March 15, 2024

Yes, I know Groundhog Day is in February. But, for me? Groundhog Day was in early November.

As I wrote in the Fall, after years of work, I had taken a small sabbatical. I’d always planned to return to my blog once the sabbatical ended – refreshed, renewed, reenergized! Upon my return, I actually did manage to publish a few blogs. But for the sake of transparency and honesty (two things I place high value on), I was not refreshed, renewed, nor reenergized. The blogs were very difficult to write. Almost painful. Not because of the subject matter, but because I simply couldn’t locate my energy for writing, for ideas, for even caring.

So, the blog fell silent again in November. I found myself with nothing much to say, and still a great deal of writing fatigue. I had to return to my Groundhog Hole (a burrow, if I am being technically correct). Punxsutawney Phil was clearly declaring six more (many more, actually) weeks of winter for me.

With my marching back into my burrow, I had to – simply had to – make some concessions. I wasn’t rested. I wasn’t growing and stretching. And as a result, I wasn’t tapping into any energized and creative form of myself. I want to be clear here about my choice of words, as well, because I think they matter. I marched myself back into my burrow-of-no-writing. I didn’t slink. I didn’t trudge. I didn’t crawl.

I marched. Stomped. I was mad at myself. Mad at the writing gods. Mad at . . . well, I dunno. Just mad.

The Tao Te Ching declares, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear . . .” Clearly, there was more for me to learn, and more rest to be had. I waited. I let myself be mad. I pouted. I lamented. And then I waited some more. And lo and behold . . . teachers did appear. Over the course of four months, a series of events, voices, and indeed, teachers, have emerged. They’ve been non-traditional in many ways. That’s been a good thing, and maybe how I recognized them. They stood out. They were in sharp relief.

Growing and stretching in new ways is not always easy, but I crave it. It’s something about myself that I am both proud of and perhaps makes me . . . me. And I have grown and stretched. I’ve tried some new things, read some new books, strategized in different ways. Allowed myself to let go of the anger, and instead just accept it and live with it.

No shock to those who have done this: the refreshment I craved was found once I gave berating myself for failure to meet my self-imposed deadline. When I stopped trying so hard. When I began to move with the world instead of by myself.

There is a wisdom here – perhaps it is age, perhaps it’s new routines and teachers, perhaps it’s generational. But to step back into light and life being gentle with myself – the way I expect and tell others to be with themselves – has been nice.

Today is International Women’s Day (even though this will publish after March 8th has passed), and my spin instructor left us with some words that helped me realize my sabbatical, my winter was, indeed, finally thawing. She said, “What if instead of looking at another woman and saying, ‘She is pretty. She is smart. She is kind. She is successful,’ we added, “And so am I.” I loved that, and it resonated deeply with me.

I know a lot of other excellent writers. Many other amazing women who’ve accomplished things that I could find myself (and can find myself) being envious of . . . but I am also a good writer. And I have accomplished many good things. And now, I am getting back to it.

I hope you’ll keep reading. Next week I will start taking on some questions I often ask my couples when I write their ceremonies. I tell them, “This should be fun!” So, hey – this should be fun!

Finally, I am grateful to my new (and old) teachers who have shown up for me:
Master Sheryl and Master Lisa who gently teach me Tai Chi, never calling any move a mistake, and reminding me I am not on a timeline.
To the unnamed brown and black sash women in Tai Chi who’ve watched me have minor anxiety attacks, met me in that space, and offered sage advice or simple presence.
The Alchemist’s Kitchen teachers who have introduced me to plant science, and helped me reset my body and mind.
Danielle, my acupuncturist, who pokes at me literally and figuratively.
Don, who has long been a teacher to our family, and has no problem pushing me out of my comfort zone.
Lou, who aligns my body, and thus my energy.
Love Cycling Studio, for sanctuary and spinistry.
Margaret Talbot, who is the stealth ninja teacher . . . before I knew it, I was back in community, and back to writing.
And always Joey, who is steadfast, loyal, and believes in me even when I don’t.