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.

Thank You

I’ve written before about my three goals for Profound Journey:

  1. Combine words and images in ways that bring more beauty into the world and inspires people.
  2. Synthesize and understand what I am learning on my profound journey.
  3. 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.

What’s Next?

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.

Karen

 

 

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67 comments

  1. Hi, Karen – This must have been a very difficult decision to make. Kudos to you for knowing what you need and bravely acting upon it. I look forward to reading your next piece whether its a blog entry, your memoir, something in between, or all of the above. Until then, I’ll miss you. Thank you for your thought-provoking and inspirational posts and comments. They’ve been greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Donna – Thanks for recognizing that it was a difficult decision. It absolutely was, but you are also correct that it is definitely what I need so in that regard, it feels right. I appreciate your conviction that there is going to be something in the future that you will enjoy reading from me. I think this next while will tell whether that’s true or not. I sure hope it is!
      All the best, Donna. I know you’ve got some travels ahead of you, both immediately and next spring. You are rocking your retirement journey in the way that suits you best. As our Australian friends would say, “Good on you!”

  2. I totally get where you are coming from, Karen, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t utter an, “Oh my God!” When I read of your plans to go ‘dark.’ You have been such an inspiration to me and to so many others. And I’m going to miss your posts and comments so much. I feel like I just got to know you! I will stay subscribed and I’ll go back and read posts I missed so I can still reap the benefits of your writing and thoughts in your absence. I wish you the very best in your new journey of a second retirement. Being a blogger does feel like a full-time job and as you’ve built your tribe I’m sure it has become even more demanding. Be well, my friend, and I hope you’ll stay in touch. If you have need of a laugh or lighthearted moment, come on over to Shallow Reflections.

    1. Hi Molly,
      A big ‘ditto’ on your compliments and thoughts. You also inspire me, I look forward to your humorous and lighthearted posts, and I feel like I just got to know you.
      Fortunately, you’re also right in the rest of your comment. There’s absolutely nothing to prevent us from staying in touch, whether that’s through a blog post or an email. And hopefully, after I have some much-needed time ‘in the dark’, I’ll be back with renewed energy and passion. In the meantime, I so appreciate that you will go back and read posts you’ve missed. And if you decide you want to leave comments on any of those posts, I will always reply. Take good care, my friend. Talk soonish.

    1. Thank you, Beth. I so appreciate your positivity. As much as this is scary and a bit sad, I’m quite excited about a great new adventure. Take good care. I’ll be thinking of you when I’m walking through the woods this fall. Such a wonderful time to be out in nature.

  3. Hi Karen,

    You have my best wishes on this phase of your journey, my friend. I’m so glad I got to know you before you made the decision to “go dark”. Know that I am cheering you on through this next chapter!

    Deb

    1. Me too on the getting to know each other in advance, Deb. I’ll know that you’re cheering on this next chapter because we’ll talk and maybe even see each other occasionally. It’s all good, my friend.

  4. I once had an art teacher early in my high school days who said, “You may not be able to afford great things in life, but we can all afford to know greatness.” You, my friend, are among the great people I have had the privilege of knowing during my life. I hope your new journey brings you all the things that you are hoping for and I look forward to seeing you again on the other side. Bon voyage!

    1. You’re going to make me cry, Fran, and you know I don’t cry!! You’ll see me on the other side and during. One of the many things I’m grateful for is that you’ve come back from your years on the other side of the world and are now only a few skips, hops, jumps, dozens of kms away.

  5. Hi Karen
    I have looked forward to your Thursday postings, and will definitely miss them.
    Think I have commented only a couple of times in the past, but be assured that I’ve read all of them.
    Take care of yourself!

  6. Karen you have so much going on in your head – I think you could spend a year just unraveling it all – then you might like to take up the challenge of what to discard and what to keep. Then the next challenge would be what to do with what you kept! You aren’t going dark, you are stepping through a new door and closing this blogging door behind you for a while. I’ll miss your insightful posts and your thoughtful comments, but “you gotta do what you gotta do” – happy adventures my friend – and I’m only an email away xx

    1. What a lovely image Leanne -closing one door for a while and stepping through another. The so much going on in my head is something that I both love and am exhausted by. We’ll see how zen I’m able to become – it will be a fun experiment to try.
      So glad you’re only an email away, especially since I haven’t yet won the lottery that would allow us to visit each other.

  7. Even though I knew this was coming, I still read this with sadness – a very selfish sadness. I understand what you’re doing and why, however as someone who has come to look forward to your posts with eager anticipation, this news now creates a big void – for me. That’s the selfish part.

    For you, this is the next stage in your profound journey. It’s exciting and everything that I believe in. Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves to live our lives with a fullness that is meaningful to our hearts. You are doing exactly that and I couldn’t be more excited for you!!

    Be well, my friend, and ride this profound journey long and far!!

    1. Thank you, my friend. I share the sadness alongside the sense of anticipation and relief. I’m learning to be okay with ambivalence.
      People who are meant to be connected stay connected no matter what. That’s something else I’m learning.

  8. Hi Karen, I just discovered your Blog recently, and already consider you one of my favorites. Your writing is excellent, in every way.The thoughtful and fluid way you express yourself keeps me engaged throughout each posts. I have much to learn from you, (about writing and about life) and am grateful that you will leave your Blog on-line in your absence. I look forward to reading all 181 posts. I can only imagine how difficult this decision has been, but as you say, it is important to “pay attention to the little whispers from within.” Best wishes for the next chapter. No doubt it will be spectacular!

    1. What a kind and thoughtful comment, Suzanne. Thank you so much! I think I’ll print out your words about my writing. I know I’m going to need to refer to them on those days when simply being coherent is a struggle.
      Thank you also for offering to read previous posts. If you leave comments on any of them, I will always respond. Welcome to the tribe, Suzanne. Even though I’m going dark for a while, I’m delighted that you have joined us.

  9. dear dear Karen, well ditto to all that has been said And, I am very excited for you – I sense Karen that you are used to a structured framework and so even in retirement there has been a comfort in the blogging routine, a timetable to follow that keeps the unknown at bay . And yet it is from this mysterious unknown space that we are formed up , it is the source of who we are- that place from which our dreams and inspirations arise . going dark as you have chosen to do means letting go of something treasured and measured in your life and opens a doorway that has been sung to you for a long time by your Spirit. we are called and the distractions are many and we think we know who we are but going within allows us the possibility of coming in touch with our true Selves- our magnificent divine Presence .
    many blessings upon your journey within. In the dream we may meet in the light we are one .x

    1. Hi Sandra,
      You are and always have been a wonderful guide and mentor for relaxing into the mysterious unknown.
      I know you’ve gone dark recently and I sense you’ve emerged richer for the time away. That makes your words even more reassuring and inspiring. Thank you, Sandra.

  10. Dear Karen. I honor the fact that you are finding a way to follow your inner voice in spite of the fact that it requires changes even though it may disappoint others and challenge your perception of yourself. I think that is difficult for us all but so very important to living an authentic life. We will miss your words of wisdom of course but don’t let that deter you! Those of us most aligned to you will be here waiting anxiously for your thoughts whenever they find the need to pop out and share with us. Until then my friend, may you find the intensity AND the luminosity that lies within in perfect balance. Namaste… Kathy

    1. I owe you an email my friend, and it’s next on my list tonight after finishing replying to these comments. Regarding your comment, how beautiful, Kathy. Along with the sadness that I feel about stepping away for a while, I do feel a tremendous sense of anticipation for the part of the profound journey to come. Your message heightens that anticipation by making this feel like a hero’s journey as well. Thank you for that and for your enduring friendship.

  11. Hi Karen,
    Like all the other members of our tribe, I too add my voice to say I will miss clicking on that Thursday Profound Journey email in order to follow the link to another wonderful post with captivating pictures and a different way of looking at things.

    I too understand why you need to go dark and though I will be missing you I wish you the most magnificent trip within full of self-discovery and freedom of an open agenda when you open your eyes each morning with the same after you open your eyes after a nap perhaps. I think you are tremendously wise to follow this inner voice that is telling you to switch gears at this point and enjoy some luminosity.

    You can count on me to stay subscribed, of course! I was here from the moment Profound Journey started and here I will remain. Your tribe is behind you Karen, please use that to shore up your desire to travel within when the unstructured, unregimented and predictable days appear ahead. Give yourself permission to “just be.” Please also know that I am only an email or phone call away at any time.

    1. Hi Susan,
      So many warm words and beautiful messages today. Thank you for yours. You have always been an absolutely rock solid supporter of Profound Journey and of me. I so appreciate that and you.
      We’ll see how ‘just being’ goes. It’s going to be an interesting ride for sure! Remembering that the tribe is supporting and cheering me on means a great deal.

  12. Karen – I won’t repeat what others have already said — because they’ve said what I would, but more eloquently. I will say – you were my first faithful follower when I began blogging for the AtoZ Challenge and I don’t think I would have kept it up without you. So – THANK YOU. I will certainly stay subscribed and open any email from Profound Journey with joyful expectation. If you are so moved, please reach out via email or phone at any time – seriously. But most importantly – be at peace and be gentle with yourself.

    1. Thank you, Janet. I’m sure we’ll be chatting at some point. I’m definitely going to want an update on those works-in-progress of yours. Accountability helps 🙂
      And I’m very glad you kept up your blog. You say things that matter and you share from a unique perspective. The world needs you.

      1. These comments could go on forever and you’ll never be able to go dark (there is no like button) — so don’t feel a need to respond. But thank you for your kind words about my perspective and blogging. I’ll keep you posted on my works-in-progress.

    1. Oh, thank you so much, Jacqui. Please remember that I’m available by email. If you ever want to chat, I’m around! And hey, when you make that big move, I want to know about it!

  13. Karen, thank you for everything you taught me in those 181 posts; thank you for the courage you showed in your ability to reveal the inner you; and thank you for always responding to me – even when I wrote something foolish. I’ll miss reading your posts but I know that going forward your days are going to be very rewarding and fulfilling.

    1. You never once wrote anything foolish, Anna. Thank you for being a Profound Journey tribe member and cheerleader from the very beginning. And one more very important thing that only you will understand –the Chinese place is open.

  14. Karen, I cannot compete with the lovely words of others. Just know that even though I knew this was coming, I truly cried as I read your note. It feels like a loss of a friend – totally selfish of me. And I know you’re an email or phone call away.

    And yes, it is absolutely what you need to do. Learn to just be. Learn to be lazy. Learn to let the luminosity glow in that darkness.

    And if you come back to blogging, we will be all the richer. If not, you will have found your true path forward, which is what you’ve been helping us all see is the right thing for each of us. It’s actually a win-win.

    P.S. Keep playing the lottery so we can all meet up in person someday. Cause you’re not losing your tribe … we are all still behind you (and staying subscribed).

    1. Hi Pat,
      You most definitely have NOT lost a friend, ahem, twin.
      I love “learn to let the luminosity glow in that darkness.” Great image, Pat.
      I’m so grateful to not be losing the tribe. If I thought I was, I could never, ever do this.
      And yup, bought another lottery ticket today. We won’t use our analytical brains to think about the unlikelihood of winning. We’ll use our intuitive brains to visualize the meeting of our tribe in some exotic location – I’m thinking maybe Hawaii – a destination we’ll all have arrived at via first class plane tickets. Won’t that be fun!!

  15. Congratulations, Karen, on taking this brave and well-earned step! Even though I’m relatively new here, I am so very glad we met while blogging A to Z, and I will miss your regular presence. But I’m thrilled that you are honoring the wisdom that led you to this point in your journey. I will drop by often to catch up on the many posts I’ve missed. Take care, be well, and may you be rewarded with many new insights and adventures!!

    1. Hi Jenny,
      I too am super glad that we met while blogging A to Z. If I’m not back before April, your comment suddenly made me think that I could return during another A to Z. Woo hoo, now there’s some energy of intensity!
      Thank you for offering to read posts you haven’t had a chance to read. If you do and you want to leave comments, know that I will always reply. And of course ditto that if you ever want to chat by email.

  16. I’m so proud of you Karen! You have shown great courage to take a step away from the blogging world and to concentrate on what you want from life. Too often, we keep going because we feel a responsibility to readers to the detriment of ourselves. We find ourselves on a treadmill that we just have to get off. Recently I’ve read many of my blogging friends expressing their desire to take a break. I’m sure this time out will be of so much benefit to you and I can feel that a load has been lifted from your shoulders – despite the difficult decision you have had to make. Your friends and readers will always be here for you. Thank you for your courage, inspiration and friendship and I wish you all the best.

    1. Hi Sue,
      You’ve been such a wonderful encourager and supporter. I value not only your blog posts and your comments on mine, but also our email correspondence over the last many months. While the public conversation will go dark for a while, I look forward to continuing our chats.
      By the way, you’re absolutely right. It has been a crazy busy week and I feel quite a bit of sadness about stepping away from my blog for a while, especially after all of these lovely comments, but at the same time I do feel a weight lifted from my shoulders. Someone told me once that it’s good to step off the treadmill instead of letting yourself be thrown off. I can see the wisdom in that today.

  17. Hi Karen, congratulations to you for making a decision and declaring your intention. I understand where you are coming from. I, too, feel the pull of writing and the reading that goes along with it and wonder if I haven’t created another job for myself. One that isn’t paying either! It is a rewarding and enriching experience. I don’t know how long I will continue either. Sometimes I can’t STOP writing, but sometimes I want to stop writing, at least publicly.
    I wish you well in your continued inner work. I will miss you and your brilliant ideas. Be well!

    1. Hi Michele,
      I’m not surprised to hear that you’re having some of these same feelings. Whether because we had very similar careers or because we seem to be in similar spots on our journey, I’ve always felt a connection to you. When I read your blog posts, I find myself nodding and feeling completely understood.
      So yes, I get it. Blogging is an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience. AND it is putting a lot of energy out when sometimes we need to turn that energy back towards ourselves. As teachers we’re very used to the former. It’s a big challenge to embrace the latter. I hope that your house move and the work you are doing with Barbara Sher will coalesce into the next right steps for you. Take good care.

  18. My friend, when I read your words this morning I felt so many conflicted emotions. Sadness, certainly, because I so enjoy reading your posts and the always thoughtful comments you leave on my blog. Excitement, because I know you will continue to do great things… and now you will have more time to invest in your art. Complete and total understanding because I have had many of the same feelings that you so eloquently described (and, apparently others have felt similarly too). Admiration for your honesty and courage to do what is best for you. As soon as I read your post this morning, I sent off a quick note to you via email because I didn’t see that I could leave a comment here… but now that I’ve returned to your post, I see that I can. I would still like to communicate with you privately, so I hope you can confirm that I sent the note to the correct address.

    You have touched many lives through your blog and you will be missed. I hope to see you drop in now and then to let us know how you are. You have said many times that you are a harsh personal critic… I hope the words of care, love and friendship you are reading in everyone’s comments lifts you up.

    1. Hi Janis,
      Another friend asked me this morning if I’d had a difficult day yesterday when I published this post. I was delighted to report that I didn’t. Oh I felt a bit of sadness, absolutely, but I expected that. What I didn’t expect was the outpouring of love, friendship, support and encouragement that has come my away. I am humbled by that and grateful beyond words. I feel lifted up, just as you say, and carried to an amazing place from which to launch the next phase of my profound journey.
      I too hope that I’ll be back, and I do promise that whether I am or not, I won’t just disappear. There will be other posts.
      I’d love to chat with you privately, Janis. I replied to your email right away when you sent it yesterday and resent my reply this morning before I went out for the day. It doesn’t look like you received either so I’ll try to reach you with another of my email addresses and we’ll see if that works. Sending you a note on that email now.

  19. You need to do what is right for you (isn’t that the point of your blog?). As I’ve quoted before, the most painful thing to experience is not defeat but regret. You don’t want to regret not enjoying your retirement. Take a break or make it permanent. It’s whatever is feeling right with you. If you do come back set yourself a smaller goal, like blogging once a month. The beautiful thing about blogs is there are no rules.

    Enjoy your break. Live each day for what it offers and enjoy the small things =)

  20. Hello Karen – I felt a jolt as I read that you were going dark. Even though I have only commented once, be assured that I have read every single blog since I joined about a year ago, and return to read your other posts. Each one has been an inspiration! I have read many of your suggested books, thought about your ideas and acted upon some, and have been inspired by the quotes you provide. I have often wondered how you manage to come up with such thoughtful, well-researched writing week after week, that it must be like another job. And, reading your above comment that you feel a weight lifted from your shoulders, I believe that this has been like another job. Sounds like you really need a break. Your formal career as an educator came to an end when you retired three years ago; then, you did what many do, and are advised to do by other professionals, and continued with similar work as your transition. Still educating, but also enlightening us with your very personal journey and insights. Reading all these comments, one can see that you have been an inspiration for many. Now it is time for you to take that great leap into the unknown and just ‘be’. You have so many interests (and pups depending on your daily care) that I have no doubt you will thrive in this space.
    I will continue to re-read some of your posts, and look forward to the day you return, even if only briefly to update us on your new, wonderful adventures. Thank you, thank you for your wisdom.

    1. Hi Carol,
      I truly appreciate your very kind and wise words. Until I read your comment, it hadn’t occurred to me that I did indeed continue with similar work to my former career. But you are absolutely right. And that means that I didn’t really make the good ending that is necessary for a meaningful liminal space prior to a new beginning. No wonder I’m craving that now/finally.
      A lot of pieces fell into place with your comment, Carol. Thank you so much for that. And if some of my posts have made a difference in your life, I count that as a big win and a huge compliment.
      We’ll talk again, I’m sure of it.

  21. I’m sort of sad, reading this. But only in the way that a friend is sad when they say goodbye to another friend who is heading off on a fantastic journey. The sadness is eclipsed by hope and joy for you. I look forward to updates as you post them. It is a brave thing you are doing. It is born of amazing insight into yourself. This is yet another beautiful lesson you are teaching us. Bless you, my friend.

    1. Thank you, Heather. I will be thinking of you and your journey. You are the bravest, most open-hearted woman I know. If you ever want to chat, please email me at any time.

  22. Good for you, Karen. I think this is a very smart move! I will miss your posts, but I respect (and encourage) this decision. I totally understand how blogging feels/can feel and it was the main reason for my break. It gets really overwhelming, especially if you’re of the “all or nothing” kind, which I am as well. Like a full-time job, which it shouldn’t feel like!

    I had a little bit of withdrawal, but it was very easy to fill my time with other projects and events. Living full-time on the road does that, regardless. Time flew by and I now have no idea how to get back to the blogging life and keep up with my self-imposed commitments. I’ll have to slacken those!

    Enjoy your blogging break and your inward journey!

    1. Thank you, Liesbet. From our email chats and from what I’ve learned of you over time, I knew that you would support Profound Journey going dark. After all, I’m taking a page from your book and doing my best to live ‘a life less ordinary’. It’s very small scale compared to your life on the road, but your perspective, so different from my own, has given me the courage to take some baby steps.

      If your blogging break has helped you come to a place of willingness to loosen the reins on some of your self-imposed commitments, that’s all good my friend.

  23. Hi Karen – I just came back from my trip to France and quelle surprise to see this post. I’ll miss your regular writing, your wisdom, support, encouragement, and humour. I’m hopeful that you’ll find a way to manage both energies and come back to share your wise introspection with us. I wish you all the best in this phase of your profound journey. Luminosity sounds fantastic. Thank you for being you.

    1. Thank you so much, Natalie. I hope that you had an amazing time in France. I’m sure you did, you seem to have the ability to fully inhabit and enjoy each moment. That’s quite a gift, as is your sharing of that gift with others. All the best.

  24. Oh no! This was not the news I was expecting to hear as I return to reading my favourite blog after an intense and quite difficult summer. I will miss reading Profound Journey. Karen, I wish you all the best as you continue to face new challenges and experience new forms of joy in your unfolding retirement journey.

    Jude

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