400 . . . 44 . . . 32 . . . 9
This is my 400th post! This blog has been a grand adventure in journaling and in connecting with others. I know I’ve done a lot of whining and sniveling, but every now and then I manage to write something that draws me closer to a better understanding of myself and/or others. Every now and then I even manage to write something I am excited to share. For someone who has always felt that sharing what I write is like walking naked down Main Street at noon – an act of vulnerability and exposure – this has been an exercise that has stretched and strengthened me.
I have written 44 posts in 32 consecutive days. (I actually started on September 30th.) This is a landmark achievement for me, given my propensity for procrastination and my summertime inability to string more than a sentence or two together. This has been my second experiment this month, an experiment that I did not want to talk about until I saw whether I could actually pull it off. The experiment? To write at least one post a day every day in October.
And why did I feel such an experiment was necessary? Because I am a Nine. That makes sense to any of you who have studied the enneagram. I was first exposed to the enneagram about 4 years ago. When I read the description of a Nine I wanted to cry – it described me – exactly! Next to the Myers-Briggs, this is the best tool I’ve found for self-understanding and direction for personal growth.
Nines are peacemakers. Nines have a hard time acknowledging, much less asserting the self. Nines say ‘yes’ when they really mean ‘no.’ Nines often consider themselves to be Nobody Special and will not ask for what they want or need. Nines will lose themselves in busyness in order to avoid stress or unpleasant tasks. When under stress, Nines numb out, go to sleep, or escape to their own inner sanctum – a place of comfort, but unfortunately not a place grounded in reality.
Those of you who read my posts through the summer know that the last few months have been a time of great stress and anxiety for me. As a result, I did what Nines do best. I numbed out. I finally realized that I was “losing” entire days, not because I wasn’t remembering them but because I simply was not attentive. Folks, let me tell you, life is too precious – my children are too precious – to lose even a single minute. I know that. Sometimes I have to work harder than usual to act on that knowledge.
My task for October was to commit to writing at least one post every single day about something I was thinking or doing. That meant that all day, every day, I tried to pay more attention to life. “What is happening today that is worth sharing? What’s happening today that I don’t want to forget?” Asking myself those questions each day forced me to stay in the moment even in the presence of stress. Some nights I would sit at the computer for a long time thinking and reliving my day before I could come up with a single word to write. I would not allow myself to turn in for the night until I acknowledged some part of the day in writing – be it good, bad, or ugly.
I do not know how long I will continue doing this. I have found it extremely helpful. I feel more grounded. I feel stronger in facing my stressors. And, almost always I find the act of writing to be invigorating and refreshing. Plus you know what they say about anything you do for at least 21 consecutive days – it becomes habit. Let’s hope.
For the few of you who are gracious enough to read my blog on a regular basis, please do me a favor. The next time I drop out of sight for longer than normal, leave a comment asking if I am just busy or if I’m numbing out again. As I said before, life it too precious to sleepwalk through its days.