I had a Wobble a few weeks ago.
It was all very innocent…a casual conversation with a friend who was sharing her current difficulties with her writing and how she was resigned that perhaps it may have to simply be a ‘hobby’ rather than a way to make a living.
And although it had absolutely nothing to do with me or where I was with my writing, it was enough to send me hurtling back into the swirling vortex of doubt and second-guessing.
This was upsetting for a couple of reasons: I thought I’d finally, after a couple of months of relative seclusion and soul-searching, sorted myself out in regards to where I was and what I wanted to do with my fiction writing and was even excited about it. Also, I thought having done the secluding and sorting and being excited I’d be immune to such random Wobbles.
I remember my first thought after my friend had made that comment was “Oh, no.” Followed by that old familiar sinking sensation of me losing sight of the things I thought I wanted. I was so afraid to see all of the work I’d done start to unravel and for me to be right back where I started.
Which is to say, fretful and unsure…spinning around in circles, trying to catch hold of some kind of certainty that I was making the right choices, all culminating in not actually writing at all.
A “moving statue” moment, to be sure.
Somehow, though, I managed to hear a tiny, whispering voice that told me to take a deep breath and not get carried away. It quelled the rising panic and let me take a bit of a step back.
And it told me that maybe I just needed to go out and spend the day in the garden.
And so I did.
We’d had the gift of a perfect summer’s day — it was sunny, blue-sky, light breeze and no humidity. (precisely the exact opposite of the past few days, but whatever :/).
I weeded and pottered and tidied and swept. I trimmed and pruned and filled bowls with plump, red strawberries. We ate our supper outside and sat watching the family of Canada geese touring the pond.
It was the perfect remedy.
It brought me back to the foundation of my values — my priorities, what truly matters to me — and to the realization that it was the months of work that I’d done clearing that foundation (from the tangled vines and brambles of other people’s influence) that meant a day in the garden was all it took to bring me back to myself.
Which is huge.
I’m still not sure if I’m making the right choices — I doubt very much if we can ever really know, until we do — but I’m feeling happier in the not-knowing and that’s making it possible for me to keep going. I’m resolute in “staying in my own lane”, with my blinkers on (because I had to include a horse-racing reference :)).
The state of semi-seclusion will continue (by which I mean, internet-hermitude) because that’s the only way I know to protect the current fragility of my intentions. Despite my relatively quick recovery, the Wobble has shown me that I’m so very vulnerable to outside influence where my writing is concerned. I’ve found myself a couple of wonderful, unofficial mentors and am super-careful in the curation of what I’ll consume in the author-sphere. There have been so many false starts and burn-outs that I’m still really not quite ready to trust exposure to all and sundry.
What I do trust, though, is the magic of this land. I’ve had some truly incredible and transformative moments this last while — ones I hope I can wrangle into some sort of articulate expression — and I think that if I can’t always have faith in myself, then I can always have faith in this little patch of earth and that will be enough to carry me through.
The clay has danced to balance me* and I’m humbled by the blessing of it.
*This is lifted from Beannacht by John O’Donohue….listen to him read it here….it’s a poem which has carried me through the loss and trauma of these past few years. It’s only now that I begin to see the blessings of everything that has happened and how the land has held me. My heart is full.