Dear Imaginative Woman,
I had grand plans this January. I was going to take a break from writing my children's novel to write the first draft of a self-help book for The School of Wild Authenticity. The book is about the emotional journey of waking up, coming alive, and doing what you are meant to do.
Everything started out great. I felt connected and in the zone of creative flow. As I wrote the book, it surprised and delighted me when, instead of coming out as a self-help book, it turned into a fantasy fiction novella!! How awesome is that?!?!
I was writing fast and with lots and lots of joy. I was on target to finish the first draft by the last day of January. Woohoo!!
And then on Saturday January 12, my husband came down with a horrible flu.
It was a bad one, and the next day I came down with it too. Fever, aches, pain, UGH! From past experience I knew I was looking at a good 2 - 3 weeks of not feeling well enough to work.
This is exactly what happened. I stopped writing or doing work of any kind, which was the right thing to do, but I was still disappointed I couldn't keep writing. I wanted to write, and not writing felt totally blah.
I was miserable. Normally when I'm miserable I talk to a friend or write in my journal. I dig deep, find out what's going on, and figure out what needs to shift so I can come back to joy.
This time, however, I was so pissed at the disruption of my flow, I just laid down and watched a million episodes of Friends. This would've been ok if it was what my soul really craved, but it wasn't. Really, my soul wanted to lie down and stare out the window at a tree. It didn't want to take in endless hours of a sitcom.
My general recipe for disconnection in life is numbing out too much, spending zero time in nature, and doing absolutely no introspection or soul connection practices.
So, it wasn't that surprising, when after days of this I felt very disconnected. Nothing felt right anymore. I had a constant knot in my stomach, anxiety in my heart, and confusion in my mind.
Too much numbing out and not enough connection to nature or soul pretty much put me in a full on existential crisis. Who even was I, and why on earth did I want to write a book?????
The good news is, I have very little tolerance for the pain of disconnection now that I know what connection feels like. When I'm connected, I have a joyful feeling in my heart, a sense of grounding and safety in my gut, and an excitement to get cracking on whatever creative idea I have going.
After a couple weeks of feeling disconnected I had had enough. It was time to come back to myself.
So, one morning I sat down with my journal and wrote some introspective thoughts about all of this. Then I cleaned my house. Then I dragged my tired body out for a tiny walk to the park to look at trees. Then, instead of watching TV, I read a good book.
That felt a little better. I was still disconnected, but I started to remember who I was again.
The next day I did the same things. I wrote, I walked, I read, I looked out the window at a tree, and I made my house a little more livable each day.
It took another two weeks of solidly tending to my soul for me to fully come back to myself, but little by little I woke up and came alive again. And when I finally felt good enough to write, it was the best.
When I could think clearly, I realized this whole thing was a great reminder that connection is a state I need to purposefully maintain and also, it's not that hard to do. In fact, it was the easy, joyful, simple things that made me feel like me again. Short walks. Reading great books. Writing a page in a journal. Drinking tea. These are Emma things. Doing them helps keep the channel open to my sense of purpose and joy.
So my question for you today is, if you are feeling disconnected, can you remember what activities make you feel like you? Could you do one of them this week?
This answer is going to be different for each of us. I know people who feel like themselves when they're doing Crossfit or running ten miles a day. These are not Emma things, but I LOVE that they make some of us come alive. So, what is it for you? I'd love to know! Email me to tell me all about it. Hearing from you is another great joy of my life. :)
In wonder & gratitude, always,
Emma Basu is a writer, personal development teacher, and the founder of The School of Wild Authenticity