A few months ago, I coined the phrase ‘deciduous blogger’. It seems I have a natural tendency to take frequent breaks from blogging; my blog often lies dormant while I gather strength, ready to reach for the sun, put out fresh new growth and blossom again.
I used to have a love-hate relationship with blogging; I’d periodically succumb to blogweariness, not only from writing and commenting at length, but from visiting dozens of blogs every day and spreading myself too thin in an attempt to participate in supportive, reciprocal blogging.
In that depleted state, I’d become more aware of the tribal drums of blogging and the underlying currents of hypocrisy, egotism and exploitation that so often leave me feeling queasy. Now, if blogweariness or cynicism sets in, I simply have a break.
These past few months, however, I haven’t been going through a spell of deciduous blogging. I’ve actually been battling a wind that’s felled dreams, washed away blossom overnight and threatened to uproot me. My roots ache from having to hold on so tight, even though I know that every storm they weather strengthens them. Sometimes, letting go is simply not an option.
Despite a notebook full of drafts and a camera full of photos to share, I’ve been resting after a confluence of losses, bad news, family health problems, teenage exams, financial blows and a minor but confidence wrecking car crash. Even when I wanted to log on to explain, and to bask in the warmth of my online friendships, I spent a part of my time away virtually immobilised with back pain; sitting at a computer was impossible.
I’m a very honest writer and cherish authenticity and integrity; I believe in looking for the learning in challenging situations, but in two months that have included a short spell in hospital, doctors’ visits, physiotherapy, friends’ battles with cancer, and a medical diagnosis that threatens to blight my son’s adolescence, every bird, bee, cloud and sign from the universe has told me to lay low, rest, fill up the jug and focus on my own health and that of my family. That’s the only way I can replenish my soul and my writing so that some day, I can turn it all into something that might touch, help or resonate with others.
So often we advise extreme self care but are the last to practise it. I love my family, my friends and online buddies, but if I don’t take care of myself, I have nothing of quality to give – and this beautiful world of ours deserves the best we can give, not half hearted love on automatic pilot.
I hope to be writing again soon, here and at my Kitchen Table Space; a comment response I left there the last time I logged on formed the core of this post. I adore my wee blog; I built it with love, hard work, time, energy, laughter, tears and a genuine desire to connect at the heart, to contribute something of value to the world, even if it’s just a splash of floral colour on a dreary day. I don’t get writer’s block; when I have an overwhelming need to stop writing and start living more, to clean house and do some soul gardening, I’ve learned to listen.
I hope you’ll bear with me while I tentatively dip my toes back into blogging waters.
In the meantime, here’s a video I’d urge you to watch if you’re an educator or have kids, nieces, nephews, young neighbours or grandchildren. As you know, I’ve had an organic, patchwork career which has included teaching, so I really resonated with Sir Ken Robinson’s latest TED talk. (I posted his 2006 TED video here when I started out blogging.)
In this latest talk, he discusses principles and beliefs that my husband and I actually live by when it comes to our kids. (To read more about how we try to nurture their talents, please check out my piece called Sharing the Journey.)
The poem in Sir Ken’s video is also deeply personal and special to me; used in this context – and because of the pain both my kids have been through these last few months – it had me in tears. I logged off weeks ago to cherish my loved ones and my health and I’m glad I did. I posted today because I wanted, more than anything else, to connect with you again.