Creators focus on outputs rather than the general populace who focus on inputs.*
We connect to an inner place of wonder, and thus we are open to recognising the spirit of wonder in the world around us.**
Ben Hardy writes about the benefits of journaling for people who want to be responsive rather than reactive, who make their own stimulation.
We’re not born as reactive or responsives. We learn how to crave input or to believe we have more than enough input and now it’s time to do something with it.
Journaling is where the reality of what is can meet the imagination, as Maria Popova writes, we are provided with the ability:
‘to transcend what is and envision a different, better version of what could be’.^
She shares this in her blog on the work of Wallace Stevens concerning the pressure of reality and the power of imagination. Stevens writes:
“The imagination gives to everything that it touches a peculiarity, and it seems to me that the peculiarity of the imagination is nobility, of which there are many degrees. […] I mean that nobility which is our spiritual height and depth …. But there it is.”^^
This imagination is the beginning of output. It is our peculiar output. It is to find and use our generative centre, to take input and turn it into some new output.
Ben Hardy describes how:
‘Most people live their lives on other people’s terms. Their days are spent achieving other people’s goals and submitting to other people’s agendas.
Their lives have not been consciously organized in such a way that they command every waking, and sleeping, moment of their life. Instead, they relentlessly react at every chance they get.
For example, most people wake up and immediately check their phone or email.’*
Instead of turning on the radio or picking up the phone, any of us can decide to begin the day with some journaling. Then, the first thing we change is the day itself.
It is messy output. I find the experience of journaling means that although I know the point of entry, I have no idea what will happen in the space it creates and, so, I do not know where I’ll re-emerge, but I know I will, with something I will then aim to contribute to others, usually small, but that is no matter. In this way, I see journaling as following the shape of the hero’s journey written of by Joseph Campbell.
I believe journaling allows us to create new mythologies, the kind Campbell believed we needed when he wrote about the kind of stories for helping us to grow and contribute:
‘But for young people, the world is something yet to be met and dealt with and loved and learned from and fought with – and so, another mythology.’*^
Campbell is in conversation with Bill Moyers who himself reflects on this missing mythologies:
‘Everything was taken care of because the story was there. Now the old story is not functioning. And we have not yet learned a new.’^*
These new stories or myths will only begin to form when we are open to the times in which we find ourselves, the pressure of reality as Stevens would name it, and we are able to be our “output selves” and bring our imagination to bear:
‘The relationship of myths to cosmology and sociology has got to wait for a [person] to become used to the new world [they] are in. The world is different today from what it was fifty years ago.’*^
While we enjoy our changing world it brings with it a disorientation we can struggle through.
Writing our journals, we find we’re writing our own stories, and in writing our stories, we find the way forward.
(*From Ben Hardy’s blog: Keeping a Daily Journal Could Change Your Life.)
(**From Kelvy Bird’s Generative Scribing.)
(^From Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Wallace Stevens on Reality, Creativity, and our Greatest Self-Protection from the Pressure of the New.)
(^^Wallace Stevens, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Wallace Stevens on Reality, Creativity, and our Greatest Self-Protection from the Pressure of the New.)
(*^Joseph Campbell in Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth.)
(^*Bill Moyers in Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth.)