Day of Rest

emergency exit door

I started this blog 10 years ago. It was a space to process the transformation that was happening, what I was calling a “life rehab.” Over time it shifted a bit to a place to share my writing in general, a practice that kept me accountable, continued to be where I shared my path, what I was experiencing, what made me sad, what made me struggle, what kept me sane.

Since the beginning, I haven’t taken a real break from posting. I’ve posted 486 Something Good posts and 430 Gratitude Friday posts, ran a self-compassion series that I turned into an ebook, wrote and shared over 2200 posts overall. There were times where I posted every day for 30 days or completed other various writing challenges where I posted something every day. I have always, always loved it and don’t plan to stop any time soon.

That said, I am going to take a bit of a break. I’ve already been scaling back to only posting on Monday and Friday, with the occasional extra post when I felt like there was something I really really wanted to tell you. That has been incredibly difficult actually, not coming here to tell you every single thing that was going on, but when I started really and truly working on a book, I knew I had to save back what I was writing to create something bigger, and I couldn’t do that if I shared the smaller bits and pieces of it here.

The past few years have been so strange, not what I expected at all. My burnout, all the the loss, the chaos and crises of the world. I had what seemed like a solid plan, thought I knew where I was headed and what I would need to do to get there, but that isn’t how it worked out at all. For me it has always taken three years to make a full transition to a new situation, to shift and then settle, and I expected the same when I retired from CSU. What I didn’t factor for was the depth of my burnout or the coming pandemic. I’m still not sure exactly what that means for me — has the three year clock restarted?

It hasn’t been all bad. This time and everything that came with it forced me to slow down and consider what I really want, what really matters. I found that my yoga practice was driven by teaching, by what my students wanted and needed, and that I need to find my practice again, for me. I also realized that if everything else were restricted, scaled back, what I really want to do is the same as it has always been — garden, cook, walk my dog, read, write, meditate, take naps, hang out with my husband — and out of all of those things, writing is essential.

Being a teacher and a writer is difficult, and because of my overall temperament, how I relate to people, it’s easy for me to get caught up in teaching, to give it all my energy so there’s nothing left for my writing. With my teaching interrupted, I found my way back, deep in to my writing, and remembered that it was my one true love, and that a lot of what I’d been doing as a teacher was linked to capitalist ideas about being productive, striving, every effort needing to be monetized — something I no longer believe is valid, workable, sustainable, or of any benefit, to anyone.

I’m remembering my bigger reasons for being here, for not giving up. Part of the process for me has to be more mindfully interacting with the online world. As a highly sensitive introvert, it’s not always the best thing for me to spend so much time engaging with social media, the (bad) news, the vast suffering of the world. I want to see what it might feel like to only hold space for what’s right in front of me, to not carry the chaos and confusion of the whole wide world.

So I’m going to take a short break. There will still be a Something Good list and Gratitude Friday post this week, but I won’t be back again online until the week of July 5th. I’m taking Facebook and Instagram off my phone. I’ll remove the Twitter app too, although the only thing I really post there anymore is links to blog posts. Email will be a bit more difficult, but I won’t spend much time there either. I’m taking Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing with me to read, to support the break, to cultivate a deeper understanding of why it’s so important to have a different relationship with capitalism, media, and technology.

It’s going to be hard. I hope I learn something, come back with a better approach, can engage with more wisdom and compassion. Any encouragement or good wishes you have for me, kind and gentle reader, are very welcome. I will miss you.

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. Everything is SO green right now. The bad news is, as it warms up, the mosquitoes arrive, which means this week is most likely the last week we’ll get this close to the river. I am okay with that only because in another few weeks, we’ll be taking our walks next to the ocean for a bit.

Here’s a “behind the scenes” of how hard it is to get a picture of Ringo looking at the camera, even with Eric’s help.

2. Good food. We bbq’d this week. One good thing to come out of being home so much this last year is I got really comfortable cooking, figured out how to make some of my favorite restaurant items at home.

3. Our garden. Everything is so lush this year and we have so many blooms — I’m going to have at least 40 peonies. We even got a handful of strawberries this week.

4. Practice. It reminds me I’m still here, helps me to stay here.

5. My tiny house, my tiny family, my tiny life. I am so lucky, so grateful to be here with them.

Bonus joy: Wild Writing on Friday mornings, a/c, rainier cherries, anything picked fresh from the garden, bees, good neighbors, writing and hanging out with Calyx, texting with Chloe’ and Mom and Chris, babies, herons, “good morning”s, other people’s dogs, good books, good TV, podcasts, naps, clean sheets, down pillows and blankets, sitting in the sauna with Eric, the shade in our backyard in the afternoons, the smell of lilacs, our whole house fan, training with Shelby, lunch with Carrie, picnic tables big enough for the whole gang, not having to lie about being the people who want to stay home and go to bed early because everyone we hang out with already knows that and likes us anyway, reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep.