Cathartic Journaling

I am feeling waves of emotion. In fact I am experiencing them and observing them at the same time. I can also sense an energetic response as though my body is flushed. I sort through the feelings: despair, powerlessness, betrayal, helplessness, sadness, rejection to name a few. There is also a sense of needing to hide, escape or run away. I slam my iPad shut so the offending e-mail is hidden. It is Sunday morning; the e-mail is timed at 7:03; it is all in lower case suggesting a need to maintain its emotional thread. It is telling me my friend has decided to no longer act as the property manager/caretaker for a recreational residence that I own. I am familiar enough with what James Hollis refers to as complexes to know that one has engaged. It is clearly connected to abandonment and feeling overwhelmed. I notice the momentary desire to respond and wound the offender who has wounded me. Instead I pick up my pen and begin to write.

As I describe in detail my response, I allow myself to feel into the wounds and the angst that has unwittingly risen to the surface. I am fascinated by the power of these old wounds to hijack my body and mind. It is interesting to reflect that Descartes said, “I think therefore I am”. It seems incomplete. Surely “I feel therefore I am” should apply equally well. Feelings have such power; they can be both positive and negative but are an integral part of being human.

However, as a typical male I spent the first half of my life negating feelings yet still reacting out of them. My coping mechanism was to either repress (unconscious) or suppress (conscious). This prevented pain in the moment but they remained buried like the magma of a volcano just waiting to explode to the surface when triggered. Now I explore them, bring them into the light and truly feel them. In this way I can hope to avoid the old reactions.

The adult in me is now ready to once again review the e-mail my friend has written me. I know that his decision has nothing to do with deliberately trying to injure me. As I read his words I tap into what a dreadful day he had! While doing his best to look after my property, everything seemed to go wrong; the lawnmower broke down; he became exhausted trying to weed-whack a huge lawn because something drove him to finish the task. Then he woke up this morning and his body was in pain; it was all too much. He needed to restore balance in his life and let go of some of the responsibilities that threatened to overwhelm him.

By now I was feeling my friend’s pain. What a terrible day! While I had been brunching then taking a leisurely walk around the seawall, he had been breaking his back on my behalf. It was amazing that as I moved into compassion, I noticed my own childlike anxieties completely dissipated. The adult could see that one way or another it would all work out and that what was important was to connect with my friend and affirm the importance of our friendship and my concern for him.

I decided to check my desire to call him by drawing a Rune. I drew Sowelu or Wholeness. The first two lines are as follows: “This Rune stands for wholeness, that which our nature requires. It embodies the impulse toward self-realization and indicates the path you must follow, not from ulterior motives but from the core of your individuality.” It seems perfect and I pick up the phone. It is a positive, affirming, loving conversation and our commitment is to our friendship.

It is only later that I recognize the amazing catharsis that came about once I began to journal. The dictionary defines catharsis as “the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions”. My writing and reflection from the viewpoint of both the inner child and the adult allowed the emotions to dissipate without being suppressed. It is an important gift towards wholeness and alignment with the journey of the soul

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