1 week…since I’ve stopped taking my medication for fibromyalgia (not intentional).
1 week…since I arrived in NYC and had the best time I’ve had in a while.
2 weeks…since finals ended.
2 weeks…since I saw my mom and finished my first year of graduate school.
3 weeks…since finals began.
3 weeks…since my boyfriend arrived back home from a long trip away.
4 weeks…since my last blog post.
4 weeks…and here goes nothing!
Friends, it’s been a while. I can’t lie- it’s been nice to take a break and honestly it hasn’t been easy to willingly neglect my blog but still has just been a breath of fresh air to just take a break amidst the business. I was even putting off writing a post until later today though all day I knew I was going to accomplish my first post in 4 weeks, but like always, it’s hard to get back into rhythms. It’s not that I’ve been dreading to write or not necessarily wanting to write, but more so that I’ve been enjoying other things that have been occurring, or also just caught up in the many responsibilities that have fizzled out as the semester has closed. The first week I didn’t post I’m going to admit, I was feeling guilt and sadness, and also extreme stress. I hadn’t realized it was even Monday until it was late that night- talk about unmindful. As the weeks went on I grew more willing to take the break and let other things come my way. I feel like I’ve let my readers down, and have been wrestling with the feeling of responsibility to my blog and the act of simply writing for it. But even thinking at this very moment, maybe taking this break was needed and my resistance towards writing a post is trying to tell me something? I’m unsure.
“Writer’s block” is common but there are many reasons for why it occurs. For some it’s simply a part of procrastination. Others base it out of fear or anxiety, which can also stem from procrastination or fuel it further. Some people say they can’t write when they just simply don’t want to do it, and honestly I think there’s some good reasoning behind not doing something when you simply don’t want to. I also believe there’s great merit behind recognizing your resistance and then working with it by attempting to write regardless of your feelings that may be hindering you in the first place. Simply “showing up” which I wrote about in an earlier blog post and is advocated by Seth Godin, is vital when it comes to writing or any activity that requires your best efforts. Moral of the story here is that if you ever find yourself either avoiding doing something (doesn’t matter the reason), or you’re giving yourself a reason to not do what you had set out to do, it’s worth exploring those emotions/reasons to see what’s really causing the behavior. See, one simply does not have “writer’s block,” there’s lots of reasons behind it as we’ve already explored. But if you never take the time to explore what’s behind you not writing or doing your work, well that’s not really mindful is it?
Through this post, I keep thinking, wow I’ve got something good here. It’s like my entire four weeks of “writer’s block” was pointless because I thought I didn’t have much to contribute so just didn’t bother. But clearly as this post shows, I’m making progress just by putting my words to a screen. As I’m putting these words to screen, I’m considering more of the reasons that contributed to my hiatus of writing. I know that I’ve been under more stress than usual with moving to a new apartment and then moving to DC for the summer, along with finishing up my first year of graduate school. With more stress comes (usually) less prioritization of other things (typically the things that we enjoy). It’s the same repeated merry-go-round that many of us face daily, weekly, sometimes throughout our entire lives. But stop and think for 30 seconds, what is it that keeps bringing you to that merry-go-round, and then for another 30 seconds think what brings you out of that lifestyle?
Sometimes when we’re doing the same thing for so long, it can almost be mindless rather than mindful. Sometimes we grow to resent or resist things we once enjoyed because it just seems stale or we have this idea that we need something newer. Well maybe you do need something different and maybe you don’t. The point here is to take that time to stop, think, and explore what those feelings or urges mean to you and what can be done about them. Maybe you do need to take a well-deserved break (and in these days, we rarely give ourselves enough credit to be break-deserving). Maybe you need to go on a mini-adventure or a large adventure, or pick up a new hobby just to say you tried something different. You’ll never know what you really want until you stop to really listen to yourself and then go do it! And don’t ignore those emotions that come with those choices, you’ve got to be able to accept the good and the bad feelings. That’s being mindful.
Maybe I was just burnt-out, or maybe I felt like I really had tired out my thoughts? Honestly, I’m still not quite sure and will continue to work through these feelings. Over the last few weeks I’ve experienced a lot of exciting things since being done with school, and I’ve simply been trying to live more in the moment. I’ve done a lot of things I wouldn’t normally in my routine, but I’ve enjoyed every moment because I did my best to live it with intention. Being out of school has dramatically changed up my schedule and really my entire life. In two weeks I’ll be starting my internship in DC, which will be my first professional experience since when I was a teacher (and even that experience was a lot different than working in a national office of a not-for-profit organization). My schedule will thus change again, and I’m sure so will some of my priorities. Every summer I have these great intentions and they may be a bit far-fetched and then things shift. But what I’ll actually accomplish, and every intention behind that effort and if I’ve lived in that moment with ease and acceptance- that’s what matters.
I hope that if you’re reading this and you’re simultaneously thinking about that “thing” you’ve been avoiding or just taking a break from, you’re a bit more at ease. It happens to everyone and we shouldn’t feel guilty, feeling guilt is when you haven’t accepted your actions and their outcomes. Acceptance is the first step, just accept your action and what it may entail, then move on. I know it sounds easier said than done but trust me it gets easier the more you do it. Go do that thing you’ve been thinking about but not trying because you’ve been trying to be content with the merry-go-round of life. Stop pretending and go try something different. You may find your passion again (or may not) but at least you listened to yourself and got off the merry-go-round and out of the “comfort-zone”. Oh look, productive discomfort. 🙂