The Alchemy of Menopause Online A 9 Month Journey
1. The Alchemy of Menopause Book
Unlike more formal writing, where syntax, vocabulary and spelling need attention, diary writing is private and free in terms of the way we express ourselves through it. It is a safe refuge from the literary rules and expectations that so often keep us blocked from fully revealing ourselves in other writing contexts.
There is a wildness in journaling that really suits this class. As you go through the exercises, you will see that there is a need to momentarily ‘forget’ the socially refined and adapted parts of yourself to allow for something deeper and more primal to emerge. The rawness of journaling is an ideal medium as a logbook for this journey. With the literary confines lifted, recording immediate feelings, thoughts, interests and reactions can be carried out freely and spontaneously. There is no need to filter or judge what is noted and a deeper, less self-conscious part of yourself can find expression.
The way in which you work with your journal, the journal itself and the content will become a unique, unrepeatable story of yourself, as you experience new encounters and develop new skills and understanding on your Alchemy of Menopause journey.
A journal gives you the ability to write intuitively and freely without filtering. This allows space for new patterns of meaning to emerge and unexpected dimensions and insights can reveal themselves. You can record more honest and more profound reflections of your experiences. Because your journal is private and does not have to be shared, it should encourage your openness and honesty.
Journaling goes beyond the surface of things. It is important in the class to be continually asking yourself, “What do I feel? Where do I feel it? What does it feel like?” Learn to let the writing flow without worrying about correcting yourself. Allow yourself to expand and develop, as much as possible. Be as true as possible to yourself in the present moment. See hear, feel, taste and smell your experiences in a way that is unique to you.
Free-flowing, intuitive writing is the form that is best for the majority of the exercises. As you feel into the work, write from the place of these feelings and from your body. At the same time, let go of the excessive control of the conscious mind. It is your hand that should be doing the writing, not your mind.
“Attain the most passive or receptive state of mind possible, Forget your genius, your talents and those of everyone else…write quickly with no preconceived subject, so quickly that you retain nothing and are not tempted to reread.” (1)
When writing intuitively some people do not like looking at the page at all and some even close their eyes or write with their left hand to free their unconscious
If worrying about proper sentence formation is too bothersome for you, try writing lists of feelings, descriptions, etc. These lists can often be seen as stepping stones as you piece together the deeper meaning. Some people may prefer to replace the intuitive writing with free drawing to record their feelings and experiences. The best way to do this is to relax and allow the pen to move without your conscious intentions influencing it. This technique is often referred to as making ‘maps of consciousness’.
Your journal need not be limited to descriptions and reactions to the exercises but can include anything relevant to your outer and inner journey, such as dreams, poems, collages, photos. Our journal becomes a mirror to the self, reflecting and encouraging personal transformation. We never know where our journaling is going to take us or what will naturally evolve from it, but it is clear that it will change as you change. Your unique development through the class is what makes each person’s journal unique. Your journal will become a repository of the mystery and magic that reflects your own personal myths, as they emerge from your connection with the world we live in.
Decide on what medium your journaling is going to take during the class. Will it be digital, pen and paper, drawing, painting, collage or a blend of several of these? If you are going to use a journaling book, go out and buy one that really suits the way you have decided to work. Think about the size you want, should the paper be lined or not, etc. Choose a journal that you really like. It is going to come alive and be with you all the time, it must be the right one. If you are going to write, draw or paint, the choice of tool (pen, pencil, brush, glue stick) is also important. Choose a tool that makes you feel good. Make sure to have your journal with you, ideally at all times, but at least when you head into nature, whether you intend to do one of the class exercises or not, since you never know when inspiration will visit you. If you are unsure about which medium is best for you, explore different media, e.g. typing on your laptop, versus pen on paper, versus drawing. You’d be surprised how your thoughts flow differently in different media. The sensuousness of a fountain pen on the smooth pages of a nice journal, for example, is a great way to awaken your senses, slow yourself down and bring yourself fully into the present.
(1) The New Diary by Tristine Rainer
Here is a book that is a good resource for journaling about difficult emotions.
New book “Mary Magdalene Revealed” by Meggan Watterson.