Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Stepping Away

There is this thing I sometimes unconsciously slip into that does not work well for me. I learned it early- a coping strategy in a childhood home where th­­e adults’ underlying rage and unhappiness was like an ever-present threat beneath the antiseptic scent of well-scrubbed appearances.

What I learned to do to survive was to continuously tune into others: to vigilantly and constantly watch and listen with my whole body and being; to anticipate what might be required; to disconnect from any sense of my own life- whether casual preferences or soul-deep desires- in order to serve the other’s priorities.

I felt I had to earn my right to be for one more day, every day. 

When my marriage to my sons’ father ended I remember telling a friend, “When I live with another I turn too much of my inner face toward them and lose myself over time.”

Over the years I've become better at setting and keeping clear healthy boundaries with friends, students, clients and colleagues. But in times of great change- even desired change- as my all-too-human anxiety arises I sometimes unconsciously slip back into focusing my inner attention and energy on the other, losing track of myself on some essential level.

As most of you know I've been working on a new book. The writing is deeply personal, a story of healing losses that both cultivate self-sabotaging survival strategies and offer some life-shaping gifts. But to write this story, to live the fullness of the healing the writing offers, I have to be deeply connected to my own life, body, heart, spirit. . . . I have to turn my face toward the inner landscape..

So, I am stepping away from Facebook and my weekly blog. Honestly, social media has brought incredible joy into my life- has brought connection with wonderful people around the world; a way to offer something and engage in and be stimulated by conversations that have added insight and contemplation, new ideas and laughter. (Yes, I enjoy a good giggle-inducing cat pic as much as the next person!)

But it has also offered me a way to turn my face away from my inner world when the writing I am doing makes it easy to want to look elsewhere. The hundreds of weekly emails, messages and comment filled with stories of challenge and courage touch me deeply. It's easy for me to unconsciously slip back into the old belief that I must exclusively focus on others’ needs to earn my right to be (or write or rest or pay the bills. . . ) The more the writing provides the possibility of truly uprooting this belief (a possibility that is simultaneously exhilarating and petrifying) the easier it is to turn my face to the many others with whom I connect on social media.

Here’s what I know: I have to write this book. Whether or not it is ever published or ever sells more than a dozen copies, I have to write it. For my life. For my health. (Oh how my fingers itch to write- for my contribution to the world- but I want to let the flourishing of this one small life be enough just for this minute.)

So I am stepping away. I will leave the pages up- but I will not be posting, reading, commenting, liking, sharing. . . .  I don't know for how long. For as long as it is something I need to do.

The Grandmothers in my dreams (who usually tend toward understatement) have said repeatedly: “Write or die Oriah.” It’s not a threat- it’s just a description of what is true for me. Death can be a slow moving away from the vibrancy of life, a hardly noticeable shrinking of living deeply and loving completely. Writing from the centre of being is what opens my awareness, what brings me to the Beloved within and around me, what cultivates the fullness of Life in me.

So the adventure continues. I hold you in my heart and prayers. May each of us find the next step in our journey. This is mine. In deep gratitude, Oriah

Oriah (c) 2014 


  1. Good for you! :-) And good for me - now I don't have to "pester" you about the book ;-) So thrilled that you are continuing to write it. Lots of Love & Hugs!

  2. I'll miss your thought-provoking and nourishing posts, but I can relate to your reasons for stepping back from social media. I hope you find the peace and focus that you need to complete your book xx

  3. It gobsmacks me how every time you write a post it resonates exactly with my own experience; so I also learn from yours. (I haven't quite turned away from blogging or fb but I often think of it, for the same reasons.)

    But right now, just to say I'm so glad for your sake to read you're doing what you need to do for yourself and your work, and though we'll miss you I'm happy to read that. I look forward to the next book. Thank you for all your generosity with the blogs.

    From England, all blessings and wishes on your life. No need to respond.

  4. Amen. For you. For me.
    Thank you!

  5. Write or die. I know exactly how that feels.

    So don't hesitate - don't even read this comment.

    Just ... live! :-)

  6. Yes to the Greater YES. A choice to be honoured.

  7. . . and how strange and lovely that just now I found your FB page. . .and just now you are leaving it for awhile. . .and just now, perhaps, I need to listen to my own voice instead of yours, however compelling it might be.

  8. Follow ur heart:)... It never fails us. Happiness or sorrow. It always feels real.

    Look fwd to reading another story of ur life. Good luck n tk care~~~

  9. Your writing is a gift. Thank you for your commitment to heeding and sharing your deepest voice.

  10. In deep gratitude for what you gave and shared - Nora

  11. There is one common thread to all of the joy we have ever experienced. It always comes from the heart. Thank you for sharing yours with us.

  12. I read The Invitation and all I can say is: Yes. Yes. A thousand, a million times yes. Thank you for this, for putting into words this piece of beauty so that it may be tangible and held onto.

    Write or die -- yes. Walk in beauty and peace, Oriah. May the words come, easily, painfully, swiftly and with joy.

  13. I understand...Peace be with you, Bonnie