The element of surprisePosted: November 2, 2012
As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.
~ Stephen Graham, The Gentle Art of Tramping, 1926
I have participated in the original, official NaBloPoMo since November of 2006. It was, in a way, a lifeline for me. It was through that first NaBloPoMo that I began to experience a sense of community in what I think of as the outer blogosphere. (I had previously been blogging for years under a pseudonym in a more closed space with a smaller community.) I was going to need my new blogmates and this sense of being in touch with the outer world beginning the following month when M and I made a temporary move to West Chester, Pennsylvania (a town I referred to as Sabbaticalville while we were living there).
I went back, for the first time since I started blogging in this format, to look at my first NaBloPoMo post. I’d forgotten how bad things were with me. The pain. The depression that I didn’t truly recognize as depression for the longest time (something I finally came to realize during an early Thanksgiving). I did have to laugh, though, at this sentence in my first NaBloPoMo post:
I’ve been yelling at the political ads on television.
Ha! Ha! Some things never change. Well, that’s not true. I don’t yell at the political ads anymore. In fact, as part of my meditation goal, I’ve been practicing metta (or lovingkindness) whenever a commercial comes on for someone I don’t support. It calms some of the anger the negative ads tend to dredge up.
The move to West Chester/Sabbaticalville in December 2006 was not what I had planned it to be. In the year leading up to the move, I made plans to continue working while living in Sabbaticalville, which would allow me to make some friends or at least socialize a little. You know what they say about the best laid plans. It didn’t work out that way. Instead, I spent most days of the first few months on my own in our apartment overlooking the heart of West Chester, crippled up with pain. All the walks I wanted to take in order to get to know our new neighborhood had to wait. I could barely make it around the block, and some days I couldn’t even do that. What I could do, and what I did do, was learn to take care of myself so that I could heal.
If you visit any of those old blog posts from my first NaBloPoMo, you’ll find more words and fewer images. I started out more interested in writing than in photography. A little more than a week into NaBloPoMo, I quit my job sooner than planned or expected. My employer sort of forced my hand on that one by treating me poorly when they needed me most. Funny how even then I was circumspect in my writing. I could have ranted about that whole debacle. I didn’t.
I also participated in my first Art Attack challenge that month. Working on a collage for the challenge, I learned that art could be healing. That may have been a turning point for me, where I moved from words to images. Soulspace, the second Art Attack challenge I did, brought me back to words and images. Body wisdom taught me a little about the pain I was experiencing.
Skimming through those old posts, I found a lot of my favorite quotes, quotes that even now still have an effect on me, like the one in this post about our last boat ride of the season.
Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Or maybe you did…? I might be more predictable than I like to think I am.
I’m thinking of it as unblogging. The first NaBloPoMo I participated in taught me how to blog on a daily basis (and if you had the time and inclination to explore the November 2006 archives, you might have noticed that there were many days in which I blogged more than once a day). I believe that makes this year’s NaBloPoMo a good time for me to reverse the process. I will start slow, getting caught up with the comments on my own blog and repaying some of your visits. If I have a good idea for a post, I’ll post. Otherwise, I’m going to be withdrawing a little at a time so I can spend more time outdoors, in meditation, practicing yoga, going within, and working on some other projects when I’ve had enough of contemplating life, the universe, and everything.
Lately I’ve felt as though my posts have been forced, done purely for the sake of posting rather than any real desire to say something in words or images. There’s nothing wrong with practice if it’s leading somewhere. I don’t think it’s been leading anywhere for a while now.
As far as addictions go, blogging is not as bad as some. It’s opened up the world to me, teaching me not only about others and how they live, but about myself as well. I’ve met a lot of people through blogging some of whom are still blogging regularly. Some folks take long breaks and come back to it (usually around the time of NaBloPoMo). Some have shut down their old blogs and started new ones, while others moved on to Facebook or Twitter as their means of social networking. Some have just up and disappeared, leaving me (and others) wondering what happened and are they okay.
But for all the good it’s done, I also feel as if I’m hiding behind blogging lately and that, my friends, is no way to live life.
I learned early that the richness of life is found in adventure. Adventure calls on all the faculties of mind and spirit. It develops self-reliance and independence. Life then teems with excitement. But man is not ready for adventure unless he is rid of fear. For fear confines him and limits his scope. He stays tethered by strings of doubt and indecision and has only a small and narrow world to explore.
~ William O. Douglas, Of Men and Mountains, 1950
Thanks for coming along on this rather long ramble through the past with a glimpse at the present and the future. I’m not leaving. I’m just going to slowly unravel the web I’ve been working on for years. It’s time to take it down and start a new one. Or, if you’d prefer another metaphor, it’s time to look for “the door that does not look like a door.”
I’ll see you when I see you. Be good, be kind, be loving, just Be.
P.S. We had our first snowflakes of the season today. Yay!