The difference between thoughting and thinking, writing and communicating, and how they all connect us all.
I’ve been thinking. Not just musing or ‘thoughting’, watching the drift of thousands of tangled images and ideas dance or dart through my mind, but actually thinking. I’ve been thinking about the process of journaling this past week. Mostly because I couldn’t do a lot of actual journaling, having been saddled with a 3-day TMJ headache (i.e. excruciating nerve pain with nausea and vomiting) and the ensuing exhaustion and malaise. Actually, I couldn’t even do any thinking during the headache, but now that it’s waning, I’m doing a lot of catch up.
I’ve been asked to lead a journaling workshop. Which is very cool. So of course I’ve had to think about what I do and how and why I do it and how I pass that on to other people in some meaningful and accessible way. I also got a lovely email from a reader who identified with my transition from extrovert to introvert but was dealing with concern about the disappointment or disapproval of others. And that got me thinking about the nature of how we get over things. This is a lot of thinking for one post-headachy, peri-menopausal, perfectionist woman. But of course I am recovering (on all fronts).
Twenty years ago, someone gave me a little blue piece of paper from a quote book that I have (figuratively) carried with me ever since. It had only seven words. What you can’t communicate runs your life. It has stayed with me in a way that few things have. Several years ago, I wrote and performed a one-woman show called How To Become A Diva. In it, I told the story of my life through anecdotes of my deepest fears and insecurities. I said everything about myself that I was afraid others were saying or thinking. It was absolutely terrifying. And it was incredibly liberating.
Speaking the unspeakable loosened the grip of all that anxiety, and my access was, and is, through writing. Getting stuff out on paper. Spewing the best and the worst of my thoughts and feelings into a beautiful book that has no judgement or expectation of me. A space that allows me to gently uncover what’s really at play — what really wants and needs to be communicated. As I give myself permission to say anything, the superficial thoughts float away and the timid truth begins to surface. To my journal, they are not good or bad. Some are dark, some are light, some are heavy, some are frivolous, some are constant, some are fleeting. But all are clues. The voice of reasons. The sounds from silence.
When I allow the still, small voice to reveal itself, it speaks the questions I dare not ask, and guides me toward answers I would not otherwise find. This voice is not my persona or even my personality, but the core of who I am. That spark of Life, The Universe and Everything where we’re all connected. And when I shuck off all the rest, I can hear it speak. I can hear the truth of who I am and what needs to be expressed. And this is why I write. Because expressing the truth isn’t just freeing, it’s alchemistic. Even the nature of the problem changes. Perhaps this is where real thinking can begin. Thinking that makes a difference in our lives. Where the possibility exists that there’s no longer anything over which to get.