Reflections by Jerry Webber

Friday, January 28, 2011

Blank Journals and New Terrain

On the first day of a recent retreat I opened a new journal. It was a marvelous experience, breaking open the cover and leafing through the blank pages. Nothing there. Blank.

I held the blank journal open on my lap for a few moments before writing a word in it. I allowed my mind to wander before putting my pen to the page . . . this particular journal will carry me along for several months . . . over those months, what will I experience?

Where will I go?

What will be the shape of my soul by the time I get to the end of the book?

What experiences and understandings will shape me and fill those pages?

What will be my growing edges?

I admit that I didn't spend too much time trying to predict what would fill the pages. I don't have a clue. The whole idea, though, was that it felt like standing at a new threshold, standing at a doorway into the days yet to come, looking at the blankness, the possibilities.

For me it was like seeing something for the very first time, opening my eyes to the mystery of something I have not yet seen. It was a wonderful moment.

John O'Donohue, the Irish poet, philosopher and former-priest, talked about his first day in Tubingen at attend that German university. He described seeing the city for the first time and his awareness that after that initial day, he would never see the city the same way again. The streets and buildings would become familiar. And as the city became familiar to him, he would lose his capacity to notice its nuances. His awareness would be dulled.

That's something of what my moment with the empty journal felt like. It was a pause to be open to every possibility. I sensed the invitation to be more expansive. I consciously thought of being receptive to the days ahead.

My journal will not necessarily lead my journey into the days ahead, but it will give some shape to my life. It will mirror the path. It will reflect my capacity to see, to notice, to live with consciousness the life which has been gifted to me.

In and of itself, that moment with the blank journal and new terrain was significant for me.

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