We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
~ T.S.Eliot, from Little Gidding
As you know, I’ve been having a break from public writing while I attempt to get some balance back into my life. I only write well if inspiration overflows from a life filled to the brim with presence, insight, love and creativity and I discovered last year that too much time spent reading and writing online detaches me from the real world, the source of all my soul-fuel.
The blogging world is an inspiring, stimulating place, full of friendships and opportunities, but blogweariness can drain the life-blood from my writing if I let it. These last few months, I’ve been refilling the well and getting the balance back.
My husband and I have been making slow but steady progress clearing out and renovating our house. I clear cupboards and drawers and fill bags with stuff most days, and the house is feeling more spacious and serene as a result. We were given a few boxed sets of DVD’s at Christmas – 24, Supernatural and Cranford – and after long, productive days, we’ve been enjoying cosy winter nights by the fire enjoying them.
My kids’ school days are going more smoothly and we’re back to having home-made, nutritious snacks, meals and soup every day. There was a time, right in the middle of my most OCD blogging phase, that the freezer saw more use than ever before, but there’s nothing quite like making soup – washing, peeling, paring and chopping a rainbow of colours and textures – to make you feel healthy and grounded.
I’m also in the middle of putting five decades worth of music onto my MP4 player, and that’s involved converting cassettes to MP3 and hardest of all, classifying and editing them. Music’s always been a important part of my life, and it usually means there’s a mini bout of depression on the horizon if I stop singing and listening to music. There’s a deeply rooted connection, too, between my writing voice and my love of music. When one fades, the other often joins it.
I wanted to write you a piece about music, but couldn’t manage it. But that’s OK; it heartens me that I wanted to and tried. Everything will fall back into place when I’m ready and my writing voice is refreshed and rested.
In the meantime, here’s an extract from a piece I wrote a few years ago, about how I got my writing voice back when I discovered coaching. I re-read it today, and it reassured me that we spend our whole lives spiralling upwards. We may feel we’re stuck in a loop, back where we started, but we’re really always evolving; if we can see the patterns for what they are, we can rise above them.
extract from The Sound of Music
I love hearing silence used beautifully. The perfect pause that reaches out like ripples around a pebble in a dark pool. A poem where the unspoken word can say more than the most carefully crafted chapter. The silence between the notes that makes the music.
I went to a Scottish folk concert last night and sat in awe as the fiddles and pipes had a spirited conversation, the flute became a voice, the guitar wrapped itself around them all and the drumbeat turned into a heartbeat, a handclapping, footstomping hall full of joy and applause. As I sat listening to the band, watching the stage lights pick out their foot tapping, swaying forms in beams of changing coloured light on the dark stage, I remembered how I used to feel performing my own songs in the heat of the lights, savouring the silence between the fading of the last note and the start of the clapping.
I sang my way around Europe when I worked as a language teacher and translator; my voice was a vital part of who I was and what I did. After I had my kids, I moved back to Scotland and slowly, imperceptibly, I stopped writing, stopped singing, stopped playing the guitar and even stopped speaking the foreign languages I was fluent in. Silence gently settled around my soul like snow.
When I drifted into life coaching, on my journey out of what I now realise was low grade chronic depression, my passion to tell the whole world about it bubbled up, spilled over and finally gushed out in the torrent that helped me rediscover my voice.
I’ll be able to write again in the next few months; I’m sure of it. Inspiration is always there, like hyacinths blanketed beneath the snow, biding their time, waiting to wake, blossom and fill the air with their fragrance. Until then, I wish you all good things and look forward to connecting with you again someday soon.