FullSizeRenderI’ve been MIA on this blog for a while.   Some might say I pressed “Pause” and forgot to resume.   Although I want to say it is for a variety of valid excuses, there’s really only one.

I listened to The Judge.

You see, I could have said that for the following reasons, I wasn’t able to write.  My life changed quite a lot in the last few months.  I found my gardener, (see The Garden of Hope) and we decided to combine our gardens together.  That happened over the summer.  Along with a kitchen renovation, and a few weekend getaways.  Combine that with moving and blending two families, life got pretty hectic. And routines changed, including my usual Saturday night writing routine, and I didn’t discipline myself to make a new one.

But more importantly, not only did my routine and life change, I listened to the Judge.  The Judge was telling me over and over that I have nothing to write about.  I have no new ideas to share.  My viewpoint, my perspective, my outlook seemed dried up.  Writing ideas used to pop up out of nowhere and scream in my head until I was able to capture them and write them down and all of a sudden they vanished.  And the Judge seized that opportunity to convince me that my writing days were over.

And I listened.

And the longer I listened, the longer I stayed away from my keyboard, the more I believed the Judge’s lies.

It makes me think of how I’ve done with other strong starts in my life but failed to persevere when Life gets in the way.  I used to be a committed runner.   I have had so many ups and downs with weight loss and weight gain.  At times I strive in my career, and then I get into a funk that makes me want to be a Wal-mart greeter (trust me, I’ve actually looked at the possibility).  Even now, as I write this I feel like I am revolving around in a chaotic stream of thought that if anyone reads this they would think I am batshit crazy and they’d never look at me the same way again.

Thank you, Judge.  You’ve done a number on me.

And so I have to slowly unravel my way out.  I have to find all the positive things that counteract the Judge and remind me that he is a liar and not worth listening to.  I have to crawl my way back from the self-doubt.

It’s not easy.  Because in that self-doubt there’s also self-loathing.  There’s the disappointment in myself that I didn’t make the time to try to fight the Judge and his lies.  As I think back now, when I wrote often, there were weeks when I didn’t know what to write, but I gave it a shot anyway and something came out of it.  When I disciplined myself, I found a way.  When I listened to the Judge,  it was easy to make an excuse and then believe the excuse.

It makes me think of a quote that one my favorite priests of all-time (he was the GOAT as all the kids are saying now) said in one of his prolific homilies.  He stated, “What we take seriously, we discipline.”

It’s not always easy to do what I love and have a passion for.  Sometimes, especially if it makes me vulnerable to the opinions of others, I stop.  Or sometimes I let the Judge use the Obstacles of Life to convince me to stop.  Or at least press Pause.  The problem with that, is I tend not to press Play again.

Not this time.  Not for me.  I found myself when I wrote.  I found things hidden that I didn’t know existed.  Self-reflection is a powerful thing.  It’s also scary…to the Judge.  Because self-reflection is a powerful armor against him.  Self-reflection allows the lies to be revealed.  Self-reflection allows a new game plan to form, one that doesn’t rely on self-doubt and self-loathing.

So I’m going to press “Play” once more.  It’s not going to be easy.  Nothing worthwhile ever is.  But staying in this paused state of mind doesn’t work either.  It’s time to play.