It's not just the time between Christmas and New Year's Day--I'm noticing this rhythm at the end of most months in which I drift into a sea of quiet. I stop reading non-fiction and sit back gently into story on the page or story on the screen. I hold my children. I take naps. I bake, and spend a lot of time gazing out windows and sipping tea.
Sometimes I peruse Twitter and marvel at how much everyone has to say. When my own words go, it feels like watching other people fluent in a language I am struggling to remember.
I think about all the people who counsel to write or blog every day and how every time I come across that idea I think, fuck that. I would rather only say something when there is something to say, and the honest truth is that many days are marked here by a sacred quiet. Those expectations are just a shame spiral waiting to happen in my world.
Of course I have all those thoughts that you might have in such times, too. Other people's lives and work can seem so remarkable and adventurous when we are laying down for the second nap of the day, when we have neither the impulse or desire to take a picture or to pick up a pen.
When these times come, there are a few postures I can take (I've tried them all).
I can panic. Tell myself that the words are never coming back, that my magic fairy dust has somehow been squandered or used up. Or worse, thoughts like: Maybe it's cancer. (It's not cancer. At least not yet.)
I can try to power through. Force myself to keep being active, even if it's not really productive. That generally leads to laborious work that doesn't forward the ball, heaps of frustration, and then the kind of exhaustion that throws all my good coping mechanisms out the door.
I can surrender. Remember creative processes like incubation and gestation and the healing power of rest. Tell myself that the words will come back in their own time, probably with such velocity that I can't even catch them all as they blow through.
When I surrender to the sacred quiet, I let memories surface and collect them like quilt patches. I listen to what's really tugging at my heart and try to hold everything else at bay. I make my bed and create space in my environment for whatever weather comes. I hope that in this posture, direction and redirection will find me. I let the people with words have them, and know when mine return, I will be rested. Ready. And listening.