Today is Day 60 out of 60 Days of Daily Prompts. We are “officially” finished, but I will post another prompt tomorrow, along with plans for my blog here in the new year.
The prompt today is a variation on an exercise that Heather Plett (heatherplett.com) suggests. Here on this next to the last day of 2014, I invite you to think about what you long for. For me, this has always been complicated, to say the least. I was raised as a good little Catholic girl, and while many good teachings were in there, there were also plenty of twisted tales of obligation and guilt. What particularly impressed me were two related ideas: if I wanted something, then the very “wanting” of it meant that it was probably bad for me, so then I shouldn’t want it; and if I really loved something or yearned for something that I knew was good, then the very best thing I could do would be to “offer it up”, to deny it to myself and offer up the pain of not getting whatever good that I wanted as a gift to God, showing how deep my love was for God.
Now I could write a book or two explaining how deeply and disastrously those two ideas incarnated into my life, but let it suffice here to proclaim that I have deeply learned, through life experience, study, and contemplation, that the best that we can do in life is to fully use and thoroughly enjoy whatever good things we’ve been given or brought into our lives.
I’ve also learned that, while it is possible to deceive ourselves into yearning for something that will ultimately be “bad” for us, our longings and yearnings are to be trusted, that in fact they are the ways that we can live out our union with or participation with the divine, the “really real basis of all life”. To use more traditional religious language, our longings are one way that God communicates with us, steering us into our deepest good and happiness. Our yearnings can be trusted if they will lead us into a larger and more loving life, whereas we might want to examine more deeply any yearnings that make our lives smaller or more constricted.
As we think about the new year, let’s get in touch with our deepest desires, bringing them up and onto the page so that we can decide next how to help make them become real and active in our lives.
In a large circle on your journal page, trace your hand. Color it in if you would like, then freewrite along the outline what your yearnings and desires are for the foreseeable future, starting with the words, “I can trust my yearnings when they bring me into a larger and more loving life, and I now yearn for. . . ”
After you’re finished (or run out of space on the page!) you can decorate the page with more color or with symbols of your yearnings. Reflect on those desires. Did anything surprise you, either with their intensity or just with their presence?
Begin to imagine what it would be like to have these yearnings fully incarnated into your everyday life.
Technical note: In my enthusiasm to start this journal page, I inadvertently used markers that are not waterproof. Thus, when I painted on the watercolors, the black and the turquoise smeared a bit. Luckily, I am not a perfectionist in my journal —- but just be warned: notice what is and isn’t waterproof!
Day 60 of a series of daily prompts for written, visual, or art journalling, or just for pondering. For more background information, see the Intro page https://catcharissage.com/2014/10/29/announcing-sixty-days-of-visual-journalling-prompts/, or this post on visual journalling: https://catcharissage.com/2014/07/12/talking-about-journals/.