Being Still Makes Me Dizzy

Setting

Recently, I went to Townsend, Tennessee (about a mile from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) and had a bit of a retreat with six women – one I hadn’t met, one I’d only met on Facebook and the rest I’ve known for 15+ years. The cabin was breathtaking and it seems I needed to exhale. But, perhaps more than that…I needed to breathe in home.

Known as "The Treehouse"

Known as “The Treehouse”

I lived in or around East Tennessee for almost 13 years in total, and then 2 more in Western North Carolina. My family is from the Upstate of South Carolina (that borders Georgia and North Carolina) – Oconee County. We are Appalachian and those mountains are everything to me.

Characters

The company was exquisite…full of love, forgiveness, fierce intelligence and wine. The hot tub sits out from the house in the woods. There was guitar-playing and harmonizing on the porch. There was a fire I stoked all weekend like an attentive lover. There was good bread and did I mention there was wine? Talks about children and elections and books and adventures in the past. Superb.

Plot 

Last year, I started a new career — going from a decade teaching in Higher Ed to working for a digital marketing firm. Everything I know about marketing is either intuitive or learned from my own projects. It seems I learned a lot. I enjoy blogging for small business clients and the people I work for at Sparkmarketer are simply superb human beings. Every one of them. I’m almost 9 months in and it is going very well.

Creatively, last year was also a year of experimentation. I started this blog after being laid off and having the freedom (for the first time ever) to express myself fully online. I write poems, tell stories on stage and help people (business owners, artists, etc.) when they get stuck. It too, is working. I perform at least once a month in Nashville telling true stories from my life. It is transformative.

My family is well, my health is much improved since I found a Doctor to help me successfully manage a chronic injury and chronic pain. On almost every front…my life is more authentically mine than ever. So what is the problem?

Conflict

Without (much) social media, my mind began to slow, to savor, to settle. A question that took months to form came roaring from my mind…I knew there was something rising up, but could not shape words to describe it. It is a simple question, one that I avoid unless problem-solving..“What next?” 

There are even more opportunities around me to expand into areas I am passionate about – more writing, more performing, more consulting. People are consistently asking for more of me and I realized this weekend I am in the middle of an old and alluring pattern.dillatante

Here it is in a nutshell:

1. I have MANY interests.

2. I also have many talents.

3. I am a people-pleaser by nature.

4. I’m allergic to confinements of any sort.

5. So, I go in lots of directions at once and try to do a little of everything. I think I amuse people IRL. They don’t know anyone else like me.

6. I have little to show for my creative pursuits (accomplishments and so on) because I don’t really focus long enough to compete. And I hate competitions.

7. It bothers me about myself that I settle for dabbler status because I know I could do more, be more — go further.

8. Yet, I get so much positive feedback and my life is truly lovely – so I don’t upset the status quo. I just keep flying around, enjoying the view.

Part of me thinks, “Damn, why not just do what you do and have fun…Lord knows you’ve suffered enough. Why do you always have to out-do yourself? Who are you trying to get to love you?”

#welp

Theme

BUT I KNOW IT IS TIME TO LAND.

Just no.

Just no.

My bones told me in no uncertain terms. If I am to satisfy my ever-pulsating curiosity and embrace evolution without hesitation…I must make some weighted footsteps. Intentional, directional choices. To do this well, I must step away from “busy.” Even if “busy” is needed or wanted or demanded…I just cannot embrace everything or everyone.

 

 

My body, my soul and my mind — they ceaselessly ask for rest. In order to hear my own voice, I have to turn down the other noise all around me. I don’t have to know the answer or figure anything out…I just have to listen. I have a compulsion to GO and an aversion to STOP. I need to pay more loving attention to myself, which cannot be done “on the run.” Figuring things out as I go has worked for me. I get frustrated sometimes by my own lack of ambition, but I’ve learned to trust my instincts. It is time now to trust the voice that Knows and speaks softly. Maybe in twenty years, I’ll be saying the same things to myself. Or maybe, something that I dabble in, will become what I want all the time.

Either way, I’m not promised tomorrow and I don’t plan to waste a beautiful day worrying too much about what is next. See below.

 

 “How can one person be more real than any other? Well, some people do hide and others seek. Maybe those who are in hiding – escaping encounters, avoiding surprises, protecting their property, ignoring their fantasies, restricting their feelings, sitting out the pan pipe hootchy-kootch of experience – maybe those people, people who won’t talk to rednecks, or if they’re rednecks won’t talk to intellectuals, people who’re afraid to get their shoes muddy or their noses wet, afraid to eat what they crave, afraid to drink Mexican water, afraid to bet a long shot to win, afraid to hitchhike, jaywalk, honky-tonk, cogitate, osculate, levitate, rock it, bop it, sock it, or bark at the moon, maybe such people are simply inauthentic, and maybe the jacklet humanist who says differently is due to have his tongue fried on the hot slabs of Liar’s Hell. Some folks hide, and some folk’s seek, and seeking, when it’s mindless, neurotic, desperate, or pusillanimous can be a form of hiding. But there are folks who want to know and aren’t afraid to look and won’t turn tail should they find it – and if they never do, they’ll have a good time anyway because nothing, neither the terrible truth nor the absence of it, is going to cheat them out of one honest breath of Earth’s sweet gas.” — Stillife With Woodpecker Tom Robbins

 

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About Kristen Chapman Gibbons

Loosely connected facts: Storyteller. Curator of a Better Internet. Lifelong Politico. Social Media Maven. Creativity and Empathy Evangelist. Performer. Creator of Content Worth Sharing. Digital Strategist. Former Social Worker. Decade teaching in Higher Ed. Master's Degree in Theology. Married to an Irishman. 3 darling kiddos. Preacher's kid. Appalachian. Music maker. Music devour-er. ENTP. Bohemian. Geeky. Obsessed with thrift stores and all things vintage. Lover of species.

View all posts by Kristen Chapman Gibbons

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