No More Jeremiads

*Since posting this, I’ve had several unsubscribe emails. At first I thought people simply didn’t like the post  – it is a bit of a non-post – or the way the last three or four posts have made them feel. Then I had a sinking feeling; I mention below that I don’t want to return to writing regular blog pieces unless I can get back to writing  them as well as I’d like to, as well as I used to. I reread the paragraph and suddenly realised I’d made it sound awfully final. Just so you know, it’s the jeremiads I don’t want to keep writing, the long lamentations and explanations about why I’m not writing. I do hope – plan –  to return to writing, whether I post regularly or not, and to some healthier blogging, if I can manage it. I’ve tweaked the last paragraph, but thought I’d add this prefix, just in case it still sounds ambiguous. And if you do unsubscribe, please drop me a line and let me know why. It’s all life lessons. This post was important for me; it marks a crossroads as the domain’s up for renewal soon and I really didn’t know how I wanted to take things forward.


They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. ~ Confucius

painted eye sketchI surprised myself by doing a wee bit of  painting last week. I’d offered to give my daughter some tips for capturing her features quickly in the self portrait part of her art exam, but I ended up inspired, transfixed, longing to do some ‘proper’ painting of my own again. Here’s the first eye I’ve ever painted; my daughter’s so beautiful, I could paint her all day long! The universe has a canny knack of nudging us with synchronicity, of healing us by reuniting us with our deepest desires to create and share something with love, whether it’s a meal or a beautifully decorated table, a painting, a patch of garden or a piece of poetry or music.

Today I found myself wanting to share the sea-twinkle in my daughter’s eyes. When I master the technology, I’ll post a clip of her singing. Her voice is as warm, clear and sparkling as her eyes.

I’ve not had a great year since the last time we spoke. There have been more funerals than weddings and christenings, more illnesses than recoveries and more redundancies than new ventures. In the last nine months, we’ve been badly affected by floods, ice, a volcano and freakish amounts of snow that brought most of Scotland to a standstill for the second year in a row. If you read my posts last year, you’ll know I have strong feelings about snow and the metaphors it evokes.

snowed in

If you have the time, please have a look at that post; I just reread it and was stunned by my own quiet strength and faith in humanity. I’ve become almost unrecognisable to myself, and feel, with serene clarity, that if I can’t regain that kind of flow, that ability to find the perfection and learning  in every situation, then there’s little point in me returning to regular blogwriting. The only way I’ll get better at writing and have something of value to offer you is if I write more of the kind of pieces I enjoy and fewer of the kind the blogging world tells me I should be writing. No more shoulding all over myself, and no more boring you with jeremiads when I long to get back to writing prose that resonates like a song, something you can enjoy.

I hope you’ll leave a comment so we can reconnect again, but if not, I’ll understand. Best wishes for a prosperous, healthy and happy 2010!




  1. Glad to see you’re back. I always enjoy your writings and have certainly missed them. Good luck for 2011, may we visit frequently


    1. Thanks, LG! It was a good feeling today, logging on and knowing that whatever I found – or didn’t find – it’d all be OK. It feels like coming back to a café bistro that I’d had to board up after staying away for a while. I started feeling familiar again, looking around the blog thinking: I need to fix that… I need to clean that… That’s not working…And then I found a lovely email from a ‘café regular’ in my inbox, and your comment here. If it was a café, I’d be bringing you both a drink, on the house, to keep you warm while I got the heating up and running again! But the music would be easy to choose… since I’ve been AWOL, I’ve paid a lot of attention to what the universe has been telling me about music, and I’ve gotten greedy for more of it in my life. I’m glad you popped in!

  2. Trust your own process Janice. It knows what it is doing, even though it may not look/feel that way. You have so much to share that inspires and uplifts, and obviously many talents as well as writing!! I always enjoy and benefit from your posts, but can very much respect the need to hibernate from time to time – even for a long time – while transformations occur. Would write more, but not into public ‘speaking”. Kiwi hugs.

    1. Big Scottish hugs right back at you! I like the way you describe my ‘process’ as having a life of its own. Because I trust my instincts so much, that’s often what it feels like. I mean, it’s really odd; I’ve been devouring all kinds of books with a quotebook and submerging myself in music all year, yet oddly, my first toe back into conversational blogging was about my rediscovered love of painting. Who’d have guessed! The piece I wrote about my friend’s death was one of those that wrote itself, almost unedited. There was no logic to posting that either, nor was it at all sensible to keep it posted for nearly three months but I really feel like I’m being nudged, puppeted sometimes, even more than usual by a benign, synchronicity-loving universe that knows what’s best for me. Thanks for encouraging me to keep going. At this early stage of getting back into the swing of things, I really appreciate it.

  3. Hi Janice,

    Ah, to stay in tune with your uplifting perspective which resonates with me strongly: “I really feel like I’m being nudged, puppeted sometimes, even more than usual by a benign, synchronicity-loving universe that knows what’s best for me.”

    No mistakes, perhaps?!

    I enjoy the vitality of your painting, and am always interested in tales and images of your daughter.

    Glad to have your word-art on tap,

    1. Ah, Connie…I was hoping you’d drop in! Seeing as you coach creatives, I’m guessing my messed up wandering all over the place is home territory for you. “Word-art” is a lovely term – thank you!

      I’d love to write more about my family – my daughter’s talents and traumas, my son’s recovery from medical problems and his toe in the door of teenage troubles, my dad’s health and welfare in his eighties, sibling sagas…but I can’t. The kids are of an age now where they don’t want me to write about them, despite their own love affairs with Facebook, and I’ve never, not once, posted something about my birth family either, except to mention that my dad’s getting older and facing what everyone of his age faces.

      I have another problem, too, when it comes to mentioning my family, no matter how discretely; Facebook has scuppered my anonymity. It’s brought about some miracles – old friends rediscovering me – but it’s also brought me to the attention of a few people who know me personally and that’s been hard. The sneering, smug smirking and downright unpleasantness that’s come from these folk who don’t know me at all – but think they do – has affected my writing; I don’t know how many others there are in my town who’ve read my pieces but haven’t said anything to me. Those I know about have proved in conversation that they haven’t the tiniest inkling about what life coaching is or does (even though my life coaching diversified into coachwriting a while ago, as you know) yet they seem happy to ridicule it. Their uninformed concensus, based no doubt on seeing lots of untrained, unqualified coaches simply calling themselves coaches, is that coaches think they know more than other folk and tell them how to run their lives. They don’t seem to realise that to be a certified coach, you have to spend years studying to learn to ask the kind of questions that support folk on their own specific journeys. For years I managed to ignore the scorn and ridicule, but last year, it started to affect my writing, not knowing if my pieces were being read by people whose peculiar aim seemed to be to spend their time reading and ridiculing other people’s efforts. When I was writing nothing but Coaching Moments articles for the IAC newsletter, writing was so much simpler. I knew who I was writing for and what I hoped coaches and their clients might get from my writing. Blogging’s a different creature.

      The irony about my blog was that it launched with a piece that combined writing tips with coaching insights. It brought me a marvellous readership of aspiring writers, but in some ways, that threw my sense of purpose, right from the start. Connecting with writers is just one part of what I originally wanted to do with my blog, a natural part, seeing as I’ve been language obsessed all my life, but I’m just as passionate about parenthood, literature, writing reviews, music, foreign languages, art, cinema, coaching, painting, photography, politics, gardening and interior design. Along the way, I lost sight of the fact that the blog’s aim, pure and simple, was to share my own journey and provide a café bistro enviroment for other folk to share theirs.

      I’ve just seen the length of this comment reply…no wonder I needed a break! I’d publish this as a post right now if I hadn’t said I was going to be avoiding jeremiads from now on. 😉

  4. Great to see you again my fellow Celt. I’ve missed your presence and wisdom. You’ve always been in touch with your intuition, so trust it.

    If there’s any thing I can do to help just let me know. How about you concentrate on your writing and I’ll take care of the blogging and other technical stuff that always seems to hinder you?


    1. SPOOKY!!!! I’ve just spent over an hour trying to remember how to put links under photos for my latest post and I caught myself thinking “I wish Marc was still around for instant techy tips!” I managed in the end through tedious trial and error. It took hours to post Monday’s post because I couldn’t remember the most basic things in the dashboard. Thank you for such a generous offer; I’ll no doubt be back to annoying you again very soon! I’m really happy to see you back again – have a glass of red wine on the house!

        1. Ach, you big softy. I know you’re only a phone call away, and it kept me going, on the days when I was wondering if I’d ever go back online again, that I knew where to find you and all the other folk I grew so fond of in our extended community. I didn’t expect folk to come back and comment, I mean, I’ve been a deciduous blogger longer a blossoming one over the last few years! I have visited one or two blogs since I logged back on, but for me, just leaving a short comment here and there might be like the alcoholic who thinks just one drink is OK. It’s early days and it would be daft to risk it. I paused my Feedblitz feed subscriptions, too, to make my inbox manageable till I get back into the swing of things.

  5. Hi Janice .. I caught you commenting somewhere – Barbara’s blog I think .. good to see you back -I often wonder how you are up there in the north, while life is relatively easy weatherwise down here.

    I’ve had trials and tribulations and don’t write re family or friends in any real way as I can understand how you feel. Family and friends can be cruel when they don’t understand – we know what we’re doing and you certainly have been there and studied, and are very talented … when people are jealous, or have no idea .. then they proclaim an opinion without a logical basis. A lot of people give & keep an opinion with no understanding at all ..

    So if my blogging friends appreciate my blog – that’s all I need … someone who does read my blog is amazed that my following keeps growing, while their professional blog doesn’t do much: I could offer some advice – but I try and keep out of the way! My knowledge is obviously limited, as far as they’re concerned, .. perhaps not though!

    I love your tulip heading & am always happy when I see that .. it’ll be good to have you here with us again ..

    Look after yourself – as someone said to me .. worry about yourself and not others, life is simpler that way – my gosh is that difficult sometimes!!

    You have such a talented family .. looking forward to seeing more art, more writing and some music .. cheers and a very happy year ahead .. love Hilary

    1. It’s lovely to see you! I got an email alert a while back with a subject header from Barbara that made it look like she was giving up blogging so I headed straight over and realised I’d been daft! I haven’t been doing the blog rounds, though, till this week.

      I think it’s obvious why your blog keeps growing; you’re kind, friendly and courteous and try to visit and support everyone, no matter what you’ve got going on personally. You’re also up front about why you blog – you love the company and the connection, and people appreciate that honesty. But it’s pretty clear that folk like the personality of your blog, too, with its academically wonderful, weird and eclectic pieces that are like prompts for writers or sweeties in a Lucky Dip bag; I never know where you find the time or the energy to research your topics. I saw Vered had been inspired by a childhood food post you did and it prompted me to remember soups and stews.

      I’m going to nip over and see what’s been happening; I’m not sure what the situation is with your mum or Lori’s and that makes me feel I’ve let you both down as a blogging friend. But from what you said above, I’m sure you understand what it feels like to know in your heart that there are times when your feet – in this case my fingers – just carry you away from situations for your own self preservation. From what you said above about the friend who doesn’t understand why your blog’s growing, it strikes me you’ve also learned the power of silence.

      Good to see you and thanks for always being so supportive. I’ve no idea where this next round of blogging will take me, but I know I’d rather stay away completely than do it half heartedly, and I’ve learned, yet again, that the sky doesn’t fall in if I stop.

      PS Woke to snow this morning and now we have no snow because the gales, torrential rain and floods have got rid of it all! I’ve NO idea what’s up with our weather. We’re constantly on Radio 2 because of the weather and accidents.

      1. Hi Janice .. that’s the way I feel about you .. so I love being here – we all have our failings, or think we do – but we’re all human and we just get on with it ..

        Mum’s fine – I’m the one that’s had a few trials and tribulations but the blog keeps me going … but I don’t have family – so the blog and its occupants are my family (to a point) .. and I’m learning loads about the net elsewhere and that stimulates the brain so much.

        Perhaps if I was artistic or musical .. I’d sidle off into those areas – but I’m not and the blog and writing and the creative eclectedness seems have allowed a latent ‘something’ to come through ..

        THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR REPLY to my first comment .. cheers and a big big hug .. Hilary

  6. Ahh Janice, you are such a sensitive soul. And that’s what makes you so special. But it also makes you pay too much attention to the naysayers. My wish for you is that you share your coaching and writing gifts without concern for other people’s opinions.

    1. Thanks, Barbara! I can pinpoint the exact time I started letting it bother me; it was when I got myself ‘fired’ for being a bit too violently articulate with one of my editors, do you remember? The one who hated my writing? Until then, I carried my role as VOICE’s only columnist like a glowing talisman that made me feel indestructible. It gave me the courage to tell folk I was a writer, just like becoming IAC certified gave me the credentials to tell folk I was an internationally validated certified coach. When I lost the column temporarily, through my own stupidity, it shook me to the foundations. Even though I got the column back when that editor ‘resigned’, I didn’t expect to feel as bereft as I did when I eventually gave up the column of my own accord. It felt like leaving home, a family I’d chosen, without knowing where I was going or having any prospects.

      But you’re right; I really need to stop going through these bouts of giving away my power; one of the bits of baggage I refer to in my next post about resignation is the debilitating way I allow my self esteem to be affected by outside factors. One of the most helpful teleclasses you ever did was the one I attended about anxiety. It was like seeing myself in a mirror. Because of it, I’ve spent the last four or five years learning, slowly but surely, to stop reassurance seeking. I also read a great book about highly sensitive people after I did some Thomas Leonard teleclasses, and it was an eye opener, too. My reactions to various stimuli really are heightened and physically painful sometimes and I do get ‘overwrought’ when I’m very tired. Like you said in a class once, all of our gifts have flip sides. My talking too much is bad in coaching, but not a problem in certain kinds of writing. My over explaining is often unecessary and bad in coaching, but it helped make sure none of my students was ever left behind when I was a teacher.

  7. So true Janice! I think it’s way more empowering to focus on the “strength” side. I really appreciate you mentioning the teleclass on anxiety, as I’ve come to realize that is where my true coaching vocation lies. I’m just in the process of building a new coaching website at and I’ve reserved the URL “” with the dream of writing a book of that title. My experience tells me that there are so many people affected by anxiety – their own and that of others – who could be helped by information and coaching.

    So thank you so much for the unsolicited vote of confidence!

    1. Well, if you need case studies for your book, you know there’s a perpetual struggle going on with anxiety over the pond you can cite! Most of the time, my anxiety’s been the making of me.

  8. Hello dear! So happy to hear your blogging voice once again. The painting of your daughter’s eye is spectacular. (Hey that was almost a pun, wasn’t it?) The vitality of youth shows through so clearly in it. Thank you so much for sharing it. She must be a beautiful girl, inside and out.

    I love the term “jeremiads.” It will probably become part of my vocabulary now, although I have never read any of your posts and felt that you were “complaining.” Rather, like someone else mentioned, it seemed more like you were sharing the process one goes through when tragedy, disaster or annoyances happen. I know that when you have shared this process in the past, it has helped me immensely. Our bad experiences in life cause us to feel so very alone, so a post that we can return to, and read again and again if needed, is sometimes just the medicine we need to shake off those anchors that weigh us down. Your life coaching skills are apparent when we read a post from you that shows the cycle of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, that people go through when dealing with grief of any kind. It’s something that I will always appreciate.

    I was reading one of your replies to someone else [sorry, but sometimes I get so hungry for “Janice wisdom” that I read ALL your comments to other people! I’m not a stalker though, really! 🙂 ] and saw that you had Facebook irritations. I have posted very rarely lately and it all started with Facebook and someone on there who picked apart everything I said and even emailed over 100 people to complain about my Facebook page. It kind of made me lose my voice for awhile too, although I have been grateful for the reconnections Facebook has provided.

    Thanks again, Janice, for sharing your journey.

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