Category Archives: NaBloPoMo

#NaBloPoMo: 30 Days

Postcard from my dearest Mikalina, sitting on my newly clean writing desk

Today is the final day of NaBloPoMo. 30 straight days of posting something every day, (except that one day I missed). It was good for me to write this much. I’d been trying to get back here more regularly since I quit my job in May, but it just wasn’t happening. So much wasn’t happening because I’m burnt out.

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

Burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give, (read this full article: Burnout Prevention and Treatment).

The article that I pulled that quote from suggests burnout can be caused by work, lifestyle, or personality traits. When I read the specific characteristics on those three lists, consider the three possibilities, every single item on every list fits the way I was operating up until I quit my CSU job.

Just last night, I was curious and looked up the Facebook page for my department (I’d unfollowed because it isn’t good for me to see it in my feed all the time) and I was reminded it’s the 80th anniversary of its formation, which means lots of extra work for the communications coordinator right now. I realized if I’d stayed and been the one to do all that work, I never would have made it. I felt so relieved in that moment, so grateful I’d been able to make that choice for myself.

And I’m realizing that no matter how aware I am of what I’m experiencing or how much I do to take care of myself, it’s going to take longer to heal than I want. I’ve said before I had big plans to get a bunch of house stuff done over the summer, then when fall came, I expected to dive right in to my new career as a Contemplative Practice Guide. I have ideas and completely fleshed out plans of what that’s going to look like and what I’m going to offer, just need to put in some work on the back end of things (such as creating a mailing list and a new website and choosing an online payment method, researching venues for in person classes and workshops).

I adjusted my expectations recently to expect to start full speed at the first of the year. After just this short holiday week, having spent a lot of time working on cleaning and sorting my home office, and looking ahead to Eric being home for an extended period for winter break and needing to do some preparation for Christmas, I’m realizing that maybe the first of the year isn’t realistic either. I even suggested to my friend Mikalina yesterday that maybe I’ll take the full year off, May 2019 – May 2020, before I’m really ready to start.

And that’s okay. Things take the time they take, and in a situation where you are healing your heart, mind, and body, cultivating a new resilience, there’s no reason or sense in rushing it. In the meantime, I’ll keep showing up here when I can. Next month, starting tomorrow, I’m beginning one of my favorite yearly traditions, December Reflections hosted by Susannah Conway.

The idea is simply to take a photograph (and share it if you wish) every day in December while reflecting back over the year. I’ve provided a list of daily prompts with a mix of things to photograph — for example: through the window, floral, home — and things to ponder. The ponder prompts are an extra invitation to pause for a moment and consider some of your favourite bits of 2019. Share your treasured photos from the year alongside your thoughts. Dig further into the prompts privately in your journal. You may feel moved to create paintings or collages or poems. December Reflections started as a photo project but feel free to take it in any direction that calls to you!

As always, I’m so grateful that you continue to show up here, kind and gentle reader. Knowing that you are “out there” is such a comfort, such an inspiration. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ❤

#NaBloPoMo: Thank You

Ringo cuddling with me, a #tbt from 2016

When we were looking for another dog after we lost Dexter, one of my wishes was that he be a cuddler. I was imagining a dog like Dexter, who could never be close enough to me, who would circle around and when he finally landed, he wasn’t just next to me, but part of him was on top of me — and I loved it. I still miss having him curled up next to me at night while we slept.

Ringo Blue isn’t in general a cuddly dog. He’d rather be moving, and when he does sleep at night, he doesn’t like to be bothered, will wake with a growl if you bump him. And yet, he does cuddle with me under certain conditions, specifically on the couch while I’m watching TV, usually at night. He doesn’t really ever cuddle with Eric and absolutely never with Sam, just me.

Last night, he crawled up into my lap while I was watching TV. He was positioned just about how he is in the above picture, which is his favorite way to cuddle — back end somewhere just above my knees and head resting right about where my heart is. He was there about 10 minutes when I decided I was finished watching. Typically, I’d get up and go get my phone, check in for a bit before I brushed my teeth and got in bed to read. By this time of night, Ringo has usually already asked to be put to bed, but last night he was just too cozy to get up.

I felt the urge to ask him to move, get up and get my phone and get on with it, but instead I stayed. I thought about how I’d give anything to see Obi and Dexter again, to sit quietly with them, doing nothing but being together. I reminded myself that some day Ringo won’t be here anymore, and I know on that day, I’d look back on a time like this and tell myself, “just stay, don’t move, be here.” So I stayed.

To practice gratitude, we often skip past joy. We list the things we are grateful for with a sort of duty, a sense of obligation — we give thanks, look for ways to return the kindness or to earn it. Appreciation is something we offer, extend out, give away. Last night, I spent some time sinking into the joy I was receiving, opening to it, letting myself notice it, allowing myself to fully experience it. I embodied my gratitude by feeling my joy.