It’s been a minute, right?! I’m so happy to be reconnecting with you all, old friends and new, after a little glitch in the matrix which kept this newsletter out of circulation for a few weeks.
It seems fair to tell you a little about where I’ve been, even though it’s not a very interesting story. I’d like to say I was imprisoned by a wizard in a tower that had broken wifi.
The truth is that I was prescribed a new medication, which promises to be truly life-altering in its long-term benefits. In the shorter term, though, my body has had some trouble adjusting to the new drug and I’ve been dealing with some pretty serious fatigue.
I got tired. Really tired.
For a while there I couldn’t really work much at all. I did a lot less than I wanted to with my daughter. I slept during the day… a LOT. I leaned on my partners… a LOT.
And inevitably, I felt all the guilt and shame and self-loathing our culture teaches us to feel when we can’t be machines.
I’m working on this. But I do want to say: SORRY, my dears, for going dark like that. If I’d understood what it was or how long it would last, I would of course have sent you all an update… but (does anyone else do this?) I kept assuring myself that “tomorrow” or “this afternoon” or “after the weekend” I would “catch up”.
Catch up? What even is that?
The Trouble with Consistent
In a lot of areas of life—including newsletter writing—the received wisdom for success is “just be consistent.” Like that’s the big secret.
I know a lot of people can do consistent. I’m in awe of every one of you.
Me, I can do a little bit of consistent, here and there:
- my heart is consistent
- my good intentions are consistent
- my wish to do better is consistent
But thanks to health, family responsibilities, and Life In General, sometimes
- my actions are inconsistent.
I care very consistently about this community and the connection we share. In future it’s my intention to update you when I seem to be having a bit of a pause. (I will also, at these times, pause payments for paid subscribers.)
It strikes me now that if I had been able to embrace my inconsistency, instead of denying it altogether, I would have been able to take steps to communicate better. It’s ironic that my very insistence on perfection from myself (I’m not pausing, I’m DOING THIS! VERY VERY SOON!) is what caused such a long silence on these airwaves.
This is the cool thing about wild inventures. They’re always surprising.
I realize now that when I started sleeping later and stopped my practice of morning pages, I lost the bird’s eye view of my life that enables me to make smart judgements. Instead, I groped and staggered my way through my days, just dealing with the Next Essential Thing, falling into bed at night and then crawling out of it and straight into action (not early) the next morning.
When I was dictating the first draft of this letter, the AI bot did me a favor and wrote down “morning pages” as “warning pages.” And I realized this is exactly right. When I do my reflective practice, I’m able to get early warning signs about the trends and dangers in my life. Without that perspective, time became unknowable and my passage through it became totally invisible.
Cool with Imperfection
Muse of my soul Ani DiFranco has a song (and an album) called “Imperfectly” that kind of sums up my relationship with consistency:
I’m okay if you get me at a good angle And you’re okay in the right sort of light We don’t look like pages from a magazine And that’s all right…
The refrain is “let’s do it all imperfectly.”
So, want to join me in showing up whole in our imperfection? If the alternative is not to show up at all if we can’t guarantee 100% every time, I think we have to accept inconsistency as part of a package that also includes grace.
I can if you can.
This article originally appeared on Rowan’s Wild Inventures substack newsletter. To subscribe and get all Rowan’s posts in your inbox, head over to Wild Inventures on substack now.