A warm hello to each and every one reading this Beanbag Musings edition!
In dark times, the only light seems to come from those activities that give us some solace and peace. They could be the ones nurtured over years or those acquired as recent passions because of the almost surreal reality we all are facing these days.
Today, I would like to talk to you about one such ritual I have turned to over and over again in different phases of life. It has tided me over many a tough moments by its constant presence. It has challenged me and frustrated me but we’ve stuck together through thick and thin.
This letter is just a small reminder about the importance of taking some time off for yourself. To do something that you would be happy with…That embroidery left midway…That book gathering dust in the shelf…That half-written story…That recipe folded neatly as a creased bookmark in a forgotten novel…All could benefit with some attention…
Hope you can bring yourself to give it.
I’ve been flitting from topic to topic, unable to settle on any one of them for this edition.
Everything seems frivolous.
I dive deep into my stash of memories, trying to pick out some that have remained with me, made a mark, changed me in some subtle ways.
Halfway through writing about that, I drop it with complete disinterest. What is happening to me, I wonder? This was one space I could rely upon to help me calm down, give perspective, hope, humor, vent out. Now the lines still left to be filled seem like an onerous task to do.
I remember that first time I started a journal…I remember the faith in the process…that if I had a pen and some empty pages, the thoughts would automatically come, how wrong I was!
I sat on my bed, a soft cushion supporting my back against a hard, wooden headboard. Yellow light streaming from a lamp on my left, encasing me in a bubble of safety and warmth.
This was good, I remember telling myself. The house was asleep. I would not be disturbed. The words will tumble out and I would collect them in the pages of my new journal, scribbling at a furious pace. Yet, I sat there, frozen, riddled with doubt.
Would writing it down be a commitment? An implication? A witness statement, to be used against me by strangers? Will it be held against me if it fell in the wrong hands? Will someone mockingly read my childish sentiments out loud to a large and attentive audience to my utter shame and horror?
These thoughts were enough to dry up any enthusiasm I might’ve had of starting a relationship with ‘Dear Diary”.
However, I loved writing. The process of putting pen to paper gave me too much joy to just give it up.
I started copying quotations I loved and phrases that stood out in stories. I wrote down entire paragraphs from books that I was reading because the process was so magical. Nimble fingers holding a pen, moving flawlessly in a languid cursive hand over paper. Leaving a trail of tangible thoughts. So very beautiful!
Slowly, but surely, I started interspersing my own thoughts in between pauses of the words of others.
In doing so, I realise now, I developed a comfort with my diaries and journals. I never left sight of them. I built up a habit that I could turn to everyday, any hour of day.
I started writing about specific anecdotes, the memory of which was still fresh in my mind. Or I went down memory lane to places that no longer existed, yet seemed so real. I wrote about people long gone, those who I admired but never had a chance to say good-bye to.
They all came alive in my journals, bit by bit. Creating a world, I thought I had left behind, little knowing that it was all stored in me somewhere. It was waiting for me and it was a friend.
‘Let go, or be dragged,’ a practical saying goes…
‘It is not heavy, if you don’t carry it.’ Says another.
Wise words, said by strangers but loaded with meaning for anyone who cares to really understand them.
I seldom wrote about personal hurts or sorrows, but with the act of writing about other things, I changed my focus visibly and consciously. This helped me deal with different emotions without really confronting them head-on by committing them on paper.
I realised that it’s not me…and I was absolutely fine with that. If there’s one thing that constant writing teaches you, it’s to be accepting of who you are and what you like and don’t like.
To be authentic.
Just like in yoga, the mind calms down because attention is focused on each pose that one holds with calm and single-minded attention. So it is in writing too. After the scattering, comes the gathering and the centering. I have come to believe in the predictability of this process over time.
One finds an ally in blank pages. A friend who is ever-present and ever-willing to share with you the glory of sunrise, the miracle of moonrise, the heart-break in the world or the trilling of a new bird, that one can hear but not see….
All these become little paragraphs in my journal.
It soaks it all in. In doing so, it brings my attention squarely into this moment. This exact moment when the sun is just about to rise, the breeze is just picking up, the birds are just waking up and I am sitting cross-legged, trusting the process, as I have done countless times before…That if I can turn up with my pen poised on a new page, on a new day, a thought will flow through.
I have faith, that though on most days, they might not be worth recounting, on some days, they might just be.
Therefore, I write on…
There are several beautiful quotes that have found their way into my diary recently –
‘You can rely only on what you put into something. Do not create fantasies or expectations outside of your realm of control. – Daily Zen
This empowering quote is from Viktor Frankl, written in his 1946 book, Man’s Search for Meaning.
‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
It’s a joy to be a ‘travel partner’ for those who are on this creative journey! Attaching below some super creative & imaginative work from a Summer Art Camp for children that will definitely brighten up your Monday!
Leaving you with a page from my sketchbook..
See you next month! Stay safe 🙂