Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Five Spot

I haven't blogged in six days, if you don't count that last little post with video of Finn.

Nothing is particularly wrong, nothing is particularly right.    For almost a week my mind shifted into neutral, took a little vacation, went on leave.

I'm just sort of, well, flat

Of course, since I tend to over think everything, I've been over thinking what is going on with me these days, too.   I've come up with the following diagnosis:    I'm okay.

Just okay.   I'm humming along at a safe, regular mental speed.   

I've blogged about how if the scale is zero-to-ten, I don't like being smack dab in the middle, at five.    I prefer big ups and downs, or at least I think I do, because it gives me something to sink my teeth into.   

To be honest, I've been working a lot on this five business.     I've talked about how my subconscious mind never shuts up, how my thoughts are always pinging around like some kind of pinball machine on full tilt.    This characteristic is great for creativity - writing in particular - but not so great for dealing with daily life.

I could feel that the balance in my life was tipping, and not in a good way.    A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how things were getting tougher with Finn, how I've been feeling frustrated that I can't get to all the things I want to be doing because my feet feel tangled in the wires of all I have to be doing.      Resentments welled up - mostly against my kids, for their constant needs and hectic schedules.    I felt like I was stuck in neutral gear, but instead of accepting this I just kept revving the engine, red-lining but not getting anywhere.     I lost gratitude.  I lost acceptance.    This is dangerous turf for me, and I know it.

I love writing.   As my good friend Heather says:  I write to find out what I'm thinking.    When I stop writing I can feel my brain gear down, settle into a kind of white noise.     I'm happiest when I'm writing, because I feel like I've got my finger on the pulse of life, of creativity, of spirit.     The problem is, I'm having a hard time capturing that feeling in regular old day-to-day life.    I'm drawn to writing like a drug, one that makes me feel awake and alive.     That isn't inherently bad, as long as it isn't costing me anything in the real world.   And it was starting to cost me.    The things I learn in recovery apply across the board, not just with staying sober.    So I know, now, when things are off.   And I know what I have to do.

This past week I refocused, reprioritized.   I resisted the siren call of writing, and spent more time engaging with Finn, playing outside, exercising.     I found it difficult to be on my computer casually, so I basically stayed away entirely (except for the odd Tweet or Facebook update, I can't go completely cold turkey).    I was curious to see what would happen if I just gave it a little break.

Two things happened:   (1) things are going much better with Finn.   Almost instantly.    (2) I feel switched off.    It is as if I've lost the ability to see the beauty in everyday life if I'm not writing about it.    That's not okay.

Like with all things I enjoy, I need to find a better balance with writing.   Typical addictive behavior:  I jump in with both feet and get consumed.

I'm easing myself back in, keeping a wary eye on balance.    Writing is something I love, something that sustains me, so I'm not going to stop.   I'm just going to be more careful.    

Oh, and I'm up to something.   More on that later this week. 

It's a good thing (so don't worry, Mom).


  1. OK, I won't worry. And Balance is definitely A. Good. Thing.
    Go for it!


  2. "Oh, and I'm up to something."

    That made me smile.

  3. I have a post in my drafts...sitting unpublished because I was OF COURSE think think thinking about it and work work working on it. It talks about flatlining. And then I came here and you have a flatline picture and you spoke my heart and mind. Again. I love it here. :)

  4. Finding that balance is so difficult. I've been shutting off during the days (and making up for it with late nights... doh... will I ever learn??) and it makes SUCH a big difference. I'm kind of thinking life was a lot simpler w/o all the ways to stay plugged in... (I'm being Captain Obvious right now, but you know what I mean!)
    Take your time, and do what feels right :)

  5. I can absolutely relate to feeling far more comfortable with being at a 10 or a 1. Ups and downs to the extreme do give us something to really "sink our teeth into". Being at a 5 I think is naturally uncomfortable for us. We are so used to having to think and write and search and work at it all. Isn't it wonderful when we can recognize the fact that we are smack dab in the middle though? It may feel static but it gives us a chance to simply BE. Thank you for this post.