Keeping a journal is a specifically helpful art. They can help you grow, heal, and thrive. Journaling can help in the moment, when you want to flesh out and understand certain ideas or the way a moment unfolded. It's a place to explore action and reaction in a distanced fashion. And the best thing about keeping a journal is that you can revisit your old self, your old experiences. Sometimes, doing this can give you more insight about yourself, your life, your loves, etc. Your journal can continually give you things: new perspectives, new hope, new understandings. Let's take a step back in time and look at a journal entry from November 2005.
Healing has been on my mind a lot. We're heading into winter, the time of reflection and personal growth. In this account, Lili Rose, a healer by nature, said a very important thing:
"I choose to be happy," she said.  "It is all a choice, so why choose suffering?" 
The decision to be happy is not always an easy one to make. But we can do the work to pull ourselves out of suffering and move forward with positivity, openness, and kindness. I'd love to hear of your similar (or different) experiences with this idea, or journaling, or whatever you'd like to offer in the comments section.
Your friends will know you better
in the first minute you meet
your acquaintances will in
a thousand years...
"Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah"
by Richard Bach
Well, I've just had an experience like the one described above.  At the moment, I'm in Ketchikan for a few hours before the ferry carries me to B-ham.  The ferry is always an experience, especially the three to four day milk run between Juneau and Bellingham.  And of course, I'm sleeping on a lawn chair in the solarium with a toaster oven heater hanging six feet above me to stay warm. 
I met Lili Rose due to a reluctance she had to break a promise to her husband - we bacame hitching buddies on the Sitka stop.  Visiting from Santa Cruz, her cousin was on a diving trip, and she decided to do a four day roundtrip ferry ride from Ketchikan to Skagway and we crossed paths on the Skagway-Ketchikan run.
"I have a gift for healing," she said as we strolled around the church in Sitka.  "I'm known as the Rock Lady because I do so well with stones."
Like many people from California, she was very open in sharing her story, and at first I wrote her off as a New Ager.  She even looked the part of a mystic.  Petite, with long reddish brown hair, and large green eyes, Lili Rose has a vivid presence.
And then she told me she was only 74 pounds a few months ago, and that she had died and been brought back three times in the last year. 
Having four disks in her neck fused together, complications with her medication affecting her health, she had run the gamut of a modern-day medical nightmare.  She had a food tube forcing nutrients directly to her heart at one point before she figured out that it was the pain killers she was taking for her neck were affecting her system, and got a medical license for marijuana to stop so she could take in enough calories to not starve to death.  She gets high, so she feels okay enough to eat, and if she's not in too much pain, the food stays down.  Since she had stopped taking the painkillers, she had gained forty pounds and was healthy enough to take this trip to see her cousin and twin soul. 
"I choose to be happy," she said.  "It is all a choice, so why choose suffering?" 
A healer in pain all the time, a giver who can't receive, Lili Rose gave me a stone she had carried for almost twenty years.  A clear piece of quartz with copper filaments  threading through it like angel hairs, she described it as "rutile quartz."  She had it with her when she was holding people's hands as they passed from this life, or brought new life into the world.  She swore by it.
"This stone is very powerful," she said.  "It'll send your messages
directly to God."
Since the stone was important to her, the agreement at first was that I could carry it until I came to see her in Santa Cruz, and then we would trade out for a stone with gold filaments.  But by the next morning, she said that it was my birthday gift. 
"My dear, what is the point of giving a gift if one does not also treasure it oneself?"
This classic quote by Colette - the French writer, not our beloved slinger of hash and singer of songs - was the last sentence in a short story by Truman Capote.  I was so impressed by it I recorded it in my journal years ago and thus, have never forgotten it.  So the significance of this gesture by a woman I had known for three hours was not lost on me.
But the best gift from Lili Rose to me was the missing piece in the puzzle of forgiveness.  Without going into the details of the conversation that led to this - anybody who's done any living at all has been stumped on this issue at least once in their lives - we were treating ourselves to a less-than-mediocre dinner served in the swanky ferry dining room when Lili Rose dropped this pearl of wisdom on my plate.
"When you truly forgive, you give up your right to retribution."
Now that's some profound shit, but she went on.
"When you wait for an apology, an acknowledgement, or a punishment to forgive, you are still giving up your energy to a situation, which is what somebody wants who does things that hurt us.  When you give up that right to retribution, no matter how justified, you take back your power."
Something tells me this leg of the trip is going to turn into some mystical avenues.
If I ever lose that rock she gave me, shoot me.