Many moons ago, I was a mom raising three kids. I was building a house in the country. I was thinking about what to do when I grew up. I hadn’t become a songwriter yet. I hadn’t started writing books. I was about to go back to school to get a Masters degree.
Recently I found a journal entry from back then. It was my birthday and I declared the year ahead would be “The Year of Finishing”. As I read through it just now I felt I’d received a call through time, the line was crackly but I could make out the voice. She’s someone familiar reminding me of who I was and how far I’ve come. The memory of me then is an interesting contrast to the me now. I’ve written dozens of songs and performed them all over the world. And I write books, am currently working on a manuscript called ’The Importance of Being Important.” the book I’ve committed the current month to complete, or at least bring to the point where I know I have a book to stand behind or not. I’ve been posting about the process on my Facebook page. You can see it here.
For those of you who are facing a new project or in a transition in your life or work, here is that journal entry, a window into the process of beginning.
November 28th, 1995
How many times have I begun to write something? I have a multitude of beginnings and nothing is finished. Perhaps this is the year to look at all of the ‘unfinished business’ and call it what it is – unfinish-able, untidy, unworthy, forgettable? Or maybe I’ll call it ignored, inspired, temporary insanity, messy, frantic; parenthetical, forgone, illegible, unintelligible, and so on. And go on from here. I did throw out all of the old stuff that felt like useless clutter which I have recently been carrying everywhere with me but somehow have forgotten this week.
It is my birthday today. My eyes popped open at 6:12 am and then my body responded to the thought, ‘It’s too early to get up.’ Fortunately the remembering my promise to myself to get up and do this to begin this day with purpose won.
This is a beginning , this day – and an ending – an indivisible number – I want to call this year the year of finishings. I was going to say endings but I’m afraid of how close it brings me to the idea of death. But perhaps that’s what it is – time passing is a death and we must learn to send it on its way into the light as in the Tibetan Book of the Dead; send our thoughts, ambitions, desires, ego worship, insecurity, fed-up-ness, tiredness, energy, every part into the light. And open up to new light and respond. This idea of being a channel makes sense. Letting the universe take care of us. Am I ready to finish things. Let them die and go into the light? This is my year of finishing. I shall call it that – my goal. The Year Of Finishing.
And what specifically? Am I a singer? Yes. But do I want to go in front of people alone and sing? No, but I will keep working on my voice so I can sing with others.
Choir, Group, Band?
Am I an actress? I have been, not given it my all, was not coming at it with love, strength, letting go and I need to make more money for school and I have this little ego voice that wants to be really popular, respected, etc. Is that what I really want? I will exercise more, get into better shape and see how I look in the New Year. I have to decide. Please help me universe. I need more money, is this the way to get it?
I want to get better at writing – I want to be a writer – I will go to school and will be writing every day working on putting words together.
Will continue teaching. Gardening and practicing playing piano. Being a good mother and making travel plans. Plan my children’s future. Finish moving house. Finish what I start. Writing – stories, poems, plays.
There you have it. I’m sure I had to finish because I heard family members stirring and knew it was time to make breakfast. I used to get up early every morning before everyone else and light a candle and lean over my journal and write without self-editing. I’d just let all the words spill on the page. I still journal, but not as often as in the past when I needed to sort through a multitude of competing ideas. Writing in a journal gave me a way to have a dialogue with my brain, to sort through the debris, and even, as I just found out, speak to myself over time. If you’ve never kept a journal I hope this inspires you to try it.
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