A few weeks ago, I wrote about free-writing, and how helpful I was finding it – helpful in sorting out my thoughts, writing blogs, class planning, sifting through problems, and so forth. How such a “purposeless” task, was actually helping my productivity.
Well, I stopped writing…for a while.
I am figuring it out.
Why, when I know it’s helpful, have I stopped doing it regularly? Why do I feel this resistance inside me?
Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- I got out of the routine I’d started to establish when I went to a conference in San Diego.
- I was busy with other things and didn’t feel like I had time.
- I was avoiding thinking about some things, and writing my stream of consciousness seemed “risky.”
Habits are notoriously difficult to break. Creating new habits – which often involves breaking old ones – seems to be just as hard.
It’s often at the point when we have experienced something different (in this case, the usefulness of the free-writing) that something “comes up” that we can rationalize as a reason why we can’t do it right now (whatever that new behavior is).
This sometimes happens in learning the Alexander Technique – perhaps you discover a way of releasing habitual tension when you are, for instance, typing on your computer keyboard. It won’t FEEL, however, like you are “working” anymore – it will feel a lot easier. And then you get to rationalize, with thoughts like, “I don’t have time to be aware of myself when I’m working,” or “I can’t work properly if I’m not concentrating hard (and tensing up),” and even “I don’t feel like me when I let go of that tension, so I won’t be able to work.”
Alexander Technique is transformational – usually gradually, at a pace which is manageable – but sometimes the changes can feel like your whole identity is different. “Who am I if I don’t tense up while I work?”
I am currently going through some difficult times with my parents in the UK, who are aging, ailing and fading in different and challenging ways. I’ve been avoiding writing recently in part because the habit isn’t truly established yet, and I’ve been distracted and busy, but mainly because I know that when I write my parents’ situation is top of mind, and I don’t want to think about it!
…which is ridiculous, because I am thinking about it virtually all the time!
I am, however, reluctantly bringing myself back to the writing. There’s no joy at the prospect, as there was a few weeks ago. Each time I do, though, it’s helpful. Just the act of letting all my thoughts and worries spill onto paper is therapeutic. The writing is an act of self-care.
Today I wrote:
I am sad.
I am worried.
I want someone to tell me what to do.
Of course, I mean I want someone else – like a parent – to tell me what to do. That won’t be possible. There is, however, someone who will tell me what to do. And that person is me!
I have Andy (my husband) and friends, not to mention professionals like doctors and care-givers, who give me tremendous support and advice. It is up to me to act, though.
I am tired. Stress is tiring. Self-care is more important at the moment than ever, for me to be there for mum and dad in the UK, not to mention for my family at home and for my business. If I want to have the energy for everything, not to mention clarity in my decision making, I must prioritize my own well-being, however difficult that feels.
In other words, I must practice what I preach.
Free-writing is now an important part of my own self-care, along with other daily practices like Constructive Rest and a walk or run outside. Looking after myself, both in the moment, and with specific self-care practices like these, is essential for me to bring my best self to the world.
I am committing myself to these practices.
And I am putting this “out there” to help me with my commitment to myself.
In my Facebook group, each week I ask, “What are you doing for YOU?”
This is my answer. What is yours?
Image © gregorylee / 123RF Stock Photo
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