Our Stories

Getting OUT of my Head

February 27, 2017

“I’m lonely,” she said. 

She had not known before

that THIS was one of the things

which made her feel sour and cross. 

-Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden

Have you ever felt ALONE, despite the fact that you are surrounded by people?

When my son was young, he would look at us with his serious face and say,

 “Yeave, me, ayone!” (L’s are so tough at that age.)

He was an independent one and valued his space even at 2. I on the other hand am more social by nature, preferring typically to be with people. For years I was probably too social, involved in too many things, accepting too many invitations…keeping myself way TOO busy to even remember who I was anymore.

Then fast forward to a little more than a year ago, when I decided to clear my social plate and begin to write again…ALONE…all…by…myself.  It has been a big adjustment to say the least.  Most days you will find me writing at the local coffee shop, where if nothing else…I get to speak to the barista or share a head nod of recognition with the other regulars before I get back to the business of writing.  There at least, I am not totally alone. 

But I have noticed in this transition, that like Mary quoted above from The Secret Garden, I too have been feeling a bit SOUR and CROSS.

I have been blaming the fact that my apple cart has been tumped over too many times, thwarting my scheduled plans (that I wrote down in my pretty new color coordinated day-planner), leaving me grumpy, short with the kids, and feeling down and disconnected.

But now I am wondering if perhaps my current state of FUNK is because I am lonely too. It seems absurd as type these words, because I have great friends and an amazing family, but I can’t help but feel like I am not CONNECTING with those around me in the way that my soul needs.

Over this past year, I have become a bit of a recluse, coveting time all to myself where I can crawl up in my head and write down the words of my heart. It is the crux of being a writer I think. And when I am not writing, I am thinking about writing. It’s exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.

Olivia Ferrol, a character in one of Frances’s books, Louisiana, was a writer herself and knew all too well this affliction.

“You see how I have fallen a victim to that dreadful habit

of looking at everything in the light of material.

A man is no longer a man—he is ‘material’;

sorrow is not sorrow, joy is not joy—it is ‘material.’

There is something rather ghoulish in it.

I wonder if anatomists look at people’s bodies

as we do at their minds, and if to them every one is a ‘subject.”

But honestly, I don’t think this is an issue specific to writers…it’s a human affliction. We can ALL get so up in our heads about our own specific things…that we disconnect from the world right in front of us.

My mind is always “chewing” on something…an idea for a blog, how I need to make dentist appointments for the kids, what I am going to cook for dinner, whether or not this Bell’s Palsy will ever really go away…and more. Which means that too many times, when I am with others…I am not really ALL there.

DO you ever get so up in your head, that you AREN’T REALLY PRESENT?

I even find it hard to read sometimes…as my mind will spiral off in another direction mid-sentence forcing me to reread the same paragraph like a thousand times.

And I am ashamed to say that, sometimes, when my kids are talking, I am so busy thinking about where I need to take them next, that I don’t always hear them. UGH.

What if they said something I NEEDED to hear or better yet…What if they said something that THEY NEEDED me to hear and I didn’t take the time to stop and really listen?

Something has got to give so I can get back to really CONNECTING again and I think Frances may be on to something.

Frances wrote to her son after her first summer renting an amazing estate called Maythem Hall in England. She described it has having “a nicely timbered park, a beautiful old walled kitchen garden,  stables, 2 lodges with a porch and a square tower from which you can see the English Channel.”:

“The calm here is good for me.

I hope to go back to first principles

and merely LIVE without thinking

–heretofore I have thought without living.”

Frances Hodgson Burnett

Ok, so living without thinking might be bit dangerous, but thinking without living is actually life threatening.

But how do we control our thoughts and keep them from getting in the way of really living and connecting with those around us?

There is a quote in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that I have been meditating on that says,

“…take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.”

I love the idea of TAKING CAPTIVE each thought and controlling it without letting it, or them, control me.

So now, each time I find myself getting lost in my thoughts and not connecting, perhaps I can imagine myself REACHING UP and grabbing that wayward thought and throwing it in a pretty box where I can deal with it later.

What tricks do you have for making sure you are really PRESENT with those around you?

I would love to hear, as it is Time to GET OUT OF MY HEAD and CONNECT better back to my heart…which is filled with those I love around me. (yes…that means with you too!)


FHB and Especially Me

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