I haven’t actually stopped writing, but after regularly publishing an article a week, I haven’t written anything in the last three weeks.
The gap is a result of honoring my personal development process – of trusting my intuition over what my mind thinks I should be doing.
The experiences I covered in Screaming out in Silence were deeply personal, and revelatory for my development. I discovered things about my childhood and about how I totally screwed up my early love life that were almost shocking to me. It’s common after such big insights and changes to need time to integrate. It takes a while to absorb such monumental shifts and it’s counter-productive to force new change on top of important internal processes that are still unfolding.
Over the last few weeks each time I’ve thought about starting a new personal development process I’ve gotten a queasy feeling in my belly – a feeling that’s just the same as when I consider eating giant sea slug. (An opportunity I’ve had several times and have so far have always declined). My body is gently but persistently urging me not initiate any new changes. Take a break, rest, integrate.
On the heels of gaining insights into my relationship with my high school sweetheart, the Boston Marathon bombings happened, which prompted me to write about my experience of healing from the trauma of the Edgewater Massacre. The process of writing that article required that I go back to those events and I spent several days vividly re-living the terrifying experiences during and after the shootings.
I felt that article was important to write, but the process left me depleted and even more in need of some time for restoration. Given how important my personal development and the blog are to me, it’s tempting to push through that resistance to continue exploring and writing, but if I did, I’d be putting additional and unnecessary strain on my emotional wellbeing.
I’ve also made a big change in my lifestyle recently. After living a mobile lifestyle, I settled into a new apartment in New York and unpacked my suitcase for the first time in 2.5 years. To be honest, I’m ambivalent about the change. I’ve always wanted to live in New York and I’m happy to be there. But at the same time, I’m missing the adventure and diversity of exploring and living in new cultures.
Big life changes take emotional energy.
Lastly there’s the good old-fashioned need to make a living. My time in the US has been booked up with consulting engagements, crisscrossing back and forth between California and New York. I had blocked out this week to write for the blog, but I got an unexpected call on Sunday evening saying that a colleague had fallen sick and asked if I could fill in for her. By midnight I had booked all my flights and re-scheduled all my other appointments. As I write this article on Monday morning I’m on yet another flight to San Francisco, where I’ll be working for the next ten days teaching multi-day courses to three different clients.
My income was light at the start of the year so I’m happy to have more work. But it sure is challenging to write meaningful articles about personal development while putting most of my energy into teaching.
Through all of this my mind has been telling me “You must write. You have to write or you’ll lose momentum.” It would be all too easy to listen to that mental imperative and force myself to write. But following that mentally driven path would result in more words on the page with less authenticity and less useful content.
Instead, I trust the guidance of my body and subconscious mind as they gently remind me that now is not the time for new explorations or prolific writing.
I imagine my writing will be less frequent for the next few weeks. I’ll be back in full swing when the time is right.
The one thing I’d like you to get out of this article is this: Listen to your mind, but don’t give it supremacy in your decisions. Trust your intuition as well. A well-balanced life comes from a well-balanced awareness of both the conscious mind and sub-conscious guidance.
Trust yourself and follow your gut.
(Especially when it tells you not to eat giant sea slugs.)