In my time away from writing blog entries I have done little that involved writing and spent much of my time outdoors. Which leads me to lesson one:
Just because you take a break from something, no matter the duration, you can always come back and pick it up again. This goes for hobbies, a project you’ve lost interest in, a stubborn problem that needs a new approach. Stepping away is not quitting and likely when you return it will be with a renewed and refreshed point of view. In the past, once I had stepped away I would begin the process of berating myself for being a “quitter” and never finishing anything. Once I was thoroughly beaten down, starting again was daunting. This time I gave myself permission to take a break, and a general timetable to return and best of all realized that there is no finished, just done for now.
Sometimes when life is bleakest, the reward for persevering is a powerful moment or one of extraordinary beauty. This comes from sitting with some of my lowest feelings over the years and reflecting on the grace bestowed upon me when I emerged from despair. It came together in stunning visual clarity after I spent 14 long hours behind the wheel, in driving rain for a large part and on a dark, rainy, windswept mountain road at the end. My reserves spent, I was fully focused on avoiding becoming another highway statistic. After stopping for the night, I returned to the road to finish my drive home and the stunning beauty of a river gorge awash in fall foliage greeted me and was my companion for much of the day as one river became another and the colors ranged from molten gold to deepest bronze.
It isn’t personal, even when it is.
A long list of events in the last few months, any of which would have sent me to a corner in a funk in the past, sailed right by with hardly a ripple. The difference is in my self-talk, a change in perspective that has allowed this shift to occur. Even in one particular situation when a friend said, “that is such a slap in the face”, and perhaps it was. I took it as the other person having an agenda different from mine and since she was the decision maker, her agenda took precedence. At this rather late juncture in my life I am able to see that I do not need to take ownership of another’s opinion of me, that I do not need to take something personally even when it was the intent. Some might say that the fight has gone out of me, and I suppose when one finds oneself at peace, that is true. The fire, passion and enthusiasm have not waned though, and those are the traits I cherish most in myself and others.
Being mindful in the moment, giving myself time to sit with my feelings and reframe my expectations, choosing to find my peace wherever I am has given me greater clarity and wholeness. I look forward to resuming my daily writing, with even greater enthusiasm.