A note from Lynda Monk, Director, IAJW.org

As a journal writer, you are engaging in creative self-expression that can support your heart work and well-being.  We are living in challenging and changing times.  This is being felt at both the individual and collective levels in society.  We need Hope.  Encouragement. Inspiration. Optimism. We need to do, as Eric Maisel suggests in his article below, our “beautiful work.”

I was inspired by a message that Dr. Maisel recently shared in his own newsletter called “Hearts are Waiting” and he is offering it here as well. Here you go…


Hearts are Waiting by Eric Maisel, PhD

We are a hard species to like. At the same time, some among us do beautiful work, smart work, compassionate work, life-affirming work, even breathtaking work. Does that work matter? As we witness this cataclysmic shift from what we thought was a solid-democracy-with-some-problems to an incomprehensibly fascist state, should we still be making documentaries, painting landscapes, moving physics forward? Or should we be responding entirely differently?

First, we are obliged to just get through the day. That alone is hard for millions. Sickness, sadness, isolation, money woes—it is all a lot. Well, and as long as voting still matters, we will support candidates and we will vote. We will speak up, though it is hard to say to what effect. We will try to identify the villains, though there are just too many to be counted. We will gather to hear speakers who are trying their damnedest to plug the holes in this leaking (or is it, sinking?) vessel. We will applaud them and, if we have the energy and the wherewithal, we will join them. These are things that we can do and that we know to do.

But what about our good works? Our good works will not save the world. That’s for sure. But each good work, when it reaches another human being and touches another human being, buoys him or her a little. There are no words in English to describe the difference between the heartache one feels watching civilization sink and the heartache one feels watching a beautiful movie. We require a much richer vocabulary of heartache to parse that distinction. But that second heartache is quite something, isn’t it? We can buoy hearts and break hearts with our work, and that is something.

What I really mean to say is, keep at it. Make good soup. Kiss someone. Live in the light and for the light. Fight for freedom. And feel free to create. We have no illusions, but by the same token a masterpiece is not an illusion. It may not save the world—in fact, it will not save the world—but maybe for each of us our heart is the world, and that can be touched. I sign these newsletters “In solidarity” and you know what I mean. We have our work to do in this time of despair, our political work and our social work. We also have our heart-affirming work.

We hope that we are not watching a combination of that mean-spirited authoritarian streak in human nature and late-stage capitalism bring us down for good. That is quite a tide to buck. We can’t buck it, really. But we can be the resistance. Please stay the course, be political, and resist—and also do your beautiful work. Hearts are waiting.  

About Eric Maisel, PhD

Eric is the author of over 50+ books.  He is an expert in mental health and world renowned creativity coach.  He is a member of our IAJW Journal Council.  If you would like to receive Eric’s newsletters, you can sign-up for it here >>  I always welcome his wisdom to my inbox.

Eric and I co-edited the recently released book called Transformational Journaling for Coaches, Therapists, and Clients: A Complete Guide to the Benefits of Personal Writing.


Journal Prompts for Times Like This

From Lynda Monk, Director, IAJW.org

  • What uplifts you at this time?
  • How do you counter feelings of overwhelm, despair and sadness that you might be feeling?
  • What work are you doing? What “beautiful work, smart work, compassionate work, life-affirming work, even breathtaking work?”
  • What difference are you here to make?
  • What matters most to you right now?