Saturday, February 04, 2006

Checking In: Week 4 (and a little of 3) in Review:

A few pages from my journal that I am inspired to share...

Stop searching
happiness is inside of you.

My favorite place is winter.

And more than a few rambling thoughts...

These past two weeks of journaling and doing the aw have been intense. I find it difficult to write about any one thing because it feels like there are so many things changing at once. So let’s start with something easy: I wrote 5 out of 7 days this week. I can’t remember Wednesday and Thursday I opted to sleep in (getting up at 5:45 am instead of 5—is it even sane to call that sleeping in?). I was exhausted and knew if I didn’t sleep I would pay for it the rest of the day.

This past week was hard. “Reading Deprivation” was kind of a joke for me even though I took it seriously in cutting out non-essential reading. My essential reading still consisted of endless hours of homework (Literary Criticism—not even close to “light” reading) and a stack of my student’s first research essays. The student essays are a slight mess and helping them learn how to cite sources is taking hours and hours that I hadn’t anticipated. But I find it impossible not to help them. Research writing can be horrible enough, but being left in the dark only makes it worse. Anyway, this is my chance to prove to them that writing—yes, even researched writing—can be incredibly satisfying. With this first paper it is important to me to show my new students that I care and that I take their words seriously. Needless to say, reading deprivation took the back seat majority of my week.

HOWEVER, cutting out blog reading was LIFE ALTERING enough. GOOD GOD! I caved in a couple of times—ok, so I’m not perfect. Reading blogs is my link to the outside world. Usually it is just me and my computer and a long list of things to do. Blogs are my down-time, my breaks, my breathing space. Needless to say, my days took a different course without all the extracurricular reading. The first two days felt like a week. I felt disconnected, cut off from people. My world felt small and a little lonely. I started to feel thankful for blogs and for the extent that they keep me in touch with friends. Before, I felt sad that my life felt more real in the blogosphere than it did in real life. But after this past week, I realized that, until I graduate, I don’t have time for much of a social life anyway--blogs keep me connected.

Not reading or posting also gave me time to think. The thing I keep thinking about the most is: Where am I headed next? What is my heart trying to tell me?

Aw has been a strange experience for me this time around. I did it a few years ago…but it didn’t feel anything like this. I feel raw. And I like feeling alive again. But DAMN! Last week I was SO INCREDIBLY ANGRY! And no, it’s not because Cameron said that I might. The anger started even before reading the chapter and only escalated throughout the week. I kept asking myself: why are you so angry? What are you mad at?

And finally I figured it out one day as I was walking down the stairs. Duh. Two weeks ago I decided to take control of my life. In the past year and a half I've gained 20+ stress-related-pounds and (was) a smoker. To say the least, I felt like hell. But I had been feeling like that for a couple years. Doing all this journaling and introspection (re)opened my eyes to the potential in my life. I wanted (want) to be healthy again. I was sick of being tired all the time, of headaches, depression, coughing, fat rolls hanging over my jeans… Yuck! I felt like shit! So one day I realized that I was totally capable of feeling better, but there was only one way to do that: and it would require (OMG) CHANGING my habits. Ok. I made it through day one (kinda). Day two was a complete success. Day three I was PISSED! I mean—come on—those were my vices I just gave up! Without food or cigarettes or television or enjoyable reading material to sedate myself with--there I was--face to face with myself. I felt like I was standing on the lip of an active volcano!!

And this week—well, this week I have calmed down incalculably. For the first time in years I make it through an entire day without feeling tired. I haven’t had one headache. I run with my dog because it feels good.

Yeah, did I mention that this aw thing is a little intense? I mean, really!! It’s weird. Very. And dang, I feel like I could write forever!

My life has cracked open like an egg. Do I dare even ask what this next week will do to me?


Blogger megg said...

WOW! That was so amazing to read! You are doing so well! Most people hit that really hard patch and stop. YAY, YOU! for keeping it up and fighting for yourself! You are going to do amazing things!
P.S. It's very nice to have you back!!!

4:12 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

Girl, that's truly awesome. It is a bit of a roller coaster isn't it?

9:04 PM  
Blogger melba said...

Thanks for the kind words. I know you are in a tough place, but wow the transformation you are going through is so amazing. Sometimes I feel like I am kidding myself with this AW group...I love the group and connections, but so much of what Cameron says does not resonate with me. I do all the MP's, but the questions through out the chapters I just stare at. I am pushing through though because I see (read) that so many people like you seem to be deeply effected by the process. I am glad for meeting so many new "friends" through this experience. I love blogging and can relate to what you said about blogging connecting you to the world. Oh, and I LOVE your journals so glad you posted them. They are beautiful and it is sort of freeing, isn't it? The exposure simultaneously scary and liberating.

9:06 PM  
Blogger tara dawn said...

I am SO proud of you. It is wonderful to read your writings again, and I can literally feel the intensity of your aliveness. It is contagious!
I have finally heard too many good things about this book...and so I am caving in and buying it myself. I don't know when I'll start, as I want to prepare myself in advance. However, I look forward to perhaps reaching the place of aliveness that is emanating from your words.
And by the way...I've missed you girl!
Sending lots of love!

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it so true? You enter into this thing and think yeah sure change, whatever. and then BAM. It's morph city.

Love your journal entries!


7:34 AM  
Blogger In Otter Space said...

I love your journal pages. They are very alive! I never have given myself permission to make my pages beautiful. Looking at yours make me say "Why Not?" Thank YOU!
Transformation is a painful journey...glad we can do it alone but share the pains with each other.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Dida said...

This is my 1st AW and I have found the little things that are creeping around my head (realizations, desires, dreams) to be overwhelming. Like you said in your journal - you can visualize what you want and then do it!

By the way, thank you for sharing your journal - it is beautiful!

10:01 AM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

it was so great to read this. thank you for sharing all of this. fantastic that you are feeling cracked open. i love this. and your art journaling is beautiful...

4:49 PM  
Anonymous SB said...

Intensity is tiring, isn't it? This is more demanding than I had anticipated -- but, like you, I'm sticking with it.

My life has cracked open like an egg.

& what a great image this is!

6:16 PM  
Blogger Jana B said...

"Without food or cigarettes or television or enjoyable reading material to sedate myself with--there I was--face to face with myself."

Scary isn't, when you're confronted with your true self? I didn't realize until last week how very hard I work to avoid that exact type of moments. But, I know it's good, and necessary... but yeah, definately intense!!!!

11:46 AM  
Blogger HoBess said...

What a great post! I was drawn in by the amazing combination of images and artwork. Then, you painted a word picture:

Your life has cracked open like an egg ... such appropriate words from someone experiencing a re-birth.

Thoughts with you ...

3:12 PM  
Blogger new rhodes said...

I love your share - it is so awesome to see transformation like this! Yay for you!

3:39 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

OMG! Really, OMG!!!

Thank you for sharing yourself - what you are taking on for yourself inspires me. I don't always get what Cameron says, but I do the MPs and show up on the page and then the miracles begin.

I missed the blogs too during reading deprivation - even more because they connect me to the community we've created doing the AW.

Thanks again.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

your pages are beautiful

1:05 AM  

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