Profound Journey is Going Dark
Do you know the phrase ‘going dark’? In the theatre, it refers to that time when the run of one production has ended and another has not yet begun. In the military, going dark means silencing public communications and shifting to private ones.
And in the life of an individual, going dark means turning one’s attention and energies inward, deliberately putting oneself in the liminal state that I wrote about last week.
As of this post, Profound Journey is going dark for an undetermined period of time. Now there’s a sentence I didn’t expect to write, and you probably didn’t expect to read. How did we get here?
Why I Began Profound Journey
A year after burning out and taking early retirement, I started to believe that maybe I hadn’t ruined my health with my workaholic ways; that perhaps I wasn’t in danger of an imminent death.
I tried to imagine my future but, having no experience with anything other than work, all I got were glimmers of vague, formless potential. It was clear that I was beginning an important journey. With more years behind me than ahead of me, the journey needed to be a profound one, full of meaning.
We each have our own fears at this stage of life. One of my friends is afraid of losing all her money and becoming a bag lady. Another imagines herself living the stereotype of an old woman with a few dozen cats keeping her company in her dotage. I’m a writer. My fear is that I’ll spend my days filling journals with grandiose plans of renewal and transformation. I began the Profound Journey blog because I was, quite frankly, terrified of getting lost in my own mind.
I’ve written before about my three goals for Profound Journey:
- Combine words and images in ways that bring more beauty into the world and inspires people.
- Synthesize and understand what I am learning on my profound journey.
- Find my tribe of women who want to live vibrant, creative, purpose-filled, passionate lives.
These goals have been met. You have told me that you’ve been inspired by many of the posts, and by the conversation that has ensued from each post. I have benefited enormously from requiring myself to put my thoughts and feelings into words that will be understandable to others. And, most importantly, the anonymous ‘others’ has turned into a small but mighty tribe of women, many of whom who have become friends, online or in person. I thank each of you for being so generous with your ideas, time, and encouragement.
The Two Energies
During my metaphorical road trip, I have been reading Mark Nepo’s book, The Exquisite Risk: Daring to Live an Authentic Life. Most of the short essays are astonishingly insightful. And they often appear at exactly the time I need to read them.
In ‘The Mystery of Energy’, Nepo talks about two energies. There is the energy of doing, which he describes as intensity. And there is the energy of being, which he describes as luminosity. Here’s the difference, according to Nepo:
“It’s as if intensity is the energy we are released into when juggling–all our senses tuned to one task. And luminosity is the energy we find ourselves in when all the tasks are done or undone–all our senses freed simply to listen.” (p.75)
Nepo is quick to explain that we need both energies and I am quick to agree. However, I am unable, at this point, to manage both.
When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.Tuli Kupferberg
Why Profound Journey is Going Dark
I have spent my entire life addicted to the energy of intensity. It is an energy that I know very well and that served me very well…until it didn’t. You know the story of my burnout, the video I made titled ‘Joining the Club of the Living Dead.’ That’s not just a captivating title but an accurate description of what burnout feels like. It is a state of mind, body and spirit that is not to be trifled with. I vowed never to go there again.
So I have been paying attention as I’ve been struggling these past few months. Struggling to keep up with the blogging and with reading and commenting on a couple of dozen other blogs. I’m noticing that blogging is feeling like a full-time job. I’m aware of the envy I feel when others take short blogging breaks and I don’t feel able to. And, as I just wrote in an email to a blogger friend, I’m feeling more and more like the person who goes on a trip and spends her entire time with the camera to her eye–wanting to capture and preserve moments that she is then not fully experiencing. I am craving the energy of luminosity, of simply being.
It’s unfortunate that I’ve got an all-or-nothing, go-big-or-go-home approach to life. If I didn’t, I could write shorter posts, post less frequently, or read and comment on other blogs less often. But in the immortal words of Popeye, “I yam what I yam.” I’m trying to get better at accepting –no, embracing–that.
My only solution is to go dark for a while, not posting, reading, or commenting.
During this time I am going to continue my RAW NEWS focus and metaphorical road trip, ramping up journaling, memoir work, and art-making. I’m going to wake up each morning with the day wide open in front of me, rather than jumping on the computer at 6:00 a.m. for my first round of reading and commenting on posts. Although I’ve been retired for three years, I think I’m going to feel truly retired for the first time in my life.
I’m not kidding myself. Going dark isn’t going to be easy. I love our tribe, thrive on big projects, and am already anxious about how I’m going to cope with ocean-sized swaths of agenda-free time. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned on my profound journey so far, it’s the importance of paying attention to the little whispers that come from within.
I may pop in occasionally to provide an update so I hope you will stay subscribed. And I will certainly continue my subscriptions to your blogs. At some time in the future, I will start reading and commenting again.
Until we’re in touch again, whether you’ve commented on Profound Journey or not, whether you’ve read all 181 posts or not, thank you. Each and every one of you has my sincere appreciation and gratitude for being a member of the Profound Journey tribe, and my very best wishes for continued insights on your own profound journey.