Saturday, February 13, 2016

100 Walks Around the Lake - Discoveries Made These Last 5 Years

"Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake." (Wallace Stevens)

Have you ever gone on a long walk - perhaps in the woods on a misty day, or along the beach in the morning sunshine - and just been so immersed in the beauty, in all that was new that you discovered, that you didn't realize just how long you had walked? "Wow!", you might say to yourself. "How did I get here? It seems like I just began".

That's what I was feeling when I realized that this was the 100th entry I had written. Though I began this blog over 5 years ago (5 years, 5 months, and 20 days...1999 be exact), it has often seemed like I just started writing it. And over that time, my dedication and interest in scratching away has ebbed and flowed. I began with a great flood of enthusiasm - entries of all sorts gushing out - and then in the last couple of years, they came out in just a thin trickle. But they still came, and I'm grateful for that.

I had boldly said in my 1st entry that I was starting this blog because:

"I want to use it to explore - to learn..I called this "Looking For Pearls" because I am interested to see what unexpected "lessons" I will learn from doing this.  What types of "gems", of insights, will I stumble across on this journey?"

So this morning I sat and reflected, wondering what I had learned from the previous 99 "walks around the lake". What had I discovered or stumbled across that was most meaningful to me? The answers that came to me were unexpected, which I think proves it has been a journey of true value.

"It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end. " (Ursula LeGuin)
  • I have learned that I would never really have known myself without having done this. Each time I write an entry - each time I re-read a past one - I shake my head in wonder, thinking "I wrote this? Wow - Where did that come from?". The truth is it came from a creative, thoughtful, emotional, and spiritual part of myself that rarely expresses itself anywhere else. Writing invites those shy parts of Jon to come out and encourages them to blossom and grow.  The most valuable thing I've learned through my writings is not what I've seen about nature, or events, or other people. It has been the marvelous opportunity to discover my true self; to discover who "Jon" really is. And to realize that that journey of self-discovery never ends.
Me along the Deschutes River - July 2014
"No man ever steps into the same river twice, for it's not the same river, and he's not the same man." (Heraclitus)
  • I have begun to learn what it is I really love...and what I fear.  In looking back at what I've written over the last 5 years, I'm struck by how so little of what I wrote was "newsy". What I was drawn to write about were more nobler things. The titles of almost 1/4 of my entries included the words "Love", "Treasures", "Beauty", "Joy", or "Light". It's clear that writing helped me connect to something higher; something Divine that whispered to me. But I could also see in the great gaps between entries something else that whispered at times to me as well. Fear. Like a curtain descending on a stage, like the fog creeping softly down the hill in quiet cat steps, fear would sometimes tell me "Don't try to write. There's nothing there. If you write, it must be perfect. If you write, it's only good if someone else likes it. You don't have time to write. Just wait for the right moment". And sometimes I would listen. Sometimes I would let fear lull me to sleep. But Love would never leave me asleep too long. A gentle tap would always awaken my heart and stir me to try again. I'm grateful to learn of Love's persistence with imperfect me.
Jimmy Dugan: "Baseball is what lights you up. If you leave, you'll regret it."
Dottie Hinson:  "It just got too hard."
Jimmy Dugan:  "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."
(From the movie "A League of Their Own", 1992)

Writing is hard work - but it is a "worthwhile struggle". I've learned from writing, just a little, some things that only a writer can know. Writing takes discipline. It takes a willingness to sit down in front of the demanding blank page, and to hammer, and chisel, and pick, and dig to express something that you can't know before you've done this inner mining.  It requires honesty: with oneself, with what one sees, and with what one is really in touch with in that moment. The things that I've written that I've been most proud of have been produced, not by my imagination, but simply through my willingness to observe what was around me or in me all the time. Learning to be patient and to wait to be given something to write about is a challenge at times. It still requires that I "show up" and put forth the effort.  It can be hard and frustrating. But the hard is what makes it great.

Today I celebrate the journey I've made so far with this blog, and I renew my wish to continue on. I know there's much more I have left to learn and to discover; so much more that is waiting to be expressed.

"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself." (Alan Alda)

So, off I go...around the bend...down the road...and over the hill. I'll let you know what I discover along the way.

1 comment:

  1. Leave a comment if you'd like. I made it easier to do. Hope to hear from my "army" of followers! Lol!