I've been on a winter hiatus. My natural rhythm is to go within during the winter. This year has found me especially prone to disappearing. Rather than binge-watching a series on Netflix or another wonder of visual pleasure, I've gone on a binge-reading affair.
It started with finishing up several books I had almost finished on Kindle. Looking for something more, I opened my list of possibilities and chose the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Understand, this series contains eight books that average around 800 pages each. I also read three garden books, and I've started two other books. Yup, binge-reading.
But why? It wasn't until a spent a sleepless night a couple of nights ago I realized what was up. I remember as a parent of young children; I read about the psychological growth of children. They don't just march ever forward. They tend to weave back and forth. The best example was watching my daughter make the transition from girl to woman. One day she'd want to try on makeup and the next day she'd be playing with her dolls. As she aged, the dolls disappeared, and the makeup won.
Well, I've been on a psychological growth in sharing my writing. In the beginning, I'd go through spells of not believing anyone would want to read what I wrote. As I got over this idea, I still found I was writing in spurts. This may be why. I'm an introvert, relaxed and even gregarious with family and close friends. But put me in a room full of strangers, and I freeze. Publishing my writing on the internet is the next step in exposure. So, it happens in spurts.
This past year, I self-published a book of poetry written after my son's suicide titled, Surviving Suicide: One Mother's Journey to Acceptance After Her Son's Death. When I finished the project, I took a short break and then decided to participate in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. At the same time, I took a writing journey with Janette LeBlanc called, 30 Questions to Bring You Closer to Your Wild Heart. In the midst of these commitments, I crashed. I'd pushed too far.
Hence, a lot of reading and quiet to replenish, surrendering to my winter rhythm. The more I've paid attention, the more I've become aware of my energy levels throughout the year. Life can certainly present challenges, but in general, I find my energy levels and my desire to be engaged with others moves in sync with the seasons. I feel myself bursting with energy and vitality as the spring comes on. I settle in during the summer to caring for the world around me. Then begin to clean up in the fall and settle into a peaceful surrender in the winter.
What is your rhythm? Find those times when it's natural to be more productive and those times when your body wants quiet. You may find cycles within cycles – daily, monthly, yearly. Learning to move with your own rhythm can reduce stress and help you find more peace in your life. And, perhaps you'll want to try some binge-reading for your next rest cycle.