I have been in a deepness desert of sorts for the last several months. What in the world does that mean? I can’t call it a writing desert because I’m still gushing words, sometimes hundreds and thousands per day. But I could call it a creative desert. A big plain space of inactivity.
And that is not for lack of activity–there is plenty going on in this family, in this house, in this brain. Actually it’s the reason I’m writing right now.
There is so much going on in this brain that at midnight on a perfectly excellent night following a very full day I am lying awake in bed with my brain racing.
For the fourth night in a row.
Some nights I am startled awake and have lain there for hours. Panicking about some thing I didn’t do during the day. Or imagining a new way to reconfigure the kitchen. Or picturing the combination of this shirt and these shoes with that pair of earrings.
It’s really gotten out of hand.
For all the nights (and days) I’ve longed to get just an extra hour of shut eye, here I lie, so far flung from shut in the eyes.
And it’s in the middle of one of these insomnia-filled hours that I have begun to puzzle out the root of my deepness issue.
I’m not writing much from the heart these days.
And here are some simple observations on why I’m not writing anything of much depth.
1. Confidence Fizzle. I don’t know where my certainty about how brilliant and beautiful my writing is went, but if you ask me these days to scratch out a simple character sketch, my fingers start to get sweaty. My eyes dart around. Equal amounts of doubt parade the scene. Word stares back at me with that blinking cursor, the complete white space of nothing blinding me until I shut my computer and walk away.
2. Time Vacuum. If I thought I was busy five or four or three or two, even one year ago, I am busier now. Somehow. Somehow with four kids and a hundred jobs and thousands of text messages and chat messages and posts and comments and likes and loves and notifications, somehow in all of that my time to myself has disappeared. Entirely. I have to go looking for it, but I don’t have time to. I don’t feel like it. I don’t try to. Even in the few moments when there is amazing silent space to live in, I run away from writing. In my time vacuum, the last thing I want to do is fill up a glorious moment of time with something less than deep. This compounds my deepness desert.
3. Perfection Obsession. What? Me want to strike it perfectly? Hit that extraordinary note? Blow it out of the park? That doesn’t sound like me! Yes it does. My obsession with perfection paralyzes me. Sometimes in a conversation, sometimes in my own thoughts. If a shadow of imperfection comes near any conscious thoughts I sprint for the door. Get me out of that conversation! Get me far away from that project! That’s a problem with writing, because as we all know, hardly a thing that comes out of your mouth or marker comes out perfectly with the first stroke. Yet my obsession with perfection has told me to toss the pen until I’m more polished. How can I get more polished without taking it up again I ask myself.
4. Real or Imaginary Gawking. Yeah, the silly thing about sharing your writing is that you’re always aware of the gawkers. The real and imaginary ones. Those are the people who are staring mouth agape at the thing you just wrote down. You used that word!? You dared to write on that theme?! You think you have the authority to write on that issue?! A lot of my obsession with perfection has been fed with some silly notions that people out there are gawking their brains out staring at my less than brilliant work. Do I really care about the people who don’t understand what I write? And as for the imaginary ones, the personalities I conjure up in my mind who also question the journeys my writing takes me on…that’s even more ridiculous. It’s bad enough I waste my brain space thinking about how to please people who don’t understand what I’m writing, let alone waste additional time doing that for people who don’t exist! Who’s with me?!
5. Discipline Chasm. And finally, down the chute it’s gone. Oh I have discipline. I workout every day. I eat mostly a good selection of foods–a piece of cake might slip in–but all in all, I’m in a 80/20 real food/other food groove. I have some solid patterns in my life. But I have totally ditched my discipline for writing. With all of these reasons flying around, the one thing that could swat them into place is discipline, yet I’ve totally let that go. When you bring discipline to bear in so many areas of your life, sometimes you’re just tempted to let go of one area, and this is the one I’ve let go of. But at what cost and at what loss?!
Writing is my lifelong passion, a passion that precedes pretty much every other one that lives in my life right now. And why writing? Because it’s a vehicle through which I have found I can process the deepness going on inside. I don’t kid myself to think that all the people around me really want to specifically know the thoughts in my head, but that journey of enlisting a pen or keyboard with channeling thoughts, that process is the number one thing that has helped me to see myself, understand myself and better myself.
(Audi showcasing the reflective state like mommy does)
It’s the mirror that let’s me see me. When I write less, I have to ask myself if in some way I’m being honest less. When I write less, I have to ask myself what I’m hiding from. When I write less, I have to wonder what is coming next.
This thing called writing, this gift I hold, is a thing to pick up off the shelf and use. I’m in a deepness desert now simply because I’ve stopped writing from the heart. I’ve stopped writing for me. I’ve stunted the process. I’ve cut myself off from seeing what’s going on in my own life. I’ve stopped myself from processing outwardly, down on paper or there on the screen…I’m like a crazy driver, closing my eyes as I race through a red light, hoping that I don’t see any cars coming at me and that they don’t see me either.
But that’s the thing. I’m still shooting full speed ahead and certainly, definitely shouldn’t be doing that without open eyes, aware eyes, working eyes.
Neither should I be sprinting forward through my life with the countless seconds, messages, chats, calls, likes, loves and hearts without bringing equal parts writing, reflecting, listening, reading, loving, praying, and more writing to bear on it all.
This is how I experience deepness. And this is why I am in a deepness desert right now. Though I pour into myself in other ways and accept all manner of input from many, many wonderful sources, it’s the step of writing, of pouring out, of processing, reflecting, and thinking outwardly that shakes the dust off my soul and keeps me alive and active. That shows me who I am, who Amber is, what Amber is doing and thinking.
When I write on those themes, then I can honestly look at all that I am doing and do and experience balance, peace of mind, sleep, a present spirit, and depth. That is just how I have been made, and that is just why I need to embrace it.
So to dig out I will write. Today is day one. It’s messy, but it’s honest and it’s a beginning, which is a great place to start!