the end of The Pause

Opening the browser and clicking ‘new post’ is the closest I ever care to come to putting a loaded gun to my head in order to find the spark to motivate myself. Am I seeming a tad dramatic with that statement? I’m not intending to be, but I do want to be completely genuine in sharing the struggles I have with procrastination. I want to write, yet even when I’ve finally found the rare luxury of time to do so, I slip into the comfort of distraction, my attention span struggles to keep me focused, while my drive to write clings desperately to the hope that I will eventually find the discipline to do so. Distractions I can manage. Sometimes I want them; the buzz of voices, of music can be stimulating, yet at other times, I need silence, and to be completely undisturbed in order to get the creative juices flowing. Occassionaly it’s impossible to find the drive, and there’s good reason for it. To me, this is why writing is an art, not a science. I need to coax the muse out to play; I cannot summon it through a tried and true ‘scientific’ approach, although I’m hoping some sort of writing ritual (my process?) will eventually establish itself and prove similarly effective. For the most part, clicking ‘new post’ seems to have the desired result in spurring me on to writing, but it doesn’t always result in a same day clicking of ‘publish’ (not on this occasion a least), so the battle with procrastination rages on.

The struggle with procrastination is real; inertia is very hard to overcome when the will to do so doesn’t outweigh it. This is both a sign and a lesson, to recognize and accept as truths, at least for myself, in order to move forward in a manner that is meaningful.

The sixth wave of the pandemic has not officially been recognized just yet, but there are many reports of sewage tests indicating the virus is currently at the levels last seen at the peak of the last Omicron wave. The rules in coping with this familiar reality are completely different in responding to the spread of a new wave of the virus in the post March 1, 2022 world. The Kenney led government is struggling for it’s existence as the leadership review vote started this past weekend. Party members are probably feeling every bit as jerked around by the changing rules for the vote as they did with the varied half hearted responses taken by the Kenny government to stymie the spread of COVID during the first five waves of the pandemic. There seems more energy and commitment by Kenny in guiding the leadership review to the outcome he hopes for than he demonstrated in attempting to lead the way in keeping COVID in check or keeping Albertans safe.

Perhaps in this wave(?) there will be no restrictions and no closures, as the government apparently now feels that after two years, we citizens can now be trusted enough to judge conditions and determine our own actions to take in order to ensure our safety and to police ourselves in protecting others. This a necessary step we all must take in order to return to the life and world we were accustomed to pre-COVID 19, but not everyone is ready to make the leap to that next step.

I’m not 100% there, nor am I ready yet to put COVID behind me, as there are too many reminders of the pandemic still being amongst us to ignore. Masks have transitioned from being something mandated, to something that allows me to add an extra layer of additional protection when I find myself feeling unsafe, or have a need to keep at top of health. In May, Bae and I intend to isolate as much as possible in the 10 days before we take our first trip outside of the country since January 2020. We don’t want a repeat of a COVID induced slamming of the brakes on our lives again due to a positive COVID test in the hours before we board our flight to return to the world; not after the not so patiently waiting, or after having earned the right to do so by being responsible global citizens who got our vaccinations and boosters.

Time and again I remind myself that the ‘reset’ brought on by The Pause isn’t one to be wasted. The price has been too high (the time lost to isolation, closed borders, the distance from those we value, restaurants and theatres shuttered, the fear of a virus and its variants potential effects on those unfortunate to host it, or the relationships that didn’t survive into the new normal, to name just a few) to not take advantage of its valuable teachings. I know that I am no longer the same person who went into the first lockdown on a grey, snowy night in March, 2020, and that I am emerging from the Pause, into the full brightness of spring in April, 2022, with new alignment and direction toward inner bliss and peacefulness, rather than my previous path of service and support of others as my life’s top priority.

(About this point, it was the procrastination cocktail kicked in: an impulse to mix up a batch of cookies could not be ignored, and was quickly followed by a Jack Herer induced monologue about the creative process, which took me away from writing until both the cookies and I were sufficiently baked. Btw, the cookies were underdone, but I was left feeling the focus and creativity to return to getting my writing groove on.)

For months I’ve been thinking about the direction of the blog and recognizing that like other aspects of my life, if my writing hasn’t been flowing as readily and agreeably as I would like to, before realizing that it’s probably because I’m not loving what I’m doing, or that I’m not cognitively aligned with its purpose. I’ve come to recognize that I need to be in a sweet spot of creativity and drive in order to produce content, just as I have come to realize I need to enjoy and believe in my work in order to keep wanting to do it, and to do it the best of my ability. I am not content in doing just enough to scrape by to ensure I keep a job and my roof over my head, therefore I cannot allow myself to fall into a similar trap with my art. This is the trap of mediocrity: to continue to simply serve, or to approach art in a manner that isn’t working for myself, is time and effort not wasted, but it falls well short of the potential it has to actually be good work. If you don’t like what you’re doing, how can you ever expect to really do well at it? Or at least do well enough at it that you can find peace in doing so. When I can sleep well and feel guilty free each night knowing I have delivered something worthy of those efforts daily, and did not let my work, or my art, become something that simply fills the time or checks boxes, I am confident I will have found contentment and inner peace.

No, this isn’t a farewell post, as I am not done exploring my art in writing via the blog. I’d neglected my art and ignored the balance I need to healthily sustain it for too many years, and having lost (and thanks to COVID), and found myself again, I won’t risk the danger of losing myself again by giving up on it up now. Instead of beating myself up for not posting, or trying to force myself to fit my square self into the oddly shaped hole I have created for myself, I’m going to adjust the hole to become one that fits me, and ultimately I will want to work for. I’ll take this approach in many aspects of my life going forward as well, including my work and volunteering efforts in addition to my writing, as I think this will be a key to finding and maintaining the balance of the few resources I can call upon to ensure the work is vital, and meaningful to me. Through balance, I can sustain my new health. I must accept that moving past the things I cannot change isn’t enough anymore. I must understand why it was necessary to leave what I cannot change behind in order to be able to grow again, and ensure the new work and art that follows afterward becomes worthy, and is truly good work for me.

The greatest lesson the COVID induced Pause allowed me the time to learn and accept is that is that it’s okay to really listen to my own voice, and make what that inner voice is telling me the priority. It’s okay to turn the volume down or ignore the expectations of others that still ring in my ears, or whispers in the back of my head to stop being so selfish and to turn my attention back to making the service of others my top priority. I can no longer allow myself just to simply complain about not being motivated to do something, but must explore and understand why it doesn’t sit well and fails to motivate me before moving forward. There must be limits to how many elements or people in our lives that we can give the power to influence us, so it’s best to ensure that power is well placed and is working for you, versus against you. We cannot lose touch with the reality that we have the ability to be in control of the power we assign to others and to commitments, and that we can reallocate that power as we feel it appropriate to do so, at a time we feel appropriate to do so.

I’m hoping this post will be the one that finally allows me to move my blog forward creatively, and help to make me more prolific in my posting. I hope there will be a few of you that will choose to be around to witness the journey, that this blog becomes worthy of your time and and needs in the new world emerging (we hope) from the COVID pandemic.

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