These last few days I’ve realised that I’ve done too much. I’ve been feeling a little like I did when I wrote this post about burnout. It’s not manifested in quite the same way but I’ve felt a need to pare back, to do less, and to radically prioritise (Ruth Poundwhite‘s term) what I want to do.
I’ve been here before.
I get carried away in pursuit of my goals. My life revolves around work. Little by little, I find bad habits creeping in. Not refilling the well. Not spending as much time outside. Drinking too much coffee. And craving chocolate!
Eventually I grind to a halt. My inspiration dries up. I feel adrift. And it’s all of my own making.
Knowing what the answers are and living those are two separate things. Even more telling is seeing others implementing my recommendations and getting results while I’m floundering by the wayside.
I really do believe that we teach best what we most need to learn. I’m on this journey for a reason.
burn baby burn
Once the realisation hits me that I’ve wandered so far off the path, I have to stop and regroup. This is the moment when I question everything. What am I doing? Who needs this? Is this what I want to do?
In the past when I’ve reached this stage (and I’ve been here many times), I’ve burned everything to the ground. Taken down websites, deleted material, torched notebooks. Until nothing remained. It would initially feel good. My head, which had been mush, was emptied. I could exhale. I was free.
But I still didn’t know where I was heading. And, as these things do, eventually the call would come again. Over and over, throughout the course of many years. A going round in circles. Build it up, pull it all down. Regroup.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the Void, in this state of limbo, waiting for a shift to happen. I know the theory. I’ve lived it, breathed it, and written about it. Yet the journey still trips me up.
I don’t see it coming until it’s engulfed me.
So, here I sit, with my discomfort. I’ve learned not to burn all my bridges, even though it’s tempting. I know, deep down, this too will pass. Mostly I finally understand that this moment requires surrender. However much I want to plough on and push through, I’ll just be using up my limited resources. Far better to rest, sleep (yesterday I had an afternoon nap!), revisit my self-care (no chocolate in the house), disengage my tangled brain (yes, back to the meditation), and disconnect from the noise (limit my scrolling and recharge my Kindle instead).
I have to take my own advice.
the aha of a lightbulb moment
I know from previous staycations in the Void that I will emerge with greater clarity and focus. That there will be a flash of a lightbulb moment and a way forward. I know, because that’s the way of these things. While I can’t see the wood for the trees right now, at some point there will be logic and the random jigsaw pieces will form a picture.
I’ve learned to trust the process, such as it is. Often we only see one step ahead until we finally look back and see the route we have followed.
Many times I’ve lost and found my mojo, only to lose it again. But, knowing what I know of the Essence Map, I understand that we are always in a state of constant ebb and flow. Our lives have their own seasons. Sometimes we’re in full flow and other times we need to pause, or have the pause imposed upon us.
As is the case in nature, nothing will bloom unless you first sow the seeds. And then you wait. And then you wait some more. You think nothing is happening but then you look again and see that little shoots have been growing.
what do we want?
The Void shows us who we don’t want to be, what we don’t want. This period encourages us to go within, to reflect, to take time to work out what we do want. What do we love? Sometimes we lose ourselves so much that we have to rediscover who we are again.
The past few months have highlighted the theme of story. A number of my podcast guests have talked about storytelling. I’ve felt a nudge to write more about my own story, about some of the unspoken periods of my life, whose telling has opened up a flood and helped me own that story rather than being owned by it.
I’ve gone back to my childhood. To what I loved the most. The books. The voracious reading. Gardening with my Dad. Even now I think of him by my side when I’m out in the garden or pottering in the greenhouse. Putting pen to paper, letter writing and journaling. Some of my favourite solitary activities that recharge my batteries.
The Void is a letting go. A decluttering of what is no longer needed, to make way for something new to take its place.
This is where I am. Again. Releasing what I think I should be doing and, instead, going with the flow.