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  • All the effort in the world won't matter if you're not inspired.

    Chuck Palahniuk, Diary: A Novel

    In Second Life, there are places called “sandboxes” where you can play, try out ideas, build things and learn stuff. For me, doing Diary Yoga is like being in a sandbox, a play space, where I can find out what I am feeling inspired about right now, what is wanting to be written, what I need to say to myself, what I am concerned about, or maybe even feeling sad about. Nothing formal, just notations, quick brushstrokes painting current reality, snapshots of today's thoughts and moments of awareness.

    Here in Cowbird, there is an additional delight of seeing what other writers are noticing about today. Diary sharing! New concept! A DiaryFest!

    Nothing has to be perfect when you are playing in a virtual sandbox, you just play. And this should be the same for writing in my Diary, I believe. No need to look good, just an invitation to be present and see what shows up. And a willingness to look messy, for life, after all, is messy and we simply do the best we can to find meaning and beauty in the chaos.

    Here's what shows up as I am writing right now:

    There are moments when I feel absolutely overwhelmed with the pain and suffering that is going on for so many on the planet right now, and throughout our country: incredible stress, dread, hardship, trauma, heartbreak. No wonder that suicides are increasing, both military and civilian – many just cannot take the pressures any longer.

    It is hard not to think about it. And I feel so helpless to do anything but micro actions when kindness and support is possible. As I write this, my little Inner Censor pops up and says “Oh, you should not mention things like this here…you should be trying to write literature!” So I am telling my Inner Censor to shut the hell up.

    What we are seeing, hearing about and experiencing in terms of shock, horror, dismay, and suffering is simply part of the reality in which we live right now, even when there are trillions of positive, good things taking place as well. But in Diary Yoga terms, I need to talk about these very real shadows from time to time.

    This morning, I was doing a kind of moral support call with a friend who is suffering from many fears and some life-critical hardships, but worst of all, he is being ruthlessly harassed by a government agency in ways that remind me of the Inquisition. So what on earth can I do except listen most of the time, just be there and let him know he is heard and that I care enough to check in with him daily. This morning, in our call, it came to me to say two things to him:

    1. At the end of the day, please identify at least 3 things you are grateful for and keep a Gratitude Diary, and

    2. Everything you are suffering right now, everything that is driving you crazy and leading you to despair, is a kind of survival school. You are learning more than you can imagine. What you will find is that as you survive, day by day, step by step, angel by angel, you will have ideas that you can share with others immediately, and you must do this. You must pass anything useful that you are learning along to others who are in the same situation…pay it forward. I told him about a study I once did of the Book of Job. I wanted to know the EXACT moment when everything shifted for Job, when everything changed, when good fortune descended on him, after so much deprivation and suffering.

    And I found my answer: Everything changed for Job when he turned his thought outward to others: when he prayed for his friends.

    Yesterday was a bitch. Today is definitely looking up.

    (Photograph by Alex in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life)
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