Sometimes art journaling and art making lead to surprising word combinations I enjoy taking more deeply with journaling of the more conventional kind: free flow writing.
Look what happened here:
The phrase “compassionate punishment” has continued to sit with me. If we were sentient beings in the same room, compassionate punishment would be sitting in a fashionable knock-off of a mid-century modern arm chair and I would be here, in my writing corner recliner wondering how long it will take me to feel better this morning after a difficult night.
When I feel like this, I hear voices of the past, like these:
Blond woman at Moms Group at church or was it, perhaps Bible Study, “Sometimes you just have to get on with it,” when I spoke about depression and loneliness.
I translated that into “Don’t talk about your feelings here at church. People won’t like you. Stay away.” My compassionate self-punishment was to not engage vulnerably with that particular woman again. I found others people to interact with and chose to stay away from that with her even though I would be happy to see her again.
Speaking of staying away, I… lost whatever image I meant to portray here.
I lean back in my recliner and decide which portion of this brief writing to leave unspoken.
“Earth is forgiveness school” Anne Lamott’s words and memory continues to haunt me.
I typed those words and a sweet bird sits on the brand of the tree that lives in my yard. Hop up, hop down.
“Earth is forgiveness school.” The bird, a vision of grace, reminded me of the love surrounding me, always.
Most recently, someone who was once my friend said to me not once, not twice, “Are you happy now, Julie?” in another moment of time that is scorched into my head. It literally took me about an hour to figure out what she was talking about, but I knew immediately the intent was for me to feel ashamed.
This morning I spoke with a friend who described me as grouchy. “I am allowed to feel what I feel,” I told him. “plus I wouldn’t call authentic feelings grouchy.”
Thankfully investing an hour or so in constructive conversation was exactly the medicine I needed to feel better. I can see the sentient-being-compassionate-punishment armchair has fallen asleep for now.
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