What Am I Doing…

As many of you know, it’s been a hard few months. As we head towards Yule (tomorrow), I feel the long darkness in my bones, and the need for rest. However, this has been manifesting in rather scary ways.

(This is not intended to be a self-indulgent, whiny whinge of a post. Bear with me. Writing helps the thoughts work through.)

So many things have happened in the past 3/6/12 months (I lose track) that the need for rest is becoming a real need. I know that I’m not alone in this, but my inner balance feels like it’s tipping to the point where stopping to reassess is not just a nice indulgence when I get time – it’s absolutely necessary. Here’s what I mean.

Things are affecting me too deeply. Yes, I’m what some would call sensitive (others just a worrier), but some of the flotsam thrown at me lately has hit rather harder than it should. I feel very knocked back, which makes it hard to move forward.

It’s becoming more common that some days, I just don’t care. About anything. Every act is a slog, a battle, with no motivation. OK, that’s depression – but now it’s more often become not caring about myself, at all. That old question ‘What’s the point?’ – with its’ friends Hopelessness and Loneliness lurking in the background – stifle anything that I try to do, including basic necessities such as eating and looking after myself. This is scary.

This means that the stuff that fuels me, that bring me joy and inspiration, is missing. I’ve not been able to write much at all. Recent events have been great, but they’ve knocked me out for days with sheer exhaustion. I feel as if I’m letting people down by my inactivity, my lack of energy. The self-berating voices grow louder, making things worse.

And I know I’m not alone. The world is a hard place right now.

Why is all this happening? What can I do about it? Generally, it’s hard to know. But I’m getting ideas from various places.

The writings of friends, truthful and sincere, about their own ups and downs. Joanne and Nimue especially in recent weeks; just a few words in a brief post can strike such powerful chords. Or the silliness and beauty of Veronica Varlow. Provoking a sincere smile is a real blessing.

My students. The brightness of their work, the freshness of their ideas, the sheer inspiration… one fine example being the stalwart and brilliant Naomi. I cannot thank them enough for what they bring to my life (so I’m embarrassing them here instead). 😉

Randomness. Small things that catch my eye and make me pause, as reminders of what’s important. Re-Connection.

Here’s what inspired these thoughts and this post today, bringing together a LOT of randomness from this week:

The solstice is always a time of change, reset, release of the past, and a movement into a new cycle. This solstice is about anchoring in pragmatism your dreams and intentions.

Your desires should be given top priority. Remember you cannot fix or create intentions for anyone else. Don’t be afraid to dream big. If you are still feeling the weight of what you have carried, changed, released, processed, started or created in these past months, release it somehow in a fire or other ceremonial way. Then take your vision and ground it in pragmatism and practicality.

A quick thought from a mailing list. But I read it, over and over, as other words have snagged in my head recently. This could be dismissed as selfish New Age witterings… or it could be explored. I could let it inspire.

My own ‘magic’ has always been grounded. While ‘escapist’ playing can be fun, when something is heartfelt and sincere, worked with honour and intention for practical effect… well, the difference is quite clear.

The next few weeks are relatively quiet in the calendar. Ideas have been quietly forming. I’m going to take time, to reestablish my own connection to my work, my practice – what used to energise me, make me smile and bounce and run to find a pen. I’m not entirely sure what will come out of this, but it clearly needs doing.

I’m going to start a journal again, longhand, in a notebook. It’ll probably hurt, physically – my hands aren’t what they used to be, and I’m long out of practice! But time has to be set aside for this, space made. The ideas are then invited as the marks are made on the page. And not so easily deleted.

Fires will be made, to warm the household and bring us together. Good food will be made to nourish us. The darkness won’t be a place to get lost in, but somewhere to seek out inspiration. Intellectually I know this – in practice, however, it can prove a tricky quest.

My old question: What am I doing? Actions are to be taken with intention, purpose. I’m holding on to my own magic, recharging it, reforging into something new. That old adage of ‘physician, heal thyself’ rings true – when the time comes again to minister to others, I’d better be ready.

What dreams do I have for the new year? Let’s find out. I’ve no idea where 2014 is going to find me – but I’d rather face it truly alive.

Icy Woods



  1. Willow said

    This rings rather true for me. Tis Solstice tomorrow, I organised to be off work from today until after Xmas ages ago so I could enjoy my time and family time but the way I feel today is all “urge, getup for sunrise? Why bother, it’ll not be visible.” Not what I want to be feeling, need to sort self asap :/

    • druidcat said

      Do it. I will – and many others too. That’s a connection that inspires awe, for starters… 🙂 And then back for a nice breakfast to celebrate!

      • Willow said

        I will, I’m going to get up in time to drive to Castlerigg Stone Circle!

  2. Going back to the basics, the simple things of home and hearth can be really good as a defence against the darkness. And if nothing else, keeping the practical things straight makes life more viable, helps with the holding together and the getting through. Sometimes all you can do is survive, but this is a very good thing to focus on because it alonemakes all else possible. You will weather this, and the year wil turn and the gentler days will come. Promise.

    • tommyelf22 said

      “Going back to the basics…” <— What Nimue says here. I'm doing the same thing. Moving back to the roots of what I am – removing some of the stuff that's gotten in the way of being who I am. It means (for me) less time at the computer, and more time in my journals, more time walking outside (no matter the weather – unless its dangerous), more time reading books that have sat on the shelf and called to me when I am playing computer games.

      I know its not quite the same thing as you are describing here Cat – but I understand the point you are making here. As I tell my own students in my Information Systems classes when I ask them to write papers about where they see technology in the future – "Just be yourself. Don't write for the requirements of a paper. Write to express what's in your heart, and what you truly believe. When you do that, you write with a lot more conviction." I get truly strange papers from them when I do this…but I get papers I enjoy reading. Papers written with soul and conviction. And the students enjoy their learning. Just be you, Cat. As only one person here, that's why I connected so solidly with your books, and with your blog. You write with conviction. You pour your soul into what you write. Write those journal entries. On days where it is too painful to write – type them. Whatever it takes. In the end, just let your words be you – that's all anyone – even the Gods – can ask for or really want.

      –Tommy /|\

  3. I’ve also found staying true to that magical core and who / what inspires me is the key. Best of luck for the new year x

  4. kelitomlin said

    I hope you find the rest you need in the coming days. Being able to sit in the darkness as a place of inspiration, not fear and loneliness, sounds like a wonderful aim and I hope it returns to you and that I might find my own way there too.

    It does feel like one of those year ends/beginnings where what is to come is rather shrouded and blurred by exhaustion and coming to the very end of one’s resources; not just individually either but for groups and relationships and the world as a whole. Sitting with that uncertainty, the lack of solid plans, can be as uncomfortable as sitting in the darkness. But I am hoping it will bring truer, more grounded dreams to fruition. 🙂

    Many thanks for your post, and for blogging throughout the year; it has always provided me with words and phrases to read over and over and be inspired by. x x

  5. Gwion said

    I’ve never suffered from depression myself but I’m a not infrequent witness to its effects. I can only repeat what I say in those cases. (I’m always wary of giving advice, especially to those I don’t know well. This is the advice I give to one I know very well; perhaps it’s appropriate for you, if not, please excuse any presumption on my part.)
    “It will pass with time and life will return. Experience may tell you this even though your mind says that this time it’s different and there will be no end. Don’t listen to that voice, remember this has happened before and you have recovered. For now, concentrate on survival: eat; rest; sleep and do what you have to do but don’t criticise yourself for not doing as much as you once did or as much as you feel others expect of you.”

    I’m sure that, just as the days will begin to grow longer now the Solstice has arrived, so things will also improve for you in time.

    Best wishes at the solstice.

  6. […] Why are you doing it?” she asks. (As you can tell, sometimes she speaks with the voice of Cat Treadwell. […]

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