which nag us or the wondering of whether we paid some bill or not. More brain-drain than art, they grant freedom to write whatever comes to mind. Nothing goes on the shelf for later.
Included as side-notes in her book are pearls of wisdom strung together; these extol the practice of unpacking life:
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance, they find their own order…the continuous thread of revelation.” — Eudora Welty
“It always comes back to the same necessity: go deep enough and there is a bedrock of truth, however hard. – May Sarton
“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.” –Robert Louis Stevenson
“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast—you also miss the sense of where you’re going and why.” – Eddie Cantor
“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.” — Margaret Young
“The life which is not examined is not worth living.” –Plato
“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” — Lao-Tzu
Write now: I’m wondering how these folks unpacked life.
I tried morning pages for the duration of working my way through the book but didn;t find they worked for me after that. I do something similar but not daily. As soon as I make something a daily practise, I sabotage it; better for me to do it when the urge strikes and not become locked into having to do it.
Are you happy to be home after your travels?
Home is always good, though still, I’m settling into routines. I’ve done a little gardening, a little cooking, a little writing, a little housekeeping — of course, the emphasis is on…little.
The only constant thread this week — other than the little of this and that — are my morning pages. They have helped clear my muddied thinking by helping me ‘tag’ those things that are playing chase in my mind. And three pages later, I’m home free.