Turning Tides and a Quick Catch-Up

Tide heart by Janice HunterWe must be open to all points of the compass; husband, children, friends, home, community; stretched out, exposed, sensitive like a spider’s web to each breeze that blows, to each call that comes. How difficult for us, then, to achieve a balance in the midst of these contradictory tensions, and yet how necessary for the proper functioning of our lives. ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, (A Gift from the Sea – 1955)

Thank you to every one who commented on my last post. As often happens, this post began life as a reply. I decided to post it instead, for those of you who don’t subscribe to comment threads.

A few weeks ago, if I’d logged in and found those comments, so full of wisdom, compassion, understanding, friendship and appreciation, I’d have wept with the emotion of it all.  But today, after a few sunny,  pain-free weeks full of  music and reading, what I feel is a surge of contentment and gratitude…and a growing  – but comfortable – longing to get back to some balanced blogging.

I’m not ready for daily blogging or inbox safaris yet, but I’ve regained enough perspective and clarity to know that taking a step back was entirely the right thing to do. I remember a few of you ‘logging off’ for a bit  in recent years and coming back stronger and even more creative because of it.

In the hundreds of hours I’ve gained by not logging on every day, a deeper sense of calm has helped me  – and my husband  – stay more grounded while  we navigate tough financial times and our kids’ teenage turbulence.

Before I dulled my own shine by spending too much time at a table, writing and reading online and not living enough, my writing tapped into a part of me that was more aware, more open, intuitive, communicative and creative. I feel this offline break is leading me back there.

When I wrote my coaching column, the monthly deadline suited me, but blogging’s blurred the line between ‘writing’ and chatting. My best bouts of creativity follow a clear pattern: on fire > burnout > rest.

I’m not a slow and steady, constant, reliable kind of  blogger even though I love community connections and always feel the need to creatively filter and pass on what I experience. Because I’m slowly becoming my old synchronicity-loving self again, I’ve recently ‘stumbled across’ lots of expressive arts courses, events and opportunities that have excited me and my daughter.

The universe has also delighted me with surprise visits from FOUR old and dear friends and their families en-route to and from holidays in Scotland. This means my daughter can have real life outings with her long-distance friends instead of just texts and cyber relationships.

My son, still physically unable to pursue any sports or social events that involve activity, is an inspiration to all of us. He’s simply taken the imposed rest time to fill his life with other things he enjoys, and is brave enough to believe that if sporting friends abandon him during this traumatic phase, then their friendship isn’t as valuable as he thought it was. He’s the poster boy in this house for living the ‘It is what it is…’ and ‘What will be, will be…’ way of life.

Our garden’s still a mess after the winter ravages, but I’m feeling the benefits of having aligned myself with the seasons again. I’ve been noticing the sudden breezes before storms and appreciating all the summer flowers in my garden when they come into bloom. Simple pleasures, like sitting on the back doorstep, enjoying a coffee in the sun, have been flowing back in like gentle waves and restoring me.

Being more mobile and proactive these last few weeks has also given me a boost. It’s meant that I’ve felt brighter and more positive and even shed a few midlife pounds; I’ve done less of what I call ‘C’ eating (Comfort/Celebration/Consolation/Compensation/Convenience) and am feeling the benefit. I now have more energy to support my friends who are battling cancer and my dad who’s experiencing health challenges in his eighties.

I sense that a lot of you experience similar blogging  tides and seasons. I wrote a newsletter article a few years ago called Ebb and Flow so it’s now fairly apparent that I was a  ‘tidal’ writer long before I became a deciduous blogger. I’ve no idea when I’ll be logging on again, but in the meantime, here are a few questions for you to ponder before we meet again:

  • What are your creative patterns?
  • Do you ever get an icky feeling or a sense that your blogging’s straying out of alignment with your integrity or seasonal/tidal patterns?
  • If you took a blogging break right now, for two straight weeks offline, how would you fill that time? If the thought appeals, what, if anything, is stopping you?
  • What do you need more of right now?
  • What do you need less of?
  • What do you need to say NO to?
  • What do you need to say YES!! to?
  • What expands you?
  • What contracts you?
  • Do you ever C-eat? If so, what do you really need instead of food? What is food (or drink) a substitute for?

Thank you, once again, for being so appreciative of my desire to craft something constructive out of the ups and downs of my life and for making this a place I enjoy coming back to.

Janice

18 thoughts on “Turning Tides and a Quick Catch-Up

  1. Hi Janice .. great to have your news and to hear that healing is occurring – your son sounds like a chip off the old block? But how wonderful that he’s being so pragmatic about everything – a wonderful example of “what is and what will be” ..something I’ve been doing for other reasons .. it relieves the pressure, the strain .. and life unfolds.

    Re blogging I cannot take a break – simply because I’m here with my mother .. if I could have a break .. I’d have a holiday – time to reflect and sleep, to recover from the last few years .. but I’d probably be mind mapping on large sheets of paper .. planning my way forward .. not sure I’m ready to switch off completely – I have too much unfinished business here with the blog and life .. but my mother comes first.

    My posting is erratic .. but such is life for now & fortunately it doesn’t seem to upset anyone .. my blog is a relief for people to visit – a mini reading holiday with some interesting thoughts thrown in ..

    I love writing it, as I learn, and I love everyone’s comments re their thoughts on the various subjects I touch upon ..

    and yes – I do C-eat sometimes .. tiredness usually or I’ve overeaten when I’ve been out at lunchtime .. not often! Then I snack attack in the evening .. not overly though!!

    Enjoy the week – and hope your weather improves up there .. looks and sounds awful .. from the golf??!! – Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..A Century of Aces Afghanistan to Zimbabwe =-.

    • Hi, Hilary. It’s obvious to anyone who visits your blog that you get a lot of pleasure from writing it and the visitors from reading it. Such an eclectic range of topics! Thanks for dipping into those questions I posed and sharing what came up for you.

      Because the core of this blog is me writing about what moves, inspires and touches me, as well as sharing what I’ve learned through the years – and am still learning – I’ve discovered the hard way that too much unaddressed tiredness is toxic. It clutters our thinking, our homes and our bodies. When it comes to any kind of creativity, especially writing, I know from experience that I need to protect and nurture the goose or there simply will be no golden eggs. Or to mix metaphors, if I’m going to be a filter or a jug that fills and overflows with inspiration, it has to be a clean, uncracked jug…or a filter capable of clarifying.

      It concerns me that you so long for sleep and rest and a chance to map out some possibilities and plans. I’m wondering if maybe there’s a way you could factor in a wee mini break or an inspiring change of routine around your blogging and daily visits with your mum. If you’re refreshed, it bodes well for both of you.

      The weather here is…well… Scottish!

  2. Hi Janice .. looks like you and me girl!! I’m sure others will be along ..

    yes – I do long for a break .. but as no-one will do what I do for my Ma – its a fait accompli .. difficult – but so be it. I do have my Janice, a therapist, and I have a guest post coming up about her over on Stacey Curnow’s blog sometime soon – I’ve done it but I need to be able to cope and moving isn’t exactly easy .. with everything else – so I’m balancing my ‘books’ (body) at the moment … Janice visits twice a week – which gives me a whole morning or sometimes afternoon free.

    I’m actually fine now .. it was much worse in the last couple of years – I’m almost at piece of cake time!

    I think we’re lucky with the bloggers we’re in touch with .. because seem to understand each other .. and that I’ve learnt from your escaping for a while and then coming back in .. we realise where we’re each at .. and if we’ve built up a relationship with our blogging friends they’ll be back .. or as someone just said .. send out a search party to find the missing blogger?!

    You certainly need time out with your family and time to restock .. my blog is my lifeline .. granted I’d like some free time too – but I’m happy posting and developing ideas for the future … so when the puzzle (sadly when my mother passes on) comes together I shall be ready and waiting .. and then I’ll take time out. If Mum becomes less awake then I may take odd days out – but I like to be there for her .. and she certainly appreciates it: I couldn’t leave her on her own.

    Oh dear – this is a mammoth reply .. bye for now .. and it’s not too warm down here now! Scottish weather .. hope it improves! Enjoy the week .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..A Century of Aces Afghanistan to Zimbabwe =-.

    • I’m relieved to hear that you’re “almost at piece of cake time” and that you have your very own Janice; in an ideal world, everyone would have a therapist, life coach or counsellor to work things through with or to support them in getting to where they’d like to be. Me? I’d love daily visits with the sports injury specialist who worked on my joints and back. At the end of my treatment, I got a free general wellbeing massage. Heaven!

      I’m off to cook tea now. I’m glad I popped back in and caught your comment; I’ve no idea when I’ll be able to log on again as my taxi driving services are always in great demand during the school holidays!

  3. Hi Janice .. I liked your sentiments .. they sound just what I need too.

    You have a good time with the kids .. even if it is a lot of taxiing .. at least your with them .. soon they’ll be off on their own?! Quelle Horreur?!

    Enjoy your times thought – I’ll be thinking of you .. hugs from down south .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..A Century of Aces Afghanistan to Zimbabwe =-.

  4. Responding to this post, I heard my inner voice: “This is the full sunshine of Janice Hunter!” Nary one cloud to obscure your breadth, depth and width, Creative Soul!

    An affectionate blog witness, happy in your galaxy,
    Connie

    • Thanks, Connie. You do make me smile. Can you believe the post above was originally going to be a reply in my comments box?! No wonder I spend so long online if I can’t even keep my replies short. I’m a bit daft, though; each one of questions I just scattered to the winds has the potential to be a whole post. Still, it’s nice to occasionally have a buffet choice.

      It’s been hard staying completely out of the inbox – I know there are emails there from friends as well as blog feeds, newsletters and ezines – but I’ve definitely kicked the daily habit. And it was becoming a habit in the full addiction sense. My back’s become my stop watch now; I get achy if I sit at a computer for too long.

  5. I am working on healing myself and also putting myself in first place, but blogging keeps me grounded so to speak.
    Our finances are in a very slow recovery and I believe I may have to change all the things I am loving about being alive as I begin the job hunting process – something I am not good at and truly do not enjoy.
    I know all the realms of having a healing child and teenage swings, your son sounds remarkable and patient, my daughter was a race horse at full throttle.

    I wish you well and I so enjoy reading your words and phrases – your writing is amazingly wonder full
    Thank you for sharing.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..5 In 2 =-.

    • Hi Patricia,
      Thank you for your good wishes and kindness. I really appreciate it. One thing I know about you is that you thrive when you’re surounded by like-minded or appreciative people so I hope, when the time is right to go back into paid work, that you find something where you can be your best self and thrive in an environment where you can support and enjoy other people in some way.

  6. Janice, your words “before I dulled my own shine by spending too much time at a table, writing and reading online and not living enough” is huge.

    I understand exactly what you are talking about. If I took a blogging break I would spend more time reading books instead of blogs and I’d do a LOT more writing not at the keyboard. Interesting. Same activities but a different method.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Write from the Journal- Paging the Critic =-.

    • Hi Davina,
      I know what you mean; the community connection in blogging is what I get if compare the two kinds of reading and writing and subtract one from the other. But like me, you write differently when you’re out in nature and I suspect we really need to do both. It’s been really hard for me logging on and not going straight to friends’ blogs, but I had to be as strict with myself as I would be if I had a teenager who’d come out of rehab. Because you’re a coach, too, you’ll understand the power of the two question option: I asked myself, if you’re online and can only do one thing, what would it be? Write something in your own blog or visit lots of others? You can guess what the answer was, so that’s what I decided to do first. In a few weeks’ time, I’ll be reintroducing regular visits to other folks’ blogs, to read them without commenting first and then leaving comments if I can keep them a bit shorter.

  7. Hi Janice,
    I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It’s taken me a long, long time (20 years) to get used to an ebb and flow that is not under my control. I have limited energy each day and if I use it reading blogs, that was my energy for the day. To be able to work in my studio, I need to limit the computer to checking emails quickly then TURNING IT OFF.

    For me, since I am retired and have an empty nest, the computer is an attempt to not be lonely. It isn’t completely satisfactory, of course, but I feel compelled to check in on everybody, even if I don’t comment.

    I’m glad you were able to find actual (rather than virtual) activities that feed you and that you have the energy to engage in them.

    • Hi, Diana.
      It was lovely to hear from you again. I just logged on to tackle my inboxes today and found your comment.

      I can’t imagine what CFS must be like to deal with. I have a few health and energy issues with lives of their own, but I’m rarely completely debilitated like many folk with CFS are.

      Like you, I love the connection of blogging, the interaction with ‘kent faces’ as we say in Scotland, but I got a bit OCD about building and maintaining connections and online friendships. Towards the end of my last blogging spell, I wasn’t just checking in with folk, but engaging and communicating with everyone in what turned out to be unsustainable ways; I simply didn’t have the time or energy to chat to all the people I wanted to, far less communicate at anything more than the most superficial level. I started to skim read folks’ blog entries, even though I know how much time, love and energy my blogging colleagues put into writing them. It left me feeling ‘icky’, very inauthentic and hypocritical and that really messes me up. Just going through the feed alerts in my email inbox today reminded me of how much reading I used to get through on an average day before I even did any writing.

      I’m glad you find the energy for your art; you’re very talented and I fear your soul would suffer if you couldn’t express yourself through all your different media. I hope you’ll pop back over again if I develop a new blogging routine. Wishing you health and strength. ~ janice

      • I totally understand what you’re saying about being OCD about social media. I have been watching that trend from the start and trying not to succumb to it. I don’t think I can actually, since I have always been aware that we don’t actually know one another. Still, it reminds me of pen pals in grade school. We were asked to write to students in another country. When I received a response from someone in another country or even another state, it was an amazing feeling, having control over what was a very small world I lived in. Perhaps that’s the lure of social media. That we are not trapped in our own lives.

        Anyway, thanks for the reply. I had forgotten about my comment. You are in my feed so if you do pop up again, I will know it.

  8. Hi Janice! I just returned to the net after 4 or 5 months of just ‘being’. The summer was full of long walks and trips to the farmers market. Gardening and building a chicken coop. We embraced our daily rhythms as I focused on some fiction writing.
    Suddenly I got the urge to return back to blogging. My goal is to keep our daily rhythms in place as I continue my blogging journey. We will see how it goes, I am taking it day by day! I do know this, when I returned to blogging your site was the first one I thought of. I really cherish the community here and miss your wisdom:)
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..0711ddebe7fd2b92jpg =-.

  9. Hi Janice .. just spotted Angie’s recent comment & have been thinking I must call and see how you are up north – pretty snowed in I guess – another bad batch of weather is not what we need. Things better down here for the time being.

    I do hope you’ve continued feeling more balanced and mentally more healed .. it’s been a tough year for you .. it’d be great to keep in touch via email occasionally .. full name (no hyphen) at g mail dot com.

    Look after yourself and the family .. with love from the south and thoughts for you all .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Talli Roland a favourite and author The Hating Game =-.

  10. I totally understand what you’re saying about being OCD about social media. I have been watching that trend from the start and trying not to succumb to it. I don’t think I can actually, since I have always been aware that we don’t actually know one another. Still, it reminds me of pen pals in grade school. We were asked to write to students in another country. When I received a response from someone in another country or even another state, it was an amazing feeling, having control over what was a very small world I lived in. Perhaps that’s the lure of social media. That we are not trapped in our own lives. Anyway, thanks for the reply. I had forgotten about my comment. You are in my feed so if you do pop up again, I will know it.

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