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  • Writer's pictureElisa Juarez

Pen in Hand

September 16, 2021

During my early years as a mother, I was often amused and amazed by the things my daughters said. I would grab the nearest pen and paper and jot down those words of wee wisdom while they were still fresh. Over the years I have found some of those little notes tucked into books, boxes, and drawers. They are treasures reminding me of precious moments from years gone by. Now I find myself doing the same thing with my dad after a visit. Along this path of Alzheimer’s, I’ve been both amused and amazed by the things he says. Sometimes I am filled with sadness and longing for the precious moments of years gone by, before Alzheimer’s took over his brain. So again, I write. Pen in hand, I record memories and present conversations to hold onto that which is fleeting. I write for the love of writing, and for love of my dad. “Nothing communicates more clearly than love…..and when we let ourselves write from love, when we let ourselves steal minutes as gifts to ourselves, our lives become sweeter, our temperaments become sweeter” (Julia Cameron, The Right to Write, p.16). I carry a mini-notebook in my car so I can write things down as soon as I experience them or receive an idea. I also use the Notes feature on my iPhone for those quick, “stolen” moments in which I capture something of value to remember or cherish. But I much prefer a pen in hand. At home, I have journals, notebooks, and so many pens. Writing is as much a part of my life as eating, moving, and breathing. Cameron describes it as an appetite, an impulse, a joy. It is also medicine for weary, anxious souls. It can help us “metabolize” our experiences and emotions. Writing moves us through change with curiosity and courage instead of fear and dread. Writing life has made me more present. It has opened my eyes and my heart wider to notice and appreciate where I am. Julia Cameron points out that “as we describe our environments, we begin to savor them.” I’ve learned to savor my experiences more fully as well. Writing connects me to a deeper awareness of life and love which transforms how I see things and how I live. “Writing will fill your heart if you let it. It will fill your pages and help you fill your life” (The Right to Write, p.21). In my September book study/workshop, we are exploring the authentic and organic nature of writing. Each person is in a different place, finding her own ways to create and communicate, including poetry, journaling, letter-writing, memoirs, and reflections. One's experience of life is both unique and universal, and so it is with writing. Our voice is our own, and yet it can be a channel for the omnipresent Spirit within our souls. Through writing we can connect to our wholeness and oneness. This is where our story intersects with that of humanity and awakens us to our divinity. “It is my belief that we are as a species evolving toward something better, not worse, and that writing is one of the primary ways that we are doing it” (The Right to Write, p.146). I know writing is helping me to evolve. Cameron says it is a practice field in which we learn how to do life. “It teaches us how to do happy. It teaches us how to do brave. It teaches us how to do open, caring, loyal, resourceful, and, yes, vulnerable. If we can do it on the page, if we can let our imagination connect the dots, we begin to get a picture of ourselves as larger and more fully human than we may yet have imagined” (p.146). This seems to be exactly what our world needs right now. We have lost a sense of what it means to be fully human and fully alive. Writing helps us find our way. It is "the art of a listening heart” (p.28). Perhaps the simple act of picking up a pen and giving voice to our inner wisdom can help us to heal ourselves and each other. With open hearts and pen in hand, we begin to awaken. Write On, ej Elisa J. Juarez

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