Yesterday while reading a popular spiritual mom blog, I was disappointed and (admittedly) kind of surprised to learn that after recently baring a little bit more of her own soul and story to her devoted fan base, this writer had blocked the comments of readers who disagreed with her chosen course of action. A few months ago, when she began “writing from a place of honesty” about her family’s situation, I felt a little uncomfortable but figured it would be interesting to see how this honesty experiment panned out. At the time it wasn’t clear whether her opening up was the newly popular version of vulnerability or just over-sharing. The two are easily confused. What’s pretty clear now is that mom blogger needs support, as any of us do when we’re going through change! Unfortunately, it seems that in pulling everything out into the light she was also attempting to craft her own one-sided support group.
My feelings about journaling walk the line between “bleck” and “harrumph!” Still, I do it. Mainly so I can say “yes” and move on when people ask, “have you thought about journaling??” But incident’s like spiritual-mom-blogger’s remind me that we all need a place for our secret and sacred stuff, even if this is just a temporary holding space. We need boundaries and even though popular psych is shouting at us to NOT bury our stuff, taking the time to tuck something away, to put it in a dim, quiet corner might be a really good way to let things grow, naturally and in their own time.
No one here’s trying to imply that we should completely and forever recoil into dark solitude, but as essential as air and light and outward connection are, there’s something to be said for tucking into the earth, turning off the lights, and re-rooting for a minute.
Dear Sarah gifted me a blank book (fine. journal) a few years ago that reads “bury and discover” on the binding. What I write in here does not get reviewed. One day I will look back on it but for now, once the page is turned it is not read again. When the book is full, I will “bury” it and let all the words sit shoulder-to-shoulder for a while in quiet. One day I will discover it again.
We’ve entered a season spent remembering that holy trip into the wild. A time when we try to recall the harshness of that journey, the temptation, the abstinence. But as we already know, some of the really wild things are out here. Our time being buried away in the quiet, conversing with our little devils (aka: inner critics or panel of judges) is an essential piece of human growth. It is in this dark and quiet that we can be fed and nurtured, made to rest, sort of like little seedlings, sort of like the womb. We move into the next phase or unearth ourselves organically when we need more space to stretch.
There is a thought, a part of our day, a piece of ourselves, an itch in our lives that could always use a few days or weeks of burying and then discovering.
…But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course…
-Matthew Arnold, The Buried Life