The Held Breath

This morning I was scheduled for a massage therapy session, well-timed because I woke up with a stiff, creaking neck.  My therapist is a lovely, sensitive and caring person, and she noted to me that she had the impression of me being stuck.  She was right, I have been feeling stuck, but I couldn’t identify it until this morning, with my therapist’s help.  The image I had was of a held breath — the tension of a paused cycle, holding on to a good thing until it is no longer good, past the natural moment of release.

This afternoon I had a session with the emotional/spiritual counselor I’ve been working with for several months (full day of self-examination, this has been) and spoke to her too about the idea of being stuck, stopped, tense, paused.  And I’m thinking about it more this evening.  There’s a lot I need to wrestle through for myself, but one thing I feel is at issue is that I’m not writing, I’m not offering any of my work to the world.  I’m doing some good with other organizations (which I may write about later) but I’m not doing anything productive in my own time, nothing that helps me and nothing for anyone else.

I feel like I don’t have anything to say right now, I haven’t been writing stuff because I haven’t had any ideas.  But that’s backwards, and I know it.  There’s a weird thing about creative arts; doing the work is the best way to find inspiration to do the work.  I’ve experienced this before, and I forgot.

So I’m reminding myself of this today, and taking the chance to write something and send it off into the world.  I want to try an experiment: I’m going to try writing something here every day for the next three weeks.  Just three weeks, not forever; a commitment that feels like the right size.

Another part of what’s been holding me back is feeling too confused, too rough around the edges, too much wrong to have anything worthwhile to say.  I want to have my act together, so I can encourage people to deal with whatever is going on with them.  But that’s not who I am right now, and here’s another mistake, something else to remind myself about.  I’m never going to have my act totally together; and sometimes the most valuable thing is to show a peek into the messiness of life as it is, not a polished and prettified version that isn’t totally real.  I think I’d rather encourage someone by admitting I’m not strong than having to pretend that I am.

So here I am, in my confusion and weakness, my doubt and discouragement, my growing and learning, my slow and wandering process of change.

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1 comment so far

  1. Lynn on

    You know, one of the things I admire about your writing is how frank and open and in the moment you are. I’m sure there are things you’re not writing down, not telling us, but what you do write is very fresh, very much YOU, not something filtered through who you think you should be or how you think you should write. This honesty is one of your real strengths. Trust your writing; it will lead you to who you are.


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