I have been silent for a long time. Several months at least, and it has been hard. Hard to not write; hard to attempt to write. It’s hard not to write because the words are still in there, in my heart, my mind, and my soul and it’s like they are being stifled, suffocated. But at the same time, when I’m going through this non-writing phase, it’s also very difficult for me to try and “force” the writing. I also get very lethargic and don’t feel the energy moving in me to actually sit down and allow the creative juices to flow.
I’m not sure why this happens to me from time to time. Sometimes it follows a major disruption in my normal routine, or a major difficulty or issue that hits me. I find it very difficult to get back on track with anything once my usual schedule is out of whack for whatever reason. You know the kind of thing: I get going into a good exercise routine, something comes along to break that routine and six months later I’m wondering where my exercise routine went. Or perhaps I’ve managed to get started on a “cleaner” nutrition kick and, again, something comes up to interrupt that and six months later I’m feeling physically very sluggish and know that it has to do with the fact that I’m not eating right – again.
A possible reason may be tied to the fact that I am not a multi-tasker. What does that have to do with writing or not writing you may ask. Well it’s just that once I get out of routine it takes an enormous effort on my part to return to routine, and somewhere in there I get caught up in that devious game of “catch-up”. Because I was gone for a month, I had to catch up with a lot of stuff and a lot of people, and in the meantime new stuff was coming up and I just kept sliding backwards in my time management. So then I try to do more than one thing at once and I end up in a mental, emotional and spiritual mess and there’s no way I can write with all that frustration and confusion going on!
So here I am again, in the moment, a little scared. Are the words going to come? Are the words going to flow? Will I suddenly get stuck in the middle of a paragraph or a sentence and go back to being stifled? Just the fact that I am here writing this posting is a hopeful sign for me. I have so much I want to share. A lot has taken place in my life since I last wrote, since my wonderful month-long vacation in Italy. I believe I wrote one posting about Italy and I want to share some more of that experience. I am back at school after the summer break and trying to feel my way into that new routine again – studying and homework.
In September, right before returning to school, I experienced a three day guided silent retreat which was extraordinary. And in November Richard and I returned to our modest time share in Orlando for our traditional “week of respite” before the madness of “the Holidays” begins. During this period of silence I have also lost two very dear friends and need to share about that.
I have started to take Tai Chi and QiGong classes. Actually this is a return to both of those two activities for me and I want to share how that “God-incidence” came about. Suffice to say that I am feeling really good about it and my body is very grateful too. And along with the Tai Chi and QiGong I somehow finally tried acupuncture. There’s a whole story behind all this which is quite miraculous really. I have made it through the “Holiday period” without gaining any weight for the first time in I don’t know how many years – at least twenty!! And that’s a miracle I need to share with you all.
For those of you who have waited patiently for my return – thank you. For anyone new finding me as I share my journey and this adventure in writing – welcome. I hope I will not disappoint any of you.
Once again I have been on a writing hiatus. It has led me to realize that I am unable to multi-task on many levels. I have always understood “multi-tasking” to mean the ability to do more than one specific task at a time. I am sure I have already mentioned in previous postings that this is very difficult for me to do. My brain and my body just don’t function well in multi-tasking mode.
I am always so amazed when I walk by my husband when he is working at his computer. I really should say “computers” – plural, because, although he has one computer (on his main desk – I’ll explain in a minute!), he has two screens and sometimes he is multi-tasking between the two and sometimes he is also multi-tasking on each screen. My brain just cannot hold that! It’s way too mind-boggling for me.
Apart from his main desk, he also has a secondary desk which holds another computer and recording equipment which he uses to create his “podcasts”. When he is all set up to record in that space, it looks rather like an old-fashioned radio show. He wears headphones and has a microphone in front of him and I almost expect him to break out into acapella singing. Since he has been indulging in this activity, which is all linked to his web page work, (www.windowsobserver.com), I sometimes think of the computer room/office as a recording studio too.
The lessons I have learned about myself in the last couple of months are myriad. I have lost three friends in that time frame. Two were “expected”. Is death ever expected? The two people, although unconnected in any other way, had actually been struggling with the same lung disease over several years. The third friend’s death came out of left field and left me, and many other common friends as well as his wife, completely mind- and heart-slammed. The first friend, died on 26th October 2011, the second friend died about mid-November, and the third friend died 16 December.
In other words, just as I was absorbing the news of one death the second occurred, and so it was for the third. In the meantime, as death was occurring, life was going on. Normal everyday events, commitments, and activities continued on despite what was going on in heart and mind. Meetings were attended, friends were attended to, school and its accompanying homework had to be dealt with, volunteer commitments were kept, I participated in a retreat, Thanksgiving came and went as did Christmas, and on and off, in the back of my mind, was the little nagging voice that said “I need to write”.
As I look back, I realize that I was actually multi-tasking in general across the board of all these events. Just to be able to deal with everyday life as well as grieve, and support others who were grieving, was a huge multi-tasking effort of its own, and I am so grateful for my relationship with God and my strong support network of spiritual friends who help me to get through tough times such as these and still stay sane.
But to hold all this together and allow the Muse of creativity to come forward is, for me, an impossible task. I have to put great energy into honoring and dealing with difficult situations and emotions such as death and grief, and there is little energy left for anything else. And I need to honor myself and where I’m at in all of that and allow the various processes to sweep through me. It is all important to my personal and spiritual growth.
So now, as I sit here and look out my window (no working on the lanai today, we had a near-freeze last night!), I feel some of the tension surrounding these recent events slipping away. Even though it is too cold to sit outside right now, the sun is shining brilliantly, the sky is that crisp, clean, light cerulean blue that only winter can bring forth, and I am breathing deeply and easily as I notice the hawks circling above the pine trees, the other birds swooping across and into the garden, and the squirrels frolicking on the backyard fence. Muse is creeping slowly back into my heart, honoring and respecting where I have been and gently inviting my fingers to once again play across the keyboard and put the words on the screen.
When Rich and I left Rod and Trish, we headed east out of Missouri towards St. Louis. Rich wanted us to see the “Archway to the West” and as we rode I-64 I was able to get some decent shots of the archway and the St. Louis skyline. Then we crossed the state border into Illinois going almost halfway across to spend the night in Mount Vernon. We attended Mass in the lovely church of St. Mary’s on Saturday 27 August which left us free to have a small lie-in on the Sunday before making tracks for Louisville, KY and Richard’s family.
Like most of the days on this trip, God blessed us with perfect weather for riding as we finished crossing the state of Illinois, clipped the bottom of Indiana, and rode into the blue grass state of Kentucky. I could feel Richard’s excitement mounting as we rode closer to “home”. The plan was to head to his sister Rose’s home, unpack the bike, then head over to the Kentucky State Fair with Rose, her husband Ronnie, and their kids, Megan and Kalin, to meet up with another sister, Robin, and her daughter, Brittany, and his brother, Robert and his wife, Sylvie, and their son, Patrick. Wow, what a reunion!! I had not seen some of these folks since Thanksgiving 2004!
We spent several fun hours at the fair. I found some great HOT dip mixes and some wonderfully decadent fudge, while Richard ate a Krispy Kreme hamburger?????? (yes, that was a hamburger between two doughnuts!!), and later he could not resist trying some “fried Koolaid”. While some of the others went to a concert they had booked to see, Rich and I strolled around the rides for a while. We had fun tempting the “guess your age” guy who made my day and gave me a “prize” after guessing me to be 15 years younger than I am. Whether he was being truthful or gallant in his guessing I’m not sure, but I was happy. Then the tiredness of the ride hit in and we headed home to get a good night’s rest. We needed to get our beauty sleep because the next day we were putting on a Bar-b-q for the family and even more people were coming.
So on Monday we went shopping then got busy cooking and preparing food. By 4pm yet another sister, Rhonda, arrived with her daughter, Ginny, followed shortly afterward by Rich’s step-Mom Ruth, his step-brother Ryan and his step-sister Rachel and her husband Michael with his son in tow. The crowd was rounded out when Robin got there with her son Dustin, and finally we were able to tuck into all that good food. A little later, as we rested full tummies, Kalin took Dustin and they went to pick up Brittany and her girlfriend who had been attending a school sport meet-up. By that time we were ready for some dessert and enjoyed some wonderful concoction that Sylvie had made.
Our final day in Louisville, Rich went to get his (final?? who knows) tattoo in honor of his retirement. Of his eight tattoos, Lucky in Louisville has created 5 of them. This one he actually created around a small existing one of a dolphin that Rich had done in Washington, DC some years ago. Lucky extended the water/wave line under the dolphin , then added the letters USN over the top of everything with a sunrise and the year Rich entered the Navy at one end, and a sunset with his retirement year at the other. It’s really beautiful.
That evening we hooked up with Rose and Ronnie and the kids, Robin, and Richard’s old school friend and partner-in-crime, Fonda with his wife Sherry. We had a great meal and wonderful socializing at a very good Mexican restaurant, where we all ate a bit too much because the food was great!.
Next day, Wednesday 31 August, it was time to load up our faithful Harley, say our farewells, and hit the road again as we headed towards North Carolina. It had been a good visit with family and hopefully it won’t be so long before we see each other again.