Recovering

 the lovely view from our cabin over spring break

I’m back, after a longish but unintended hiatus.

I’ve missed writing and connecting with all of you. Unfortunately, I just had nothing to write about. Or I thought I had nothing worthy to write about, nothing that would make your trek over here worthwhile.

My last two posts were about the Japan earthquake. I wrote them because I felt I needed to. But I wasn’t happy with the posts because I couldn’t translate my emotions to words. How is it that I could write about something so clearly devastating to me (I was nauseated for several days) without feeling? I had put up a wall, a dam, between my writing and my feelings. It was at that point that I decided to stay quiet behind my writer’s block.

But many of you commented on my last post and I even heard from some new visitors. Your words and support meant so much to me, enough to keep me from quitting my blog altogether.

Looking back, I realized that in my absence I was trying to find ways to cope. Reading, hearing and thinking about the earthquake were literally making me sick. Somehow my body responded by one day choosing to live more externally. In other words, I began spending less and less time inside my head. I turned off the t.v. I tried staying away from my computer as much as possible. I began avoiding words. I stopped writing and reading.

Instead, I began doing, something that is sort of out of character for me.

For Fred’s spring break we made a 3-day getaway to a hot springs town. We rented a beautiful cabin near the Appalachian Mountains and enjoyed our own private tub of hot mineral water. Cabin fever and a crazy marital spat aside, I had a wonderful time and returned home with softer muscles and radiant skin (you have to try a hot springs dip!).

I’ve also been spending alot of time outdoors, exercising. 3 miles of walking a day. Push ups, lunges, etc. The intoxication of the sun and the endorphins released from moving my body feed my desire to do more.

I’ve scheduled three fun dates with a good girlfriend of mine (she doesn’t have children and is still enjoying the carefree life) that I don’t see nearly enough of. WHEN was the last time I really went out with a girlfriend, doing girlfriend stuff??

Max, Fred and I have also channeled our anxious energies into doing something creative and productive for Japan. We’ve been folding origami and making origami cards as both symbolic and practical gestures (for fundraising). The idea of doing something so intricate used to give me headaches, but now that I’ve tried it, I realize how soothing and meditative origami can be.

And I’ve felt so good! I am at peace. I am happy. My body has softened. Yes, this small island on the other side of the world – my second home country – is reeling. But I needed to move on. In searching for ways to cope I’ve stumbled upon and incorporated ways to add more peace and joy into my life.

And a week or so ago I really began to feel that I miss…words. Stories and updates from friends, my own reaching out to others.

I admire the many bloggers who can continue to write consistently no matter what enters their daily lives. I am hoping that I can better combine the internal and the external, and am looking forward to filling this space more regularly from now on.

How do you cope when your inner world feels overwhelming? Do you also go through periods of hibernation? If you’re a blogger, how do you maintain your motivation to write and stay public?

7 thoughts on “Recovering

  1. Your second Japan post is what brought me here (via The Empress, I believe) it moved me deeply.

    To answer, I personally do turn inwards when my world and the world at large is overwhelming me. I don’t always do a great job at talking about things that are hard for me, so inevitably I will have to write to get it out.

    Hence my blog. This entire week is a testament to that. At times it’s excessively personal and other times it’s funny and for life observations. For me writing is therapy and sometimes I don’t feel like working it all out, but eventually I do.

    Good for you reconnecting with what is real. Outdoors. Always good for the soul.

  2. Happy as always to see you back. Would love to purchase some of your origami cards if you are thinking of offering them online! The 3 mile walk outside sounds delicious. We’re embarking on our own little vacation tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to it.

  3. I’d like to purchase some origami cards.

    And? you canNOT quit blogging.

    I know you.

    You can’t.

    The connection is something real to me and you.

    Yes, it is a tremendous amount of work, and of doing something that you sometimes feel is coming from an empty tank.

    It’s like the saying, ” I don’t like tilling the garden, but, oh, how I love the harvest.”

    You are with me, here, forever, even if it is only 2 posts a month.

    That’ll do it.

  4. It seems to me that there are some emotions which blind us from our words to express them. And then time and activity are the only salves. I’m glad you’re finding piece and joy.
    Sometimes my words seem to just magnify or amplify my problems rather then letting them flow. Then I need to stop.
    But I am so so so glad you’re here today.

  5. Yay, glad you’re back. I know what you mean about creating distance with writing when you’re trying to cope because that’s what I did when I was going through a rough period. Because I couldn’t and didn’t want to bare my soul with my writing, I chose to avoid istaltogether; it’s taxing enough to have to go through the emotions but even worse when you have to be guarded.

    When I was finally ready to “come out” and when things were better, writing became more therapeutic and not burdensome. Reading the words of my friends also became more of a source of comfort (perhaps because I longed for the familiarity of their “voice”).

    But I’ve long since abandoned the “you have to write all the time” mentality to lessen the pressure of blogging so I don’t eventually resent it. I started with posting three times a week, then scaled back to two and now I’m OK with missing that schedule if I’m busy with other areas in my life. Writing is good for me. Blogging and its community are important. But life with my family and my own mental health have to come first. Once I’ve learned to strike that balance with less guilt, I find that I’m more willing to come back to this space for refuge.

    I’m glad that you’ve decided to come back here too, and I look forward to more of your posts. But no pressure 😉

  6. Let me begin by saying that it’s SO good to see you back. You were truly missed.

    I often go through phases of not wanting to write, of feeling like I don’t have anything worth saying or that no one cares. I find that in those moments, I find motivation in the process of writing. I keep writing in public or private, for better or worse, until I get better, until things make sense again, until I find the words to explain what I’m feeling on the inside. It’s tough, but it gets easier with time.

    I’m glad that you found a way to transfer the strong energy, the pain and despair that you felt from the earthquake onto something else that proved therapeutic.

    I’m so happy to see you back. And, I look forward to seeing more writings from you!

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