Check In and Celebrate

Happiness is... writing at a café #happiness #TMWY on TwitpicThe travelling journal :) Had a lovely train ride this mornin... on TwitpicWriting at the launderette #TMWY #havingfunwithmyTMWYJ on TwitpicWriting at café part 2 #happiness #TMWY on Twitpic

Photos of TMWY in Germany by Stefanie Kastanie, @RedChestnut

Can I tell you that every one of these photos made my day, each time Steffi posted one on Twitter?  There hasn't been anything quite as powerful for me as these images, from across an ocean and so many miles, to drill into my own mind this truth: we truly are together.

And that just leaves me with joy, wriggling in my lap.

Here are a few lines from my dear friend that I woke up to this morning:

all will be well
all this will be a distant memory then and you'll laugh
at how hard you tried before you remembered finally
at once
you could never not belong
you could never be alone

And it's true, isn't it?

I'd love to use the comments section today to take a collective tally of TMWY pages filled to date and other miscellany.

I'll start.

Things broken in the last 48 hours: 2. Favorite mug and pyrex measuring cup.

Things lost in the last 12 hours: 1. Coffee tumbler at last night's show.

Things found along the way: Upbeat tunes. A way to sit and fold my hands in my lap and trust. Two poems. Finally my way in a friendship. Permission to walk through a season of loss.

TMWY pages completed to date: fifty-three.

Now it's your turn. Please check in with your own categories, your own tally of things to release or to celebrate.  Every comment will be like these photos of Stefanie's--marking the place where our journeys intersect, the moments and ways we are together and need to still, always, be reminded.

Community TMWY pages (running total): 372


Jen Sits in a Dark Room, or Week Four of the Journey Together through TMWY

Part Four: The Journey Together from Jen Lee on Vimeo.

I know, I know. The lighting is really less than ideal. I had to lean close to the window just to get this much.  But I'm happy to get it made and posted for you, regardless.

If your journal is still on its way to you, or if you are just beginning with us, our journey together began here.  Take a deep breath, and watch the videos at your own pace--taking plenty of time to write for yourself in between.

In other news, registration for the Integrate Retreat in April opens today.  The last one sold out in a week, so I encourage you to not delay.  You won't want to miss it.

Part Three: The Journey Together

Part Three: The Journey Together from Jen Lee on Vimeo.


But there's no need for you to be so rushed. Make your coffee, feed yourself something good, and then give this little clip a spin.

Confessions, Part 4: Happy to Forget Who I Am

Our stories are like our fingerprints. Distinct. Like no one else's. Completely unique and completely human. It's why giving people a voice is so important. We NEED everyone's stories. We NEED your story. --Rowena Murillo

I wanted to make sure no one missed this comment that Rowena left on yesterday's post.  It had me saying a loud "Amen!" just before pulling the covers over my head.  I don't understand this dynamic in myself--it seems that knowing you have something the world needs might inspire a person, or spur her to action, but in my case it often feels like the opposite occurs.

I'm so happy to tell other people how important their work is, or how the world needs it.  How they must not give up. And these things are all true.  But often, I'm trying to shirk something off on them--if I can get them to tell stories that change the world, I'll be off the hook from having to do the same myself.  Or I try auditioning for the role of their sidekick, so I can come along for their ride.  If you are wondering how annoying this must be, just ask my friends.  I'm sure they'll be happy to tell you.

This is a mystery to me: why part of me knows exactly who I am and another part tries relentlessly to forget.  There's a possibility that I'm not willing to claim, and a fear that I haven't yet been able to name, and they are skittering through the shadows in my internal attic. 

But I'm onto them now, and the hunt is on.


How about you? Over the weekend, use your TMWY pages to hunt for unclaimed possibilities and unnamed fears.  We can share our wounds and triumphs next week.

Confessions part 1, or Standing Out in the Open

out in the open, Central Park, photo by Meg Brothers, www.megbrothers.comSince this week's journey through the journal is partly about the things that we regard with judgment ("uninteresting", "unimportant", "too unspeakable to write"), it seems fitting to do a brief series of confessions here to go with it.  The next post will feature a page from my own copy of Take Me with You.

But, in the spirit of Go Big or Go Home (as my husband likes to say), here's one to start us off:

When I got the email saying the Squam 2010 class descriptions had gone live online, I couldn't even open them. Now, granted, I had other things on my mind at the time, but even so this was a moment I'd been regarding with trepidation for months.

The new classes weren't easy to plan, to describe, or to send to Elizabeth. She even called one day to talk me off the ledge when I was feeling nervous about committing to so much so far ahead of time, and doing it publicly nonetheless.

"There's this book I've been working on, and I think it should be a class, and I hope you aren't disappointed because it's not really a writing class," I said, and then I told her about my emerging project that didn't even have a title but seemed something like a care-and-keeping-of-artists-kind of manual.

"I trust you completely," was her reply.  And then she gave me everything I needed to move forward: understanding, permission and space to be in the emerging and unknowing between now and June.

The classes alone aren't my problem. The first problem is the audacity of my intention to write and publish companion books for all the classes I teach this year.  (I'm teaching in the Spring, the Fall, and at Squam by the Sea.) I'm compelled to do this, but I have no idea how I'm actually going to pull it off.  The second is the voice that is always waiting in the wings for its cue to jump onstage and declare while pointing to my chest, "Who do you think you are to do such a thing? What you know is so small compared to all that you do not."

And it's true.  I do not know many things, and anything I have to give I can only offer with humility.

So perhaps the two problems are really just one thing in disguise: fear.  Fear that I'll publicly fail to deliver all that I've promised, or that my work will be found wanting, which for me always boils down to the fear of not being loved.  These things are with me always, quietly humming in the background, but these next projects have them shouting and gesticulating and hogging the stage.

So I'm taking my own advice about courage, and recognizing that bigger leaps need to be solidly rooted in bigger love.  I'm trying to let love in more deeply than I ever have before, folding my hands quietly and handing things over to a more abiding trust than I have ever practiced, and confessing my fears so that courage can find me out in the open and not have to search for me under a rock.

Even though standing out in the open like this feels small.


What could you confess, in your journal or here in the comments section that would help courage find you?

"I see you just as you are, and just as you are not, and I have nothing but love for you." --Fortunes