My blog back in November 2013 began with this quote:
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ― Harold Whitman
In April this year (only a month and a half ago!) I made the decision to cease being a practicing psychologist. I could say I finally got it right and had no more need to practice – ha ha, boom boom! Not true – I found that the more I learnt and experienced in the world of understanding how people tick, unravelling problems, offering possible solutions and support, the more I realised how little I knew. Each person is a uniquely designed individual, with particular past and present circumstances and, no matter how much I wanted to carry on doing this work an vocation, I found myself becoming increasing exhausted. It is true I have also reached State Pension Age (hurrah!) but also it is tiring to actively listen, absorb, reflect back to and offer a way forward. I had to value myself as much as those I sought to help.
Whitman’s quote talked about coming alive and I wondered how I could find something that would enliven and re-energise my mind, body and spirit.
When my husband dropped his work load to 12 weeks out of 52, he had to make that same search. A wise and dear friend of ours, Ruth, told him not to make any decisions or changes for at least three months. It was good advice for him and he now enjoys a slower pace of life, having time to travel, explore writing about the incidents in his life and work that he considered to involve “too many co-incidences” to be accident or mere fate. I realised I was a tad jealous and the green eyed goddess plagued me with negative thoughts about my previous desire to write.
I had grown enough in myself to no longer crave a label or title to give me credence as a human being with a purpose on this earth. True, the craving can sneak back, but I have learned to speak to it as I used to my Great Dane when she tried to get above herself: “get down!” So why the writer-envy? Any strong emotional reaction interests me and I explored what I was feeling.
Brian has never said he was a writer and still says so. He is a very good story teller and raconteur. He does a better job of telling jokes than I do as he usually remembers the punch line… always helpful. Yet he felt the pull to write down the stories that he told and came up with collating the “co-incidences” that provided such encouragement and hope to him, to me and to those he shared the stories with. He has written them down. As far as he is concerned they are now ‘done’, written and finished. My writing training – creative, professional and academic – made me scream: “No way is that finished! Writing is all about re-writing, don’t you know that!”
He looked puzzled: “I enjoyed remembering it all and I enjoyed writing it. What’s more to do?”
What more indeed. Enjoyment. En-joy-ment: It gave him joy to do it. When had I last felt I enjoyed something? Since writing my doctoral thesis, any intended writing projects had overwhelmed me and filled me with foreboding and exhaustion. No joy.
The idea of writing a blog to put out there what I was itching to, seemed such a paltry thing to my mind. I compared it to the published novels, collections of poems and academic works that I had hoped to achieve like many of my contemporaries and colleagues. Yet where did I go if I wanted encouragement, information, answers, discussions, specialist knowledge or particular strategies to assist me in difficulties? The internet. What often came up – blogs…
So I told myself: “Sharman, do something you can do, something that will enrich your life and hopefully the lives of others, something that will give you JOY. Just do it!!! as Nike says.”
Well, I have discovered that writing this post HAS has given me joy. I feel ALIVE!
I trust the world is ready for me in my ‘aliveness’…