to the Notebook Project
You may have heard of The Notebook Project from a friend, family member, co-worker or through a group you belong to. Perhaps someone has handed you a notebook, and you’re mulling it over – wondering what to do with it. Or, you may have been surfing the Internet and stumbled upon this page by accident. However you found this page, welcome to my web site.
The Notebook Project began in 2006 to give women a safe place to share their wisdom with the world. Unfortunately, many bits of marvelous wisdom are never recorded, because we often tell ourselves that no one is interested in hearing it. Or we say, “I don’t have a book in me.” So we set nothing down on pixel or paper.
But all of us acquire bits of wisdom as we live. Even if our wisdom cannot fill a book, it can fill a page or two, or be condensed into a sentence or a poem. Anne Sexton, the poet, wrote, “The joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard, dies young.” I believe that wisdom, like joy, needs to be shared.
Wisdom is like the “aha” moments Oprah Winfrey describes. I recently heard Queen Rania Al Abdullah (www.queenrania.jo), a speaker at the 2007 California Women’s Conference. (Hear Queen Rania on YouTube.) Although Rania happens to be the Queen of Jordan, she told one of the most down-to-earth stories I’ve ever heard.
When she was in kindergarten in Kuwait, the five-year-old Rania would sit down with her friends every day, open her lunchbox, and eat the hummus sandwich her mother had made for her. But one of her friends would open her lunchbox and pull out – not hummus, but a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. To Rania’s eyes, it looked revolting. She pitied her friend whose mother was forcing her to eat “some weird peanut paste.” One day her friend offered her a bite. Rania could not refuse without hurting her feelings.
So, she braced herself and took a very small bite. She was startled. The peanut butter and jelly tasted so heavenly, she nearly floated off the ground.
"It was," she said, " a Scooby Doo moment!"
So, at five years old, Rania learned the importance of keeping an open mind. As she grew up, went to college, started a career, and found her prince (a real one!), Rania’s awareness broadened into an appreciation of different cultures. She understood how prejudice and stereotypes grow out of fear of what is different.
As she told her story, I realized that’s what wisdom is. It’s a moment when you say, “aha,” because you’ve connected something very specific with something very big that used to seem abstract. We sometimes find ourselves in situations that provoke strong emotions and physical sensations. But part of us is bigger than that moment and steps back from it with enough perspective to connect it to the Golden Rule or multiculturalism. What was once abstract is now real to you. It has just become one of your personal truths.
The Notebook Project is asking
women to share
one of their "AHA" moments or personal truths.
The word, “wisdom,” can intimidate us. We sometimes think it has to sound like a passage from Shakespeare or the King James Bible. But it doesn’t. Wisdom sneaks up on us when we are caught up in the moment. Wisdom is within everyone’s reach. If it could be compared to a food, wisdom would be a lot closer to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich than to champagne and caviar.
Women of all ages, races, nationalities, religions, and economic backgrounds have wisdom. If you’ve ever listened to someone else’s story and seen yourself reflected in it, you have wisdom. Wisdom connects us more deeply to our own humanness – it’s a moment when our hearts soften and open. As we become wiser, we more readily see ourselves reflected in others.
There is great value in collective wisdom. The purpose of The Notebook Project is to gather many threads of women’s wisdom into one place. I believe that sharing these bits of women’s wisdom from all over the world will contribute in some way to the benefit of humanity as a whole. Whether your wisdom fills a book, page, or post-it note; I look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. You may participate in many ways – by email, or by making an entry in the traveling notebook. You can jot down a note, a favorite quotation or poem, or send a drawing, painting, or photo.