A Blogging Re-Set for 2021
January 5, 2021 – Marisa Guerin, PhD
Greetings, as we begin 2021! I have concluded that it’s time for me to re-focus my blogging. Here’s my story of why that is, and how I propose to go about it.
When I retired from full-time consulting in mid-2017, I fashioned a new website and started writing a regular blog post in January 2018. For that first year I wrote a post almost every week, either commenting on a professional topic – leadership, organizations, change, etc. – or offering a personal reflection. The full listing of my posts is indexed on my website. Maybe someday I’ll compile the professional posts into a little booklet, who knows.
But for different reasons, 2019 and 2020 were considerably less productive for me as a blogger. In early 2019, I was dedicating time to caring for my husband after his heart surgery. In mid-2019, I began and am still in the process of writing a book collaboratively with my friend Brother Joseph Schmidt. It is a rewarding process, much easier to do with a colleague than it would be for either of us to do by ourselves. It may be taking up much of my “share of mind” that is available for writing. And then, of course, for most of 2020 my remaining reserves of creativity were rather thoroughly drained by the pandemic and the chaos of the world.
As the new year 2021 starts, on the horizon we can glimpse good news: vaccines, and a new government of more sanity and competence. A change will be welcome! You don’t need me to tell you that the months of covid shut-down are increasingly tough slogs. I look for my “muse”, and she isn’t there.
It is my hunch that I am not the only one suffering from the cutting-off of normal sources of stimulation, no matter how much Zooming happens. You, too, may be missing the thoughts, ideas, energies, and possibilities that come from a life when you are regularly encountering other real people. Who knew how enriching it was to spend time in stores, workplaces, schools, meetings, concert halls, the local pub, church, gyms, or vacation trips? A more isolated life is a barren one, an unintended experiment in how the lack of frequent, casual human contact impoverishes our spirits. It’s a dynamic that is both fascinating to notice, and such a drag to cope with. It has given me greater empathy for those who are shut-ins, or confined to nursing facilities, or in prison, or serving at posts far away from their communities. I promise myself I will NOT take the littlest things for granted, when we are able to circulate more freely again.
In any case, I don’t want to stop my writing practice; I think my energies for blog writing are going to come back at some point. So, I’m tapping my life experience to figure out what to do. I have learned that in the past, when I feel persistently blocked, the way out appeared when I stopped fighting it. I paid attention to how it felt to be blocked, and to what was real at the moment. I propose to do the same now, “writing my way out” of the stuck spot. This post itself is an example of that. It isn’t scintillating, but it’s true, and it will do for today.
I will write, but without trying to fit my initial plan of “professional and personal” topics. I’ll most likely write shorter pieces and perhaps more often personal ones, but in any case, stimulated by what life presents to me. In time, I’ll include ideas from the book I’m working on as well. (For the curious among you, my co-writer Br. Joe is a spiritual director, psychotherapist, and a scholar and published writer on the life and teaching of Therese of Lisieux, a French Catholic saint. Our book interprets for the regular modern person what Therese learned and taught others about psychological and spiritual maturity, inner freedom, and a loving life. Stay tuned.)
We shall see how this goes. If you continue to find these blog posts worth your while, I will be happy to keep sending them to you. Feel free to share them, or to respond to me with your own thoughts. And of course, if you find that you, too, are ready for a re-set, just respond at any time asking me to take you off the distribution list and I will do so.
I wish you all the best this year, and I commit to “seeing” you regularly, no matter how small my offering. I am grateful for you.