Throughout this quarantine/crisis/global pandemic I haven’t been writing. Largely haven’t had a lot of motivation for it. No real desire compelling me to get my thoughts onto the page. Focused on other things and other means of expression.
As much as I feel a sense of regret for not using this time more effectively, more productively – I also feel strangely satisfied with this lack of writing as well.
So much of my writing style over the years has been the “brain dump”, where I have a topic, I sit down to write it, and it literally just flows out of me. I call them the “flies of the mind”, the thoughts and ideas buzzing around my head that I feel compelled to get down onto the page.
If I’m honest with myself, I haven’t had many flies racing around my head. I didn’t have many thoughts, ideas, and philosophies that I wanted to express. Didn’t feel a need to add my commentary to what was going on in the world.
I had a few flies – two Ayahuasca articles on my mom and my brother. And then a handful of articles on Flow States that were common topics in my conversations with people that I wanted to get out of me. Maybe some philosophical insights along the way as well.
But outside of those I didn’t feel the same compulsion to write. I didn’t feel that same need to express myself – Which is funny with everything going on in the world. Global pandemic, super philosophical time, great time to write and express right?!
Not quite. Ironically enough, the insights I did have, I didn’t really feel like sharing, because they were around why I didn’t want to share.
From day 1 of quarantine I wasn’t sure how seriously to take all of this stuff. I quickly became distant from social media. For one, it was really hard to find reliable information. Lots of fake news and conflicting advice and not knowing where to look or what to trust. Then on top of that everyone is sharing more than ever just adding to the already abyss of information. Social media at it’s worst of so many people posting that it becomes hard to distill down the reliable information you need.
There was and still is so much noise going around externally that I didn’t want to contribute to it. There was just too much information out there. So many people posting that it was incredibly difficult to find the information that was actually relevant. It was harder than ever to sift through the noise, and I didn’t want to be one more voice screaming in an echo chamber.
There’s this adage that if you have an opinion, you need to voice it. You need to say something. Be heard. “Silence is complicit” – But when everyone is screaming all at the same time, it’s impossible to be heard.
It reminds me of my family. We’re all really loud talkers because we’re always trying to talk over one another. At all of my family gatherings the volume often gets to a point where we all need to calm down for a second because no one can hear anything and we’re all screaming. If you want to get into the conversation, you need to raise your voice. It’s so loud and there’s so much noise and so many people talking over each other that it’s impossible to be heard.
Growing up in this type of environment you quickly learn that when everyone is yelling at each other – we stop listening. We raise our voices in an attempt to get our point across more effectively. To be heard, because we feel that the other side isn’t listening. But it has the inverse effect where people begin to tune out and it while the others ping pong back and forth sharing their perspective on why they are right.
As a result what happens? The spectator effect. You realize your own futility in the ability to diffuse the situation and you check out. You dive into your inner world and become a spectator in the events taking place in front of you. Or, that’s at least what I did as a child when things got like that.
So then just like I did when I was a child, I went quiet. I kept my thoughts to myself. I stayed in my own inner world, realising the futility of my voice falling upon deaf ears.
This is what the world feels like right now. Everyone trying to scream over each other instead of speaking calmly, collectedly, quietly. No one is listening to each other and everyone is just screaming louder trying to get their point across. The collective volume is turned up so high right now that people can’t even hear themselves think.
I felt like I was back at home in an environment where everyone is screaming and no one is listening and sometimes you just have to wait for the noise to calm down a bit, select your right moment, and then get back in and help to calm things down when that moment presents itself.
For this reason, early on in the quarantine I was back to the days of putting my phone on airplane mode. No more looking at instagram throughout the day. It was (and still is) incredibly refreshing. My biggest takeaway and improvement from the quarantine has been that I have largely stopped using instagram and all other forms of social media. It’s been wonderful!
I spent that time diving into myself instead. Got back into Vipassana meditation and long 1 hr+ sits. I got back into handwriting in my journal. Writing poetry and drawing pictures. I had conversations with friends and family. Reconnected with simplicity.
This is how I’ve been passing most of my time throughout this weird wacky 2020. I had my little bursts of writing activity, but overall I didn’t really feel like I wanted to contribute to the larger discussion. Too much noise not enough listening. Words falling into an empty space.
I didn’t have many topics I wanted to write about either. There was a sense of peace that came along with that release of needing to write. No flies swarming around the mind nagging for my attention needing to be expressed.
Alas, I realize that maybe I’ve been too quiet, that maybe I am using my silence as a crutch. That this silence of mind is actually a barrier to break through. I’ve anchored myself to this philosophy of not putting my voice out there in these turbulent times, I’m now justifying an extended absence of releasing my writing, which means I am preventing myself from achieving my longer term goals. And if I’m honest with myself, that same nagging sense of feeling like I should be writing more is within me.
So maybe the time has come to get back out there and make my voice heard – but not for the reasons or topics that the world is talking about. No, I’m not here to say I’m going to dive into the social commentary of what is going on in the world right now, but moreso that I just don’t want to sit in silence anymore. I want to get my thoughts and ideas out once again.
Will I touch on some of these problems? Maybe in an indirect way. At the end of the day everything I talk about is living a happier life. Sustainable mental health habits. Improve your relationship with yourself and treat others with love and compassion.
I believe that the world often works in indirect ways. Wax on wax off. Sometimes we can approach a problem laterally rather than head on. So while I don’t plan on being a socially or politically charged writer, attacking the commentary of the current situation of the world head on, if you can connect the dots for yourself you will often see the patterns emerge.
So I’m writing this today as a means of getting back on the horse now. To begin releasing what I’ve been doing in the background. But before I do, it felt strange to release something new without first explaining my absence. That if I were to just dive back into releasing articles on flow states and philosophy, there would be something duplicitous about it. There would be something I am hiding from all of you, my readers, about why I’ve been so quiet.
Now as I wrap this up I feel refreshed and reinvigorated to begin again. Stay tuned 😉