Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

Love Letters to Life

"When I read your work I feel as if I'm eavesdropping on an intimate love letter to your relationship with Life."*
* a comment to me, from a reader whom hopefully doesn't mind that I've stolen his note for my own purposes.

I sometimes wonder if it is wise or appropriate for me to pour so many feelings out in the publicity of the internet - for many years this blog was not searchable via Google, nor was it posted anywhere publicly. There was another point in time when I used it to tell my closest friends what I was up to. There was another point when I used it as a vehicle to tell stories that I felt no one else could understand. Sometimes, when I'd date someone who I really connected with, I'd just tell it all to him instead, and this blog would run dry. When the relationships ended, I'd come running right back again to this. Over time it has grown so intertwined with my being that I hardly know where I start and it ends. And unlike the creative motion of dance, words stay.

I still write here as a way to work problems out in my head, as if putting them to the page with the structures of grammar and theme and spelling might help to also structure my thoughts. I still write here because sometimes the emotions inside of me are too big and too intense for me to keep them all inside; without this writing I would explode. Too, this journal is a way to be less alone. It isn't just written to Life, but to the lives of others who might be reading, who might also have emotions too big to keep inside.

My natural tendency is to hold back my feelings from others, to avoid inconveniencing them. Even in practices, my coaches tell me I am too careful, that I need to disturb my partner more, to dance into him rather than on my own in front of him.  And you know what, it IS more satisfying, because conflict creates the potential for change, and out of uncertainty comes the potential for creativity.

A couple weeks ago I went to hear Ben Marcus discuss his new book. He said that when he writes he constantly seeks the sensation of feeling. When his own writing makes him feel something - whatever it is - he knows he is on the right path. He also made the point that we must surround ourselves with the people and situations that energize us. "I find," he said, "that I am more funny around some people than others. The key is creating situations in which I can be funny."

I read, also, about a Buddhist monk who is the world's happiest man. "Ricard, a globe-trotting polymath who left everything behind to become a Tibetan Buddhist in a Himalayan hermitage, says anyone can be happy if they only train their brain." And while meditation is deeply inward, and our interactions with people around us are very much outward, I think he's on to something -- that by practicing the right thing, you can train yourself to become it.

Perhaps my writing here has become a way to practice openness. To create situations in which I am creating disturbance, rather than smiling and pleasing. To use my emotional intensity and activity for positive change.

It can be scary, to send such love letters into the aether. I never know how people or situations will turn, what the response will be. But if I don't try, this relationship will be over, and that would be far worse.
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