I think this is one of the more difficult posts I have written over the last couple of years. So I will just put it out there now, to make it easier on myself. I am going to be taking a few weeks off from posting here. Four weeks, I think…a summer vacation of sorts.
For the past almost two years, I have posted Mindful Mondays faithfully, every Monday. There have been so many benefits to a consistent writing and posting schedule. Perhaps the most important one is that it provides me a structure and framework within which to write. When I know I am posting on Monday, it becomes a regular part of my week…usually something I look forward to, but on occasion, something that creates anxiety. What if I don’t have anything in particular to write about in a given week? Am I getting repetitive? With the weeks flying by the way they do, do people tire of my articles popping up so often?
Like anything, the consistency has had pluses and minuses, both for me, and for my readers. But perhaps the most important thing, is that in writing a blog about mindfulness, it is important–no, absolutely critical–for me to practice what I preach here. And what I have realized is that I have been feeling a bit burnt out, overextended. Not particularly fresh or creative. Tired. I am sure many of you can relate. Even for the things we love to do, that we feel blessed to do, every now and again, it is important to take a step back. Pause. And breathe.
To stop, and make sure that our daily lives are mirroring our innermost values.
To take the aerial view, see the bigger picture, and understand where we are, and where we are headed.
Or, to simply be, and do nothing at all.
I realize that I am vulnerable to approaching my writing much the same way as I approached my medical training. Keep your nose down, work yourself as hard as you possibly can, and keep going no matter what. Perhaps (at least with becoming a doctor), there was the fear that if you actually stopped and questioned the process, you might never start again.
But in creative endeavors, and perhaps in life in general, I don’t think that way is working for me. To be creative, meaningfully-creative, inspired-creative, even fun-creative, I need time. I need margins and space and freedom. I need to be able to disconnect, wander, read, journal, meditate, pray, watch, get lost, walk, sleep, play, think, not think, eat, laugh, and engage in anything that allows me to not be focused on an end result.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have my job and my kids, so I can only get so crazy. But you understand my point–small moments of aimlessness, doing things simply for the sake of doing them, for no result or benefit at all–is perhaps something we all need more of in our goal oriented, accomplishment focused lives.
Taking a few weeks off from blogging seems like it should be no big deal. But for me, it is radical. Because I can’t separate writing and life. Learning to tune in to what I need and want in writing, is practice for doing the same in life as a whole. What do we need and want? How do we meet those needs and wants?
Despite all of my writing about and teaching mindfulness, slowing down and paying attention to my inner and outer world is tremendously effortful and challenging. It is just not how I am wired. But that is exactly why I must practice, why we all must practice. And if I am listening, really listening, my heart is telling me I need some time away.
I hope there is something about my giving myself permission to step back, that allows you, my dear reader, to do so also. Let’s be curious about what we might do less of, what we might discover, when we finally allow ourselves to stop. Without guilt. Without shame. Without self criticism. No, none of those things.
I hope you join me. And I’ll see you on the other side.
With gratitude, Monisha