Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Wisdom of Being Woman

My ongoing search for wisdom has led me to a welcome an important discovery. Meditation on Woman by Aline Soules is a book of poetic essays that represent some of the deepest wisdom and insight I have ever encountered. I first read these meditations in draft form as part of a critique group of professional writers. I knew right off that I was in the presence of a marvelous, deep-spirited writer. I also realized that I stood at the door of a human mystery that I would never fully comprehend. When Aline invited me to write a cover blurb for the book, I accepted the task with humility and great pleasure; also with a measure of self-doubt about my ability to put into words feelings that seemed to defy adequate expression. 

I've learned that unworthiness can slow my response, but rarely has it stopped me from plowing ahead. So I wrote:
“Discovering Aline Soules’s Meditation on Woman is like chancing upon a long-hidden, primal road map for exploring the profound mystery that is the female spirit. How awesome it is to be invited into the raw complexity of woman’s aspirations, failures, and triumphs. Every man who cares about a woman at any level of relationship will come away enriched and grateful.” 

This is a beautiful book overflowing with joy, pain, and great compassion. Page after page from beginning to end, it speaks truth to the human spirit. I recommend it for all women, young and old--and for the men who love them.
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Author-poet Aline Soules blogs at "My Creative World" 

Alfred J. Garrotto is the author of The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Guest Blog: The Wisdom of Journaling

I am pleased to welcome B. Lynn Goodwin to my blog. Lynn is the author of You Want Me To Do What? – Journaling for Caregivers. With more and more mid-lifers and retirees involved in the care of aging and ailing family members, we  find ourselves needing to pay attention to our own mental and spiritual well-being. Lynn has helped many caregivers grow in wisdom through journaling and gain thereby a greater measure of healthy equilibrium.

Why Would a Caregiver Journal?

Journaling saves lives. It allows writers to vent, process, discover, and sometimes rejoice. It provides a safe place to examine your life. It’s especially helpful for anyone caring for a parent, spouse, or special needs child. 

If you are a caregiver, you spend every spare minute driving to medical appointments, stopping at the pharmacy, cooking, answering questions, paying bills, and probably helping with matters that used to be private. Journals give you a place to analyze, finish a thought without interruptions, and celebrate.

I was a caregiver for my mother. Then and now my journals have always been
o       A record
o       A place to say how I really feel
o       A place to explore what I truly mean to say
o       A place to find story ideas
o       A place to resolve dilemmas
o       A place to make lists and cross off what I accomplish
o       A place to acknowledge what’s right and gain perspective
o       And more…

Sometimes I journal online, but more often I write my journals in longhand. I like the smooth flow of a pen on paper. I like the progress of moving from left to right, line after line, traveling down one page and on to the next. The rhythm of longhand soothes me. 

Not sure why you’d journal? Not sure what to say? Look around the room for a sensory detail—the way the sun makes a path on the carpet, the way steam rises off a cup of coffee, carrying the aroma of morning with it. Let one sentence lead to another. 

Send your judgment gremlins out on the patio. You can pick them up later if you want them back. 

Journaling eliminates mental toxins and deepens awareness. It lets the strong, sane, safe, healthy, hopeful parts of you emerge. Do not underestimate its power. 

B. Lynn Goodwin’s stories and articles have been published many places including Voices of Caregivers; Hip Mama; the Oakland Tribune; the Contra Costa Times; the Danville Weekly; Staying Sane When You’re Dieting; Small Press Review; Dramatics Magazine; Career; We Care; and The Sun.

A former teacher, she’s conducted workshops and written reviews for Story Circle Network, www.storycircle.org. She also writes for Caregiver Village, www.caregivervillage.com and InspireMeToday.com, www.inspiremetoday.com/.  She facilitates writing workshops and publishes Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com


Alfred J. Garrotto is the author of the suspense novel,