The root of the word "integration" is the smaller word "integer," which means "whole." Too often, racing through life, we become the "hole," not the "whole." We become an unexamined maw into which our encounters and experiences rush unassimilated, leaving us both full and unsatisfied because nothing has been digested and taken in. In order to "integrate" our experiences, we must take them into account against the broader canvas of our life. We must slow down and recognize when currents of change, like movements in a symphony, are moving through us.~Julia Cameron (from The Right to Write, An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life)
Sometimes answers surface on the page before they rise to the top in my thinking process. At times, I look back over journal entries searching for ideas, themes and actions that remain unassimilated in my life. As I wrestle with integrating the desire for more freedom with the need for careful consideration regarding retirement, what I discovered anew on the page provided determination to keep walking toward increased liberty. Writing can be that friend who listens...
I wrote: Coming up out of the blue. A dream surfaces. I am riding a bike. It's blue, the ocean near. I want to remember. I need to remember, but by noon it's gone. Life layers over me.
On another page this surfaced: I am troubled by the chaos in my life. Then I watched a movie entitled "A Little Chaos." Madame de Barra designed a garden in the court of King Louis XIV at Versailles. Madame de Barra's method included a precise overall design for planting and simultaneously, positioning plants that allowed for "a little chaos"--one couldn't be entirely sure how and where those plants would grow.
Father, good Father, kind Father.
Relentless. Furious to bless. Staggering mercy.
Breathe on me.
Trail my path.
Lift me up.
Hallowed be thy name.
Homage To Freedom
I get in the car, a nameless model, but sturdy.
Waxed and gleaming blue. Road ready.
Stripped down to basic black and
Only a hint of lip gloss,
I take the wheel headed for vastness
On the spooling, curling ribbon of highway.
Motor rumbling. New energy.
I weep with emotion.
Freedom seeps into my bones.
My sinews and synapses leap with expectation.
I watch from the rearview mirror as duty and regret
Disintegrate like so much chaff.
When we use writing to do the work of integration, writing is not only the river but often the bridge across the river. Writing is not only the chasm where we enter in terror to deal with the frightening feelings, but also the rope we throw across the chasm, the rope we use to pull ourselves to safety.~Julia Cameron