Writing and Resting: The Winter Solstice

A theme is emerging as we near the official start of winter.

A friend emails that she's tired, depressed and depleted, the end result of consistent beating herself up for not writing.  Never mind that a beloved friend of hers recently died, her business, like so many others, is rapidly changing, and she suddenly finds herself back in touch with people she's not heard from in years.  (Facebook, ya gotta love it.)  Stress much?  Ya think?

A family member tells me she's not going out much these days, hasn't seen friends for awhile.  Never mind that she's got a new love with whom she is deliriously happy and that she doesn't really want to go out.  She worries about it all the same.

And I myself spent much of December wringing my hands and flopping about the office, sighing dramatically as I resisted the new ideas that so desperately wanted to take up residence in my brain.  In a session with my very wise coach yesterday, I voiced the thought that I'd been feeling the urge to reinvent myself.  Yet at the same time I felt stagnant and unmotivated.  Plus I hurt my knee and there's been ice all over the streets and sidewalks so I couldn't get out and run.  And my computer is failing fast and my 92-year-old mother's furnace broke on the coldest day of the year.

I-yi-yi, what a season.  Oh right–it is an official season, the holiday season,  when we are all supposed to be of good cheer.  Nothing like a little forced gaiety to ramp up the resistance.

In the aforementioned session with my very wise coach, she reminded me that December and January are traditionally times to rest and take stock.  To eat healthy food and go to bed early and take care of ourselves so that we have energy for the more active seasons to come.  Yet we, in our modern society, resist the idea of slowing down, of being passive, of storing up, of resting.  We feel the need to go, go, go and when we feel the urge our automatic response is to resist it and keep going. 

And thus resulteth the running injury, the negativity turned in ourselves, the constant shoulding.  Conversely, giving yourself the time to relax opens up space–room in your brain for that new writing project to finally take shape, for the fresh idea to bubble to the surface, or simply for your whole being to just say, "ahhhhhh" and do nothing.

So just remember, to everything, even writing, there is a season.  If you're struggling with the desire to rest, quit resisting and let yourself go.  And report back to me when you awaken again in April.  Kidding!  You only get until March.

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4 Comments on "Writing and Resting: The Winter Solstice"

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Roy
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Thanks for the words of wisdom Charlotte. There have been more than a few evenings lately when I have gone to bed early, all along feeling guilty as if I was breaking some unspoken rules of productivity and the literary life. I know that I do resist recharging sometimes. And ever since Thanksgiving, the stress factor has cranked way too high. Both the wife and I, as well as our two small kids, have had work and school holiday activites, plus shopping, and family gatherings, and the daily/weekly chores required to simply survive! I agree with you: it’s time for… Read more »
Lindsay Price
Guest

It’s hardest to slow down I think when we are responsible for the work that gets done. There’s no office to go to, no 9 to 5, work gets done when we do it. It’s easy to go into panic mode.

But rest is essential. The brain can only take so much! I’m an avid TV watcher (and proud of it!) for that exact reason. It puts me out of work mode and gives my brain a rest – hmmmm. Not sure that’s the best advocacy for tv, but what can you do….

RennyBA
Guest

Hi Charlotte – long time, no see: Sorry, but have been rather busy lately: Yuletide you know and even today; The Winter Solstice.

Its always a comfort to visit and read your inspirer post and this one was very thoughtful. I’ll take a Yule break, but will be back soon before Easter 🙂

Happy Holiday Season to you and your family!

Lydia
Guest

Thanks for the wise winter words. I had a similar “respite” occur around Halloween and am producing much more now. Here’s to a good work/life balance in 2009.

Lydia @ The Other ~F~ Word http://www.lbdcommunications.blogspot.com

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