September is nearly here! But before we can step into early fall, we have to let go of August. I can’t think of a better way to end a month than checking in with Carolyn and everyone’s One Little Word.

I’ve used this year to practice slowing down and cultivate stillness in my life. I want to learn to let go of the feeling of needing to do all.the.things. I’ve found a lot of ways to integrate more stillness into my everyday, but I continue to get sucked into the constant need to produce. Of course, it’s all tied into my self worth, which I’m working on, and I’m happy to have another four months to sit with these thoughts.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I’ve listened to Emily P. Freeman’s State of the Podcast three times (and counting, I’m sure). In that episode she models how she’s reflecting on the state of her podcast – what she finds life-giving, life-draining, the questions she’s holding, and the arrows she’s following. I’m not good at this sort of reflection, but I thought this post would be a good opportunity to practice, given that sometimes this blog can be a barrier to honoring my desire to find stillness. So, let’s give it a shot?

Life-Giving

✔️ Connection with other readers and knitters. I finally feel comfortable identifying as a capital-r-Reader. I think I’ve always been a Reader but have doubted my ability to read well. Thanks to this blog and the wonderful other Readers I’ve connected with, I feel much more confident owning that identity! My version of reading well is different than the next Reader’s, and that’s the beauty of the world of books! Same with knitting — I’ve been knitting for nearly 20 years and was always bashful about my skills. Of course, my knitting ebbs and flows, but I still feel like I can pick up a pattern and figure almost anything out. My ability hasn’t changed in the last few years, but my confidence surely has.

✔️ This is an outlet for some of the thoughts swirling in my head and gathering outside perspective from people I’ve learned to trust is invaluable. These Word of the Year posts are a perfect example. I know that no matter how discouraged I am, I’m going to get an inbox full of encouragement and gentle nudges in a positive direction. So thank you.

✔️ I’ve had an opportunity to set goals, measure my progress, and look towards the future. Again – posts like these keep these practices in the forefront, ensures that I think critically about how to integrate these new ideas into my life, and gives me opportunities for growth and reflection.

Life-Draining

➖ I almost always feel like I’m behind. Behind either with checking in on other bloggers, responding to comments, or writing my own posts. I’ve addressed this by giving myself a loose framework to fall back on: 1) I have no expectation to post more than 3x a week; and 2) my commenting “priority” is on other people’s blogs: I focus on reading/commenting elsewhere before I try to respond to my own comments. Those two guidelines have helped a lot!

➖ I feel really guilty when I’m just laying on the couch and watching TV because I think I should either be reading, knitting, or doing something “worthy” of blogging about. I’m trying to remember that relaxation is an important part of finding stillness.

➖ I’m not sure this blog has helped my feelings of wanting to do all.the.things. I often get stuck in the cycle of doing, doing, doing. And I see all of the beautiful things my friends are creating and the incredible books that you’re all reading and I want to be right in the middle of all of it. I can’t quite shake that.

Questions I’m Holding

What is my goal here? My blog has changed several times over the years and the purpose has morphed along with those changes. The most recent iteration (The Cozy Burrow) was created to make room for more of my life, not just reading. The problem is that I’m not comfortable sharing a lot within the posts and pages of this blog (see the question listed below).

Who is reading this? I’m a very private person and am careful about what I put into the world. Perhaps writing a blog with my name as the web address isn’t the best strategy for protecting my privacy in ways that I’m comfortable? The words I share here represent a very narrow window into my life — and I’m not comfortable sharing much more despite wanting to dig into so many other things.

My Arrows

Arrows are hard to define because they’re subtle nudges found within. The questions I keep turning over are: What do I want? Where do I feel pulled? The problem is that I can’t possibly go in all of the directions I feel pulled – so what’s the most important?

📚 I want to read.

⌨️ I want more time with my keyboard

🧘🏻‍♀️ I want to spend time exercising.

🎧 Time with podcasts and bookish communities.

🧶 Time with my knitting needles

The list could go on and on, but it feels like 5 is a good place to start. I think these are the five places I’ll be concentrating on over the next few months and see how this blog can morph with those arrows. It will probably mean fewer than 3 posts a week for a while and that’s okay – more isn’t always better!


Other Stillness Goals

I’ve continued my daily meditation practice in August and managed at least one session every day. I pushed pause on the daily yoga because of some issues with my hip and plantar fasciitis, but I’m planning to work it back into my daily routine in September. More meditation and yoga were two of my goals this year and I’m happy that they’ve stayed in the forefront as we’ve moved through the year. Here’s to September and seeing this mission through to the end of 2021!

I can’t wait to catch up with all of you this month. I hope to be back on Wednesday with a few good books and maybe some knitting progress. Until then – take good care!

20 thoughts

  1. What a wonderful post. I love how you have used Emily’s questions too. And I am connecting with you on so much you have written. Sitting here (on the couch with the TV on) and nodding along.

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  2. What an awesome post and so many things I can relate to. For me it’s often “the art of letting go” and realizing it’s ok not to do “all the things”. Sometimes just sitting still enjoying a cup of coffee with music can be perfection.

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  3. I know I say this to you a lot, but I really am impressed by how much you do get done given that you your full-time job is running your household and home-schooling your kids. All the same, I do understand that feeling of guilt for just sitting, and lately I’ve also felt that guilt if I’m “just” doing one of my pastimes (because I’ve gotten so adept at doing two at once). As you noted, though, it is a good exercise in stillness to recognize that sometimes you need to pause, to take a break, etc. I am also grateful for what you do share here, but as someone who is also pretty private and guarded in what they share online, I completely respect your feeling that you need to carefully curate what you post.

    FWIW, I always enjoy getting comments from you on my blog, but if it’s something that requires more time or effort than you have, you can always skip leaving them — I know you’re reading!

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  4. What a lovely post, Katie! There is so much amazing stuff in here… stuff I struggle with too (the narrow window to ones life being at the top of my list) I think that your blog is a most pleasant place to stop by… it is inspiring (projects that inspire, books that inspire, days that inspire), it is joyful (I just love your Friday posts so much!!), and it is motivating (I am not a tracker like you are, but I have managed to incorporate bits of your ideas to work in my calendar style of comfort). I visit some blogs and it feels so fake (for lack of a better word) just too perfect, too happy, too everything in place… which is just not real life. I think you have found the perfect balance between sharing that feels real and keeping things to yourself.

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    1. Thanks, Kat! It’s so good to hear that I’m striking such a careful balance. My goal going forward is to be as encouraging as possible – and your comment makes me feel like I’m on the right track!

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  5. Hi, Katie. I, too, can relate to so much of what you share here. I took a one-week break from blogging in August. That stretched into two weeks… And after that, I simply didn’t feel like coming back, to be honest. It was strange. And unsettling. And very surprising.

    The simplest reasons for NOT wanting to come back: Keeping up. With my own expectations…and feeling small next to “everyone else.” The reason for wanting to come back: Two things. Accountability. I live better when I have some of that; putting things out in this space, out loud. holds me accountable. And–inspiration. Which is…everyone here, including you.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your self here. So often, when I read your monthly check-ins, I feel like we could talk good and long in real life!

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  6. Katie I absolutely love this post. I’m really happy for you that you feel confident with where you are as a Knitter and Reader!
    I will definitely need to check out that podcast. I really like this framework. I’m not so much questioning where my blog fits in to my life but if what I’m doing in general fits in with where I want to go. I’m with you in that there’s so much to do and create and it’s so hard to keep up with it all. I often have “analysis paralysis” as to what I want to make next and it’s hard to stay on top of this. So I might do some thinking about what truly brings me joy. Thanks as always for the inspiration.

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    1. Kath – I think you’d really like Emily’s style and outlook. Her podcast is excellent! I have a very different spiritual outlook than her, but I can almost always find a helpful nugget in every episode. And I’m with you on the analysis paralysis! It can make our next steps so hard. I’m wishing you all the best!

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  7. I’m impressed that you can even blog at all with all that you’ve got going on in your life! You absolutely deserve to have some time to rest and veg out with TV or whatever. But I get feeling like you’re not doing “enough.” It’s a hard habit to shake. It’s really drilled into us, especially women, in this country – gotta be busy, gotta have a perfectly ordered house, gotta travel, gotta have hobbies, gotta get the kids to all their activities… and work, and romance with the partner, yada yada yada… it’s exhausting just thinking about it. I think I’m seeing a shift (small, but noticeable) in some people’s attitudes to all that “busy-ness.” I think the pandemic has made some – including me – start questioning this whole grind mentality. Who made these rules? Who benefits from this? What am I teaching my kid about what’s important in life? These are things I’ve been thinking about.

    Following those arrows sounds like a GREAT plan! I’m excited for you to discover what’s there at the place where those arrows land.

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    1. Thank you so much, Laila. I agree – there’s been quite a shift lately and I’m grateful for all of the thoughts and ideas I’ve gotten to read over the last year or so. It’s all fed into where I am right now – which is still a journey, but maybe I’m on a good path for me?

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  8. It seems like even when you’re “still” you’re bursting with energy and ideas! Thank you for welcoming us into this space – even if it’s just one small sliver of your life, it feels whole, real, and inviting. and thank you, too, for helping me understand “arrows” – I’ve listened, read, and listened again to Emily’s explanations and seeing your list, now it finally makes sense!

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  9. For me, if I start to get too stressed about some sort of media -Instagram, especially, I take a break. I do these things for FUN and to ENCOURAGE others. I’ve found I can’t manage more than one media at a time. So if I’m blogging, IG is quiet. If I’m on IG, the blog is quiet. I’m not really “on” facebook at all. I’m still writing in my journals and thinking and dreaming and being and it’s all good. I’m definitely more of a sitter and NEED to get myself going on projects. So the opposite as you! 🙂 It was SO good to read your heart here and don’t feel pressure to comment. We all get it. Said a prayer for peace and that you would know what to focus on. There is so much that pulls at us as moms/creatives/ and homeschoolers.

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    1. Thank you so much for the prayer, Amy. I appreciate it! I’ve phased out all of my social media, except for this blog… and sometimes even this is too much for me! I’m working on accepting that 🙂

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  10. Lovely prompts guiding this post — I love reflective stuff, and I think these questions hit the mark dead on.

    I haven’t listened to that podcast (though I should try it, as I’ve been somewhat familiar with Emily Freeman’s work for years), but I’ve also been on a similar train of thought this last week. I used to not struggle with anxiety (well, not capital-A Anxiety) until the past couple years, and though it’s currently mostly under control, I still have hard days. This last week I had several, and I finally had to step back and take a very similar approach — what is bringing me peace, purpose, and happiness? What is making the anxiety worse? It’s been a useful exercise (and one that’s already shown results, as my anxiety is much less at this tail-end of the week than at the beginning!), and I appreciate you posting this and giving me further reflection and further prompts to consider.

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