Hello again! remember me? It’s been a while, that’s for sure. So where have I been? And why did I drop the ball?
Writing this blog was about connection for me. I thought it was a way to reach out but I’ve come to realise more profoundly that it was actually a way to reach in and connect with myself. Writing was, and I think still is, one of the most powerful tools I have in my recovery kit. I used it to forge a path forward through oblivion to create a new life; to imagine days beyond; and from there, to manifest them.
But I lay down that tool gradually, without intention or even realising I was doing it. No doubt I let it go so I could pick up other things. I kept on the path until it petered out, my momentum slowed and now I find myself lost and stuck again. I’ve stagnated. I’ve gathered moss. I’ve let gravity grind me to a halt. It’s not like the apocalypse of 2010/11, the aftershocks of which seemingly still have the power to knock me off my feet from time to time, but it has enough of the flavour of it to have me on my knees howling at the moon for mercy because the system-wide failure seems beyond corporeal explanation.
I should make clear that this interim time has not been spent wallowing in the dark. On the contrary, it has been brimming and bursting with life. I’ve waded into a new relationship with a very kind and gentle man; I’ve been immersed in the always-eventful lives of my family which, has recently expanded by two with the birth of my twin nieces, not to mention the explosion into pre-adulthood of my older niblings; I’ve been engrossed in friendships with my nearest and dearest and collected a few more along the way. I returned to study after a 20-year absence to gain a qualification as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and Mediator (almost). It sounds like a very fortunate life full of the things that matter – it is – so what’s the problem?
To put it succinctly, I’ve become very adept at making a life, not so much at making a living. I’ll spare you the balance sheet and give you the bottom line – my expenses have doubled; my income has all but gone. My new career will take time to build, much more than I had anticipated and at a pace that is currently out of my control as I wait for the prac hours I need to complete my qualification.
Out of control. That is perhaps the true bottom line. The good, the bad, and the indifferent of my life have left my control. I let go of the oar to my ship and have been adrift in the currents of others and, for the most part, enjoying the ride but the tide is rising fast, the undertow ever stronger, I find myself treading water and gasping for air.
From the eye of the storm I can see that it’s time to pick up the tools I never should have put down. Knowing they’re there and understanding how to use them gives me an advantage I didn’t have last time I found myself drowning in a furious sea, but actually using them is the only thing that will save me.
I recently listened to a TED-conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert (who I unashamedly and unreservedly adore despite not yet having read any of her books), in which she spoke about returning to writing in the immediate aftermath of the passing of her partner. She spoke about how impossible it seemed and yet in an unforeseen way, it turned out to be the path back to herself. This resonated with me with a shock that snapped me out of my fug and into realisation. I had put my creative expression aside as though it was extraneous to meeting my material needs. In doing so, I went further into darkness without my armour, without my compass, without my light.
Of course I got lost. Of course I fell into the well-worn ruts that unquestioning, unthinking, uninspired people fill like rivers leading to stagnant lakes. To survive and thrive, I need to make my own channel that leads to an endlessly renewable ocean. Not because I’m special but because I’m not – I’m exactly as unique as every other person has the potential to be. What is true for me is true for all of us: I can only find my way by being me.
It’s not that I hold myself out to be the best writer or even a good one, it’s that writing is what I seemingly need to do to connect to myself. Sharing it connects me to others.
If writing is one of the tools in my kit, travel is another and it’s also fallen by the wayside under this years ‘austerity measures’. It seems to have been a big year for other people’s journeys but I have to admit that it’s left me feeling tethered and somewhat claustrophobic. In lieu of physical travel, I’ve also been recently reminded of the power of imagination. It’s not a thing I lack but it’s also not a thing I’ve embraced lately as a tool for transformation and growth. That said, I’ve decided to pick up the thread where I dropped it. It’s been almost three years to the day from the events of my last blog, if not the posting of them. Fasten your seatbelts, pull on a jumper – we’re heading back in time to Iceland!