My new plan has been to blog 3 times a week. It’s a challenging idea (ack! what the heck will I write about?) that would move me in a direction I want to go with my writing. But last week, Dear Reader, I did not.
I had planned to. It was my intention to. Then I got anxious as the days of the week went by. I couldn’t settle on anything to write. A poem? An observation? Something funny? I dunno. I found myself repeatedly running away from the blank page and screen. Some might call it writer’s block, but truthfully, I knew what it really was: perfectionism kicking my a** (again).
December has been a ridiculously busy month. I worked hard on finishing a children’s nonfiction book on Russia that I was hired to write. We had a holiday arts & craft sale at our art gallery that took a lot of work. Bob and I took a 2-night trip out of town for R&R. Someone in the family had surgery, requiring days of recovery and care-taking. Plenty of social events too. Also gearing up for big changes in our living situations (hard). And oh yeah, all that getting-ready-for-Christmas business.
It’s still an emotional time around here, too. While my feelings aren’t as raw as the first month, I still feel the roller-coaster effect of riding high for a while and then plummeting down, and increasing calm spells. I’m learning to allow ALL the feelings to flow in a way I never have before— sadness, anger, grief, fear, and yes, even joy. The mask that I wore for so much of my life, the one that covered all my feelings so I could keep up a pleasing façade—that mask has fallen to the ground and shattered. I’m feeling rather oddly new. Continue reading
I’ve been hearing a lot about gratitude lately. I remember it casually being mentioned years ago… probably when Oprah started talking about the importance of keeping a Gratitude Journal. I did dabble in it for a while (I love journals and pens!), but nothing made it stick. Now, with the flow of information coming to me from Facebook, videos, internet articles, books, I keep getting little pings into my consciousness… “gratitude is important, gratitude is important…”
How important? I mean, we can say Gratitude is Important till the cows come home, but a skeptic like me needs a little proof. For me, that has come in the form of a quote from Dr. Brene Brown, a shame and vulnerability researcher, and author of many books, including the current bestseller, Daring Greatly. She says that after 12 years of research and 11,000 pieces of data:
“I did not interview in all that time a person who would describe themselves as joyful, or describe their lives as joyous, who didn’t actively practice gratitude.”
She goes on to say: “…practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives… When I say practice gratitude, I don’t mean the attitude of gratitude or feeling grateful, I mean practicing gratitude. These folks shared in common a tangible gratitude practice.”*
Wow, this really struck me. I have to admit, I’m not a particularly joyful person… Continue reading