Writing, specifically handwriting, in a lined journal presents a respite from the noise and rush that can consume us if we are not careful. Putting pencil to paper is powerful, but doing so without any expectation of anything in return is magical. The act itself opens doors to profound self discovery. While writing is a personal daily practice for me, it is not without its challenges. The calling of urgent but unimportant things will mount herculean efforts to derail even the smallest moments for introspection. Many of these opponents will appear as the need to check text, email or social media. Others will emerge in the form of more tangible tasks like going to the store or cleaning a room. Knowing that these distractions can be relentless, I’ve learned to expect them or even welcome them.
Psychologist and meditation teacher, Tara Brach illustrates this concept through the story of Buddha and Mara, who offered various temptations with an unyielding determination. Buddha, rather than ignoring Mara, invited him to tea. Acknowledging these counter forces and bringing them closer can be a productive way to overcome them. Author, Steven Pressfield, has famously named this force resistance, which is a collection of things that make it difficult to sit down to write. Creating space to write can be difficult without understanding the difference between something urgent versus something important. With this understanding, the value of your personal time and energy can be more apparent and its supply even more available. Learning to make time for writing has been invaluable in my effort to understand the process of myself, where to direct my energy, how to find purpose and create balance. While you may find ten reasons not to write, consider whether those reasons are urgent or important. Could these urgent things just be resistance at work or Mara knocking on your door?
Time is a funny thing. From the micro perspective, there doesn’t appear to be enough time in the day, while the macro perspective presents the illusion of an endless supply of time. Both are incorrect. Fifteen minutes is roughly one percent of the minutes in each day. By creating space for self-discovery through a daily writing practice, I’ve ignited curiosity, organized my energy into meaningful work and protected present moment experiences with my family. You have a right to know yourself, but you have to write to know yourself. Writing provides a medium of thoughtful expression and internal dialogue. It is a platform to capture and unpack the thoughts in your head. Aren’t you worth one percent of your day?