My regular followers will have noticed I skipped a week last week. No blog appeared on Tuesday. This wasn’t planned but it was, when it came to it, a conscious choice. A choice which gave me the chance to explore a number of issues relating to writing practice.
The immediate reason for choosing not to write a blog at the time, was overload of activity. A glorious cacophony of exciting and colourful enterprises – not the least of which was a weekend workshop on design techniques and spinning – had left me exhausted and in need of prioritising. Too little available energy, too many necessary tasks. At least in the short term.
Something had to give, and this time, I chose the blog.
I really enjoy writing the blog. It’s not generally something I just ‘toss’ off, although it doesn’t usually require the amount of work I would expect to put into one of my novels. (Yes, there are currently three in the pipeline, at various stages of development.)
I love the opportunity it gives me to take a moment to reflect on where I am and what’s happening for me in respect of my writing journey. So it was with some reluctance that I put it to one side last week. But it was precisely because of such reflection that I realised the importance of doing so.
The theme – the energy – for this month, according to the shamanic website I dip into, is Balance. And balance is very much a principle I believe in adhering to – or, more accurately for me, aspiring to. It’s been an on-going process over the years but I can honestly say my life is much more balanced now than it has ever been before. I believe this to be an essential ingredient of good health.
Years ago, I studied Tai Chi with a beautiful and wise Tai Chi Master. One of the many life-transforming concepts he imparted was the principle of ‘Sustainable Lifestyle’. This simple idea is a lovely way to check in regularly whether your life is in balance, and is one I have used now for a long time, bringing me gradually closer to a better way of living.
But when he first used the term, I had no idea what he was talking about. A pair of us had turned up at a church hall for the second session of a year-long course to learn the Short Form. We arrived early. Someone had been in the hall prior to our class and had left all the chairs out. Eager to prove our worth, we began stacking, and then shifting, huge towers of the things to clear to the space.
Into the midst of our bravado, instead of the expected praise and appreciation, a quiet and gentle comment was dropped: “Sustainable Lifestyle”.
That was all he said – in that annoying and wonderful way of being inscrutable that all the best Masters have. I didn’t understand. I wasn’t even sure if the words were directed at us. And since he didn’t follow up his comment with any kind of explanation, I decided it probably wasn’t important.
Of course, over the year that I spent with him, I came not only to understand the term but to embrace it as a life-principle. That is not to say I don’t get knocked off balance anymore, but the beauty of the concept is that it can be used both as a criterion for checking if your life is in balance, and as a way to put it back into balance.
Last week, after such an exhilarating enterprise at the weekend – something I’d been dreaming of doing for a long time – it was obvious to me that I needed to take some time out to get re-balanced, and I’d planned Monday as a day off. But then the car broke down, on the way home from the workshop, so Monday got caught up in trips to and from the garage, re-arranging enterprises for the next few days that might involve the car … You know how it goes.
I still might have stayed in balance, riding the waves, as it were, if a stupid little voice in my head hadn’t started up. “Call yourself a writer? How can you be a writer if you don’t stick to a discipline? Proper writers write for eight hours a day …” And so on.
What?! Where did that come from?
Fortunately, these days, I’m able to recognise when I’m on the brink of craziness – and it was the reflections I pursued around writing the blog, that allowed me to see that not writing it last week was a healthy choice – and writing about not writing it this week, emerged as a possibility.
There you are – Sustainable Lifestyle.