To check-in and check-out

Checking in. I've begun to appreciate how important this is.

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I’ve been very quiet lately, not only here, everywhere in my life. This is because there have been a few life hiccups to keep me on my toes, and my writer’s mind had to be placed on hold for a short while. I will call this lapse of time 'a temporary glitch'. 

It wasn’t a rest and it wasn’t intentional.

Life became busy, and it was not of the busyness kind.

Once upon a time I had intended to become the poet, writing in solitude. It was a plan and I did it.  Personally, I learned three years in solitude, purely writing, it was enough.  Solitude un-beknown to me, it swallowed me up and conjured up a busyness that I have often wanted to run back to in recent months. I won’t lie, these recent months of change have been exhausting.

Sometimes life in general can be very busy. Other times we can generate busyness.  The difference is, busyness is within our own control.

Psychologies Magazine has been very influential in recent years.  From coaching techniques and articles that I have read, I have felt encouraged to challenge my comfort zone and face my fears.  In these recent months of change, experiences have highlighted how resilient I am, and how much I enjoy the company of others. I have literally pushed my kayak out into the deep green lake, and I am paddling like crazy, sometimes against the tide, chasing stars, chasing answers, chasing dreams, seeking calm. But was this really what I wanted? I had to ask myself. I'd never stopped to ask myself. I simply did things, people-pleased and did my best, hoping for the best, that was until the self-awareness coaching sheets became accessible as a Psychologies Subscriber. 

 Upon reflection of those days in solitude I had become disconnected from people, places and things that were important to me. The coaching methods of practice, they triggered a reaction in my process of thought that I had never expected.  I’ve noticed, if I simply stop paddling against the tide, and accept the movement of the flow, allow myself to bob around on the water for a bit, watch on, listen and enjoy the surroundings, just until I gain clarity and perspective, then and only then, can I begin to paddle with the current, following the energy and finding a personal sense of balance which includes a feeling of contentment. Not panic, nor worry. Simply contentment. I'm using my recent experiences of Paddle-Boarding to attempt to explain an intuitive feeling.   

Life. It recently may have had a few hiccups, but, it feels easier. 

I’ve had to learn not to panic. I have had to learn to accept that worrying is a trigger that keeps people safe, however, too much worry and panic can be debilitating.  Whilst I have been bobbing along with the flow, balancing exhaustion with calm I have met quite a lot of new people. I must confess, recent months have been a test on my personality and ability to socially network. Relationships can be tricky, from friendships, to colleagues, peers and family, without practise. I was without practise.  

Presently, I accept after a few months of reintegration with groups and people in general, none of these new faces and strangers, maybe acquaintances, can I yet call my tribe. That doesn’t matter, because the connections have been enjoyable, uplifting and motivating, often inspiring. Who knows what the future might bring.  

When I was writing in solitude, I had never guessed that I might be forcing a little too much self-imposed control and disconnection upon my own life,  a control which might trap and exclude me from opportunity, or a hearty chit-chat with a good friend.  I've learned something about me. I like to be in control, however, 'what' I was trying to control I am still not exactly sure. I am sure there is a theory somewhere to explain it. Isn’t there a theory for everything?  

I am now coming to terms with willingly choosing to spend three years in isolation, writing poetry, and that I did absolutely nothing with the material I generated. What on earth was the point in that time? Was it a wasted adventure? Is there such a thing as time wasted? Does an adventure have to be recorded and shared with others to hold a sense of value,  or worth? 

I am no longer chasing, questioning, dreaming for, or requiring calm. 

I am still leaping.  

I am very busy, there is no denying that. 

I am not quite ready to check-out - give up - as the writer, yet.

And I certainly will always make a little time for Psychologies Magazine, because the people who collate, write and edit it, they fascinate me, maybe I could go so far as to say, they educate me. I do believe there is always something to learn from the articles, especially if you like to learn for yourself, and maybe learn something about your own sense of self. I'm slightly in awe with the new paper-packaging.

This is me checking-in, with you, because, right now, it is the only way I know how, and because I wanted to, it was time. That's the beauty of the internet, books and magazines. We can check-in and check-out, silently reading, whenever we want to. We don't need to tell everybody, or show everybody anything, unless we wish.

I often read life labs, and love hearing how others are getting on with your own adventures and life leaps. Even in the silence, it is lovely to know you are out there. 

Time to get back to my myriad of hiccups - I've tried drinking water from the wrong side of the glass, it hasn't improved the situation. I still have plenty of alternative options to try. Maybe, I will have a go at taking a few deep breaths, as autumn rolls in. 

Julie Spencer

Ambassador and Learning Support Assistant, Psychologies Magazine

Proud Ambassador for Psychologies Magazine. The magazine encapsulates many of my core values: being kind, have compassion, look after your health and wellbeing, be professional and be supportive of others. A little self belief can go a long way. I have studied as a mature student. I went into a writing frenzy and spent 3 years writing in solitude. I was a stay at home mum, too. What I learned: being alone for long periods of time is bad for your health and wellbeing. Thanks to a little nudge from Psychologies Magazine I am reconnecting and rebuilding my C.V. I'm a creative. I have lots of ideas and I need to constantly realign my focus onto one project at a time. Until recently I had a real fear for public speaking, but after reading a book that suggested I acknowledge my fears and challenge them anyway; with the support of the Psychologies community and more I'm working through my fears one blog at a time.