Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Breaking the silence 

...subtitled: Blogging - Luxury or Life Support?

[Sorry - this is rather long. You've been spared my ramblings for a while - so now you get a week's worth in one go]

The concept of "making sense of things" only makes sense itself when you know what frame of reference you're working in. What makes sense logically may be suicide emotionally, what you know to be right in your heart may be completely unsupportable in rational terms . There is no absolute yardstick by which to judge sense.

The human psyche - especially my own - seems beyond me. Very little of what has passed through the deeper parts of my mind in the last few days makes much sense in any frame of reference. Things were going fine - busy, but busy with good, worthwhile things - then without warning the walls started closing in and before I realised it I'd entered a dark tunnel; no end in sight.

I've had nothing to say here for several days; trapped in my tunnel, lost in the darkness, all I could find were ghosts of ideas, shadows, nothing with any substance I could grasp; and in any case I'd lost my supply of words.

I think I know now what kicked it off - time pressure. I've been treating blogging and writing as a luxury; something to be fitted in as and when, only after all the other daily activities have been completed. Very soon that relegates writing to a slot around midnight, when these ageing grey cells are sorely in need of rest. So blogging takes a break And every day of break makes it easier to take another day; harder to pick up the pencil again. And then something really bizarre happens - this is what makes no sense at all. Haven't I been saying lately how much I enjoy writing? How at last I've discovered something I'm drawn to do for so many reasons? Well, at this point in the tunnel I seem to enter into a contest with myself, to see how long I can keep off it for. Can't write, wont write. So there. It almost has the feel of a kind of self-inflicted punishment, although for what misdemeanour remains a mystery. Weird. And just as weird is that all of this is going on deep within. Outwardly, nothing at all would have seemed amiss - life carried on as normal with me playing my usual part in it - except that is for the part I've been saying is so important to me. I'd been denying something that sits at my very core.

Some people will know the experience of having a watcher - a part of themselves that seems to sit a little apart, dispassionately observing and sometimes commenting on what they do. People sometimes use this metaphor to describe how they respond in times of emergency; a calm voice directing their actions, taking charge at times when normal inner resources seem to have deserted them. Thankfully my watcher had the sense to take my hand and guide me to reach out, clumsily - and my hand was taken and held by a very dear friend, securely and compassionately, gently guiding and supporting whilst I fumbled around sorting out how to stop sabotaging myself.

And as quickly and unexpectedly as I entered the tunnel, I shot out into daylight and warmth and sunshine again.

Help comes from many sources, but rarely does it come uninvited. Initiating action of some sort seems necessary, even if that action is only a willingness to be open to recognise and receive the help that already exists. In my tunnel, I had isolated myself from much of the connection with the world at large which is so often the source of inspiration. In the past, visual noticing has often been the key to unlock some revelation that was waiting there for me, if I could but see it. Yesterday instead it was aural noticing. London is so full of sounds that most of the time consciousness lets them pass by. But cycling to work yesterday, with many unhappy thoughts circling round my mind, for no particular reason the sound of a bus drawing up behind me forced its way into awareness. And in that moment, a reconnection was made with the wider world. I started listening, and my world expanded exponentially. Even the roar of traffic contains huge variety - pitch rising and falling; shrill mopeds, grumbling lorries, an aggressive sports car; then in quieter moments waiting at traffic lights two children shouting happily at each other; even birdsong manages to break through from the trees around Regent's Park.

I'm more and more convinced that there is no common ground whatsoever between the person I need to be to do my job effectively, and the person I want to be, the person I am most naturally, the person I am when I write. I know this is a dangerous line of thought, but it seems to be an either/or thing. Dangerous, because it will either lead to cessation of writing or a dramatic change in just about every other area of life, with significant repercussions for family. Now, I know with the rational part of my mind that either/or is a very restrictive way of thinking, there are always alternatives; third, fourth, fifth ways. I just can't see them at the moment. But following the either/or thought-path will assuredly take me back to where I entered the tunnel. Which is why I've decided to go and see a counsellor to talk all this through. This is one pattern I'm determined to transcend.

I've commented before on the serendipitous, almost miraculous, way in which the right messages seem to get to the right people through blogging. I had some powerful reminders from Denny yesterday at Book of Life.
Appropriate too that I should find Denny's site through Euan who first introduced me to blogging. Like Denny's reflection on his decision that he only knew later would turn out to be momentous, I wonder if I would ever have discovered writing without being drawn in by Euan's enthusiasm for blogging?

These words struck home:
"The key is to respect the importance of your decision. Don’t do something you don’t have a good feeling about. If you begin a course of action without being sure of yourself, you won’t be able to do the hard things needed to get to the end. Listen to your mind and heart. If your decision makes sense, you’ll know it. Then you can take action with the boldness and confidence you need for success."

And this quote, from Ross Perot, via Frame-a-Quote at Denny's commercial site:
"Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success, they give up at the last minute of the fame, one foot from a winning touchdown."

And finally, one that Anita at Chantlady first introduced me to but bears repeating every day:
"A man of knowledge chooses a path with heart and follows it."

I've chosen; now I have to figure out how to follow.

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