(art journal page by Shari Daniels)
I’ve been gone for a spell. Six months, actually. Goodness sakes.
Last fall, I went into retreat mode. I had just come to the end of teaching my first online writing e-course (for 28 days straight) and was exhausted. The experience was more than I ever expected. It felt like the bravest step I had ever taken and I was so grateful for the brave and beautiful souls that joined me in this first class. They truly held my hand all the way through, cheering me on. Honestly though, these women changed me, not only as a writer, but as a human being. I felt my path shifting to new places as I wrote words for them every day. So much was waiting to be born and I was beginning to bloom as I wrote for each person waiting for my message.
By September, I was exhausted.
Because I am an introvert by nature, a summer of online presence meant I needed a season to hibernate. Well, it’s turned into almost two seasons. My loud inner critic, Bernice, harped on me to get my butt moving, but I ignored her. I told her things would be okay, because it’s really cold outside and it’s nice and cozy in here.
I had come across a blog entry from one of my favorite writers, Heather Kopp about quitting deeper and I could not shake it out of my brain. She wrote about how we humans are always demanding to know what’s next in our lives. We are in a constant state of planning in our date books, scheduling our days with action plans and dreams, needing to be in full control of our destiny. Anxiety sets in when we don’t know how we are going to fit it all in or when we start thinking ahead into the fear of what might happen.
Well, it spoke to me big time.
I was in that place.
My mind was swimming with writing plans. School was starting and I was working with new teachers helping to ease their anxieties. All of my own children had finally emptied the nest and I worrying about them. I wasn’t sleeping well – or eating well – or moving my body.
You are all sharp enough to know what happens when we go down that road.
I decided to quit all my plans for the time being and just be for awhile. Julia Cameron calls it “restocking the well”. I call it “being a hermit”. But, whatever you call it, it’s been quiet, and I’m loving it. I did some redecorating in my writing room (reorganized all of my books, bought a new chair, light and rug). I read books. I took naps. I even started watching Downton Abby. (If you have not started to watch this series, you do not know what you are missing.)
And, I filled five notebooks, one a month, of writing.
It was heavenly, writing for my eyes only. Gabby, my writing angel, showed up daily. She and I did lots of chatting, just about every day things, no real purpose in mind. Eventually, she pushed me to write of my fears, getting to the root of them and I ended up revising this old stuff into new stuff that served as a new truth.
Just the other day, I did some rereading of these notebooks. I realized that they are full of guidance. Words of healing. Of joy. Of pain. Of surrender. . . of letting go. All of this writing had become my spiritual practice. Like prayer.
I’m taking baby steps back out into the world as I try to let go of needing to know where I am headed.
I just felt called to write this post today, so someone must need it.
Besides just me.