I have returned from a retreat from the Mother House of the Northumbria Community, my spiritual home. It has been a time of re calibration for me after what has seemed a difficult and pressured six months. A brother there suggested I looked “burdened”. The word didn’t quite describe my feeling appropriately. I feel ‘weathered’. Something, unexplainable almost un-definable has been wearing me out and tiring me. It has seemed, for the last six months that everything and nothing is the problem all at once; all I’ve known is something’s not right.
Whilst I was away, I began to write a personal journal; something I’ve thought about a lot but never thought I could manage it. After a period like I’ve been in it seems right that I journal down thoughts, reflections and feelings so that I can look back and see the inconsistencies and loose ends and, hopefully, see God. It seems that there are different voices within me (most of them imitations of other people who I aspire to be, which is not healthy or what a writer should do!) and when I know that the words I write will be made public it brings out a certain way of writing. My personal voice is… I don’t know… different. I can’t tell how exactly, but I hope that, over time, I will discover it and be able to share it with the public.
This discovery made me consider to stop blogging (as I have done many times before). I am not intending to write a blog about blogging; I’ve done that before (see ‘London Calling (part VII)’ post). No, what I am trying to get at is there are things which require a public voice and others which require a private voice, to begin with at least.
I am trying to accept my private and public faces. This is hard for me as I deeply desire an integrity, a one-ness to me. But vulnerability is not about a inner strip-tease or an exhibition of your soul but rather its living with an inner strength of knowing you who you are. As I don’t think it is possible for me to know who I am, as selfhood is a necessarily fluctuating concept, this knowledge is about being known rather than knowing myself.
What this leads to, therefore, is the discovery of the public voice and discerning how to support it with my private voice for the benefit of others.
For a long time I have felt a need to disclose my private voice to encourage people to question it and to shape me. This has not worked and maybe that was futile expectation anyway. This blog must be, I think, a space where I speak for and about others. It’s not a space to air personal issues and/or share my whole life just for the sake of it. I have wrestled with this a lot and, in the past, I have rejected that information (another example of the concept of selfhood in flux!) This is a season, I feel, where I need to see what it is like to limit the use of this site for issues of public interest rather than a place of personal disclosure.
Anyway, that’s all by way of introduction to the next post…