Ingrid Goff Maidoff - Tending Joy

Celebrating Poetry, Beauty,
& the Sacred Essence of Joy

Harvesting Passages from Writing Journals


I carry a notebook with me wherever I go, to catch any whispers, insights, or images that inspire me throughout the day.  In Piero Ferruci’s book, “Beauty and the Soul,”  He suggests keeping a diary of beauty, and I love what he says: “Journaling in this way activates our aesthetic awareness and creates an aesthetic field, an inner space where beauty is not just a possible encounter but a close friend.”  It’s through the practice of taking notes, and in a way conversing with the day, that I feel a deeper intimacy with the sacred.  Yes, Beauty becomes a close friend, as is my sense of soul.

Every few years I realize that it is “harvest time.”  I come to a moment when I am committed, not just to taking notes, but to bringing a writing project into being. Today is such a day.  I’ve dumped my most recent dozens of journals with the last few years of scribbles and notes into a pile… and must begin to sift through.  It is time to re-read, discover how often I repeat myself on various themes, and circle the passages that speak to me now as a reader.  The more distance, I find, the better.

I’m looking for anything and everything on “Befriending the Soul,” as well as any poems or passages on Joy, both the high, mystical experience of joy as a sense of oneness and belonging, but also the ordinary joy of being… both body and soul joy- both human and holy.

This harvesting is like weeding a garden to uncover the flowers (so many weeds!  so many flowers!)- and so much like a treasure hunt.  I have to get through the grocery lists, notes to self… the “what I would be writing if only I were writing” pages… you’d think that after producing 2 albums of songs and nearly 20 books, I would be over that…

Sometimes,( and this is what I love,)  I find passages that were written as if by someone so much wiser than I am-  as if I were just quickly taking notes- receiving insights through my pen.  I’m grateful for these.  These passages usually happen when I have emptied my mind on a walk somewhere.

Sometimes there are poems, sometimes there are pages that speak to me, though I hardly know what to do with them…

   It’s quite the challenge- deciphering the mysteries,… determining the difference between gibberish nonsense and something a little bit better… searching for what is beautiful, nourishing and true.  I’m still not sure about that page above- it’s amusing… it’s clever…. but is it anything more?

Posted in Writing as Sacred Practice |

One Response

  1. Lori Stone says:

    “This is the beauty of poems:
    the space between the words.
    which is infinitely bright”

    This is powerful. I am starting to feel the importance of space — and notice how often I rush to fill it with the unnecessary and trivial.

    In conversations. in my home. in moments temporarily free from activity.

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