Our Bridges to the World: The Art of Being & Writing

IMG_6395 “You can perish in the famine of your own making.”  John O Donohue, Anam Cara

Great scenes are like our souls––both depend heavily on the emotions and senses to reveal their true story. What is going on in a scene within our life or on the page needs an awareness and expression of our emotions. To write and live authentically means to be listening to the soul and “the body makes the senses thresholds of the soul.” (John O Donohue, Anam Cara)

“A renewal, indeed a complete transfiguration of your life, can come through attention to you senses. Your senses are the guides to take you deep into the inner world of your heart. The greatest philosophers admit that to a large degree all knowledge comes through the senses. The senses are our bridges to the world.” John O Donohue, Anam Cara

When we live and write outside of ourself (or as Parker J Palmer refers to as “living life from the outside-in”) we become exiles in our own life. We can’t truly write or live when we have distanced ourselves from the emotions and senses of our experiences and longings.

IMG_6035Longing for something or someone is an intense emotion. Many (including myself at times) have locked my longings away for “safe keeping.” But this is a way to hide the heart and to intellectualize our lives and experiences. John O Donahue writes about how it is our “longing that makes us holy. The most beautiful thing about us is our longing: this longing is spiritual and has great depth and wisdom.” Longing is an emotional state, one worth hosting and listening to. One worth expression.

The emotions need the engagement of the senses. We must be in our experiences and trust our experiences (our senses and emotions) so that we can share our selves and our gifts with the world. Consider the intellect as the framework or boundary to our experiences, where we can give ourself a safe (but large enough) place to explore, have and express our emotions. So, we make choices based on our ethics and principles but this does not mean we shut down our emotions and longings. (Or pretend to ourself or the other that we don’t have any longings).

The intellect alone will fall flat on the page and in our relationships with others. The true story and experience is known through and an acknowledgment of our senses and emotions.

IMG_6292In writing we can (and should!) follow the emotional state and longings to a critical and dramatic point. In life, we can be with, listen and express our emotions and longings while also respecting others. In our “off the page” relationships we act according to our spiritual principles, while being true to our emotions and longings. It is impossible to trust a writer or another person if they keep their emotions and longings hidden or disguised. If we intellectualize our experiences we have left the soul out. Even in our good-bye scenes (yes in life and on the page), even in those places where we can’t be with another fully, we are invited to be vulnerable and intimate. Intimacy is always emotionally vulnerable and honest. It is not an exaggeration of the truth; it is a full expression of one’s truth and personal experience.

The other, whether friend, lover or reader, wants an emotional reveal from you. Or you will lose them. And they will have lost something too.

“Your senses link you intimately with the divine within and around you.” John O Donohue, Anam Cara



I have room for one more in my 2nd Wednesday Writing Circle, LAST CALL!  I am also available for private consultation around your writing and spiritual intentions. Send me an email with your questions or requests:  julie@julietallardjohnson.comIMG_6408

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