Ok, so I was meant to write a post last Thursday (as per my own dictated publishing schedule) and I didn't. The obvious, lame excuse? That I had just come back from a 10-day holiday the day before and was not "in the right frame of mind". Yes, I may have been a bit (understatement) miffed at being back in temperatures south of 10 Celsius when only days earlier I was chasing the shade like a lost soul in the desert. Yes, I probably was annoyed at being thrust upon unending greyness in every direction when I had been previously basking in turquoises, azures, emeralds, and bright yellows. (We went to Galicia, in Northern Spain - beautiful!)
In one word... I was feeling RESISTANCE. Resistance at being back in my day-to-day routine, resistance more generally at being back in the UK (it's a principle thing), and resistance specifically at still living in Scotland (yes, the weather and itchy feet). So I resisted writing, and I resisted everything that came my way for about 4-5 days until I developed a cotton-wool head with accompanying dull headache. Things improved since my son started school again, and my husband went back to work (I'm just saying...) but today, as I was going about trying to bite big chunks of my to do list, I decided to ask myself some pretty awkward questions. (By the way, one day I should try it for real this eating of my to do list - you know how people write their worries on a piece of paper and put them into a bottle, or the freezer, or they hide them somewhere... I should try eating up my "to dos" literally! Note to self: Best use homemade organic paper for that.)
So these are awkward questions for myself, because the answer is often around fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, inner critic stuff, and all the usual suspects. The experiment seemed worthy (and rather scary!) because I'm asking un-edited, brutally honest questions to myself in "public". Here they go:
- Why don't I write more, more regularly, and more honestly (even if it means it's not perfect or always necessarily "purposeful" in an obvious way?
- Why don't I regularly read blogs?
- How can I be in the "blogging business" and not read/write blogs more often, more intensively?
- Why do I hold back? So. Very. Much.
- Why am I overflowing with ideas and projects yet run out of steam soon after I kick them off?
- Why would I rather fold clothes than write (or record a video, email, chase up clients, etc, etc.)
- Why won't I cut corners with menial tasks around the house (to save sometime for the activities I l love)?
Did any of these resonate with you? (Even if the details/context was different?). Most of these questions are about incongruence. I see it as putting yourself in a position because you said that's what you are doing, and then fidgeting the hell out of yourself and your position. Turning sideways, walking a few paces that way, a few the other way, turning around, retracing your steps, getting lost looking at someone else's position, sometimes getting lost looking at your own shoes, getting distracted by any passing bird or noise...
A person is said to be in a state of incongruence if some of the totality of their experience is unacceptable to them and is denied or distorted in the self-image. Is this why I embrace so many of my undertakings half-heartedly? There is a very clear, very strong sense of resistance in all of this. Like trying to roll a boulder uphill. Except the boulder is me. I'm trying to move in different ways, trying to flow more, to instinctively and ruthlessly employ my energies and talents with what I enjoy (and discard the rest). But I struggle. Boulders don't flow uphill.
It boils down to the why and the how. Why do I need to read more blogs? If it's because I'm meant to (now that I'm a blogger myself) - that's the wrong answer. It will only take me so far and I will lose my joy on the way. If it's because I get inspired, I get nourished, I nurture myself and potential connections to others, that feels right on in my body. In my heart.
And how? How do I infuse this intention of reading and writing more so that it is another form of self-care? Don't make it into a responsibility. Don't target it. Don't make it into an objective, with deadlines, and performance data, and overall assessments. Don't let your mind anywhere near it. Feel it in your bones. Do I want to get inspired and read some blogs I usually enjoy? Then give myself permission to do that. Do I want to take a warm bath instead? Then do that. Do I want to binge watch Homeland season 6 again from the start? Do that too.
Choose for the right why and the right how. There will be less incongruence and more grace. The boulder may morph into a chirpily jumping pebble. Less "on task" but more productive. More creative. Ultimately more contented.
[I wrote this in less than 30 minutes directly on my website's blog post interface, without much editing at all, nor a cooling off period. Not bad. For me. ;-)].