I’ve finally made a decision that’s been a long while in coming. I know without a doubt that I spend too much time on social media. I am tracked so I know how many hours I spend on my phone. And the percentage increase. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram has me by the short and curlies. My morning gmail inbox is filled with news, business news local and international. Platforms I follow like academia.edu send me interesting papers that I save to read who knows when. They’re right up my street, psychological, in depth, on point … but the file for them TBR grows and grows. Other platforms I follow I save TBR later … all madly interesting. Brain Pickings, The Literary Hub, articles on Feminism, religion, Jungian psychology – mostly unread except maybe for a quick peek. The books on my kindle remain unread, the promise that I made to myself that I would review them, broken.

The painting on my easel remains unfinished, though I daub at it from time to time. My wardrobe needs decluttering and clothes given away – I’ve been saying this from the beginning of this month.

I’ve had a painful neck for some time now. Occasionally I take a strong anti-inflammatory. I use a heat pad on my neck and shoulders.. I make my own muti using chopped up raw turmeric, garlic, ginger, a few slices lemon, a squirt of apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, powdered turmeric and nutmeg, and a little honey (necessary), steeped in boiling water in a large mug. It helps. I’ve seen a physio a few times for dry needling and massage which helped.

I remember last year when I had a very painful foot in the early days of covid, which I suspect was from using my husband’s gym equipment incorrectly. Eventually, I went to see a GP here in Plett, who requested x-rays, no damage. What was interesting to me, was that no sooner had I made that appointment that the foot pain started to diminish. By the time the x-rays were done, there was no more pain, no treatment necessary. I wondered whether this was because I had made the first step in seeing a doctor, i.e. I was taking care of myself.

I’ve also made a link between sugar and neck pain. I have a very sweet tooth. Plus I have to say there is something rather greedy about my attitude towards food. Anyone who knows me, knows this. Just recently, my husband and I decided not to enable each other by having delicious things like yoghurt covered cashews, and cookies, and nuts and yoghurt covered dates – and almond croissants in the freezer. No more biscotti. No more chips in the pantry. No more delicious rusks (healthy, seeded, wheat free) with early morning tea, in bed.

At pottery classes there are always scrumptious things to eat at coffee break. The other day I took peeled and segmented clementines and sliced apples to the meeting. No doughnuts or chocolate brownies for me. The others also partook of the fruit – and even though the doughnuts and biscotti were staring at me, I wasn’t tempted.

Surprisingly, the neck pain has diminished. I’m stretching a little more, twisting my spine to enliven it. I spend more time in preparing food and enjoying the presentation of it. And the deliciousness of it. Simple. No bread (with oodles of butter) or crackers to go with it, just as is. No snacking in between meals. I’ve been known to demolish a slice of cake just before supper .. and after .. and in between. Snacking all day long …

So, this morning, a new week, a dedication by me to and for me to take a break. I’m sure I will continue reading your blogs, a source of nourishment for me. I’ll have to work out a time set aside for this. Daily? 2 or 3 times weekly? I’m not sure. While I’ve always meditated in the mornings, I can get out of the routine very quickly when the first thing I often do on waking is reach for my phone. Last thing at night too …That’s what I mean when I say I’ve been caught, captivated and captured … I want to break free, buzz like a bee, fly like a butterfly (with apologies to whoever first said this .. I think it was buzz like a butterfly, sting like a bee). There have been too many illnesses and death about and this is something I need to digest. Much saddened by the news today of the recent death of Julian David, Jungian Analyst, founder member of SAAJA (SA Association of Jungian Analysts), peacefully at his home in England and who made a lasting impression on me from a long time ago.

I plan to spend much more time writing … a novel about Lilith. Ok there I’ve said it. Been in the works for a while.

Thank you for reading. My love to you all. May the Force be with you. May Love be your operational word and your guiding star. May you be well, safe and centred.

67 Comments on Taking a Break

  1. Hi Susan – I know I’m late … going through some muddling around here – all well … but eventually things have caught up and I need to get my own life in some semblance of order. It’s now happening after not doing it for the past 18 months
    I’m so pleased I’m not hooked into FB, Tw, Instag … etc … but am very happy with my blogging pals and the odd piece I read via a link I’ve subscribed too. We’ve started our various groups again – so I’m busy there too. My phone will need to come out of hibernation for those … and I’m updating my machinery etc before it completely stops. Life goes on (the brain will need to be activated) … and it’ll be great if you can spend more time on your Lilith book, as too your art …
    I see you’ve another post up … so I know you’ll keep in touch via an odd post … take care and enjoy your Spring and Summer … thankfully for now we have an Indian summer here – amongst all the kerfuffle it’s much appreciated in this world. Cheers HIlary

    • Glad to hear you’re back into the swing of things Hilary, while having an Indian summer. I know that muddled feeling only too well. Today is a gorgeous day, unlike the last few days that have been distinctly cool.

      I’m hosting the end of September #WATWB – they are so short of hosts I felt obliged. But when it goes live you will see what South Africans have been up to, or down to. Thank you for coming by, enjoy the warm weather, all best, Susan

      • Hi Susan – I have to write my #WATWB up yet … and lots on still to keep this busy brain bustling around from one subject to another.
        state of chaos here – but things moving, which is better than not moving along! Still gorgeous here … but definitely cooling off. I’ll be around to support you and #WATWB … thanks for taking it on.
        Cheers for now – see you shortly … xo Hilary

        • I usually battle with #watwb – especially now because we’ve just had fibre laid down (for faster Internet etc connection).But son Mike will soon be here to help. Maybe it’s because the ‘thing’ is in the roof. Thing referring to router, I think! See you soon! O Eric Lahti is co-hosting, whew, thank the Pope. Susan

  2. Oh good on You Susan.
    finish that painting start another . let your neck find its natural sitting place and keep enjoying the preparation of meals wholesome without frills.
    I truly believe it is time to go in and in and in, finding a level of inner sustenance , a means of being connected to the greater whole, mentally well, physically as adept as possible, emotionally stable and thus increase our capacity to hold the space for the light to shine in every soul .
    I thank you very much for your encouragement to me over the years in my writing and in some ways it is you that has shown me the capacity we have to friend each other in the blogasphere.

    enjoy embrace buzz and fly -smell the roses drink the sunrises nourish your soul.

    in gratitude
    Sandra

    • Oh Sandra, if only you knew how your writings nourish my soul and how much I am in gratitude to you for that. You enhance everything for me when you write, occasionally it may be. Now, today, I am in deep gratitude for your response to my post. I will re-read this many times, thank you.

      Your 2nd paragraph says it all, thank you ..it is very encouraging –

      Thank you for saying that in some ways I have shown how it is possible, ‘..and that we have the capacity we have to friend each other in the blogasphere.’ You helped me in that too. Yes, deep connections have been made, I would never want to give them up.

      I am refashioning my painting yet again. I had a new idea this morning.

      Thank you for your last line too!

      In gratitude, Susan
      lots of thank you’s 🙂

    • Thanks Barbara so much – already I’m feeling better and brighter! I’m rethinking everything and see no reason to fade away in the blogosphere. Besides, I enjoy the interactions too much. Just need discipline.

  3. I’m sorry you’ve had horrible neck pain too. I’ve found physiotherapy, where you get actually hands on massage, to be really helpful. I hope reducing sugar can be beneficial too.

    Like you, I seem to have a long list of books, documents, posts, etc on my to-read list that I never get around to. I’ve got so many things half finished that I never get time to get back to, along with various things I’ve wanted to do (like a bit of art) and still haven’t had a second spare to try anything. It’s exhausting and it’s a shame to miss out on the things you want and need to do.

    I think a little break is a good thing. Reduce what you don’t need or want to do/read/write etc. Focus on you, on your health and the things that bring you joy. We’ll all be here when you fancy blogging again, whether it’s a week or a few months.🤗

    Sending love and best wishes,
    Caz xxxx

    • Thank you Caz for stopping by with your lovely words of encouragement, I so appreciate this. I’m sorry you have neck pain too … and I agree that physio and massage helps.

      I was beginning to feel overwhelmed by all that I WASN’T doing which in part prompted me to take a break. I will get to the podcasts and fabulous bits of writing that have come my way, just not now or even any time soon. Already, not spending so much time on social media these last few days has improved my attitude about everything. I’ve done some necessary writing, a mock up of a painting I want to do – the mock up on a sheet of black paper and using oil pastels – and I’m just back from a lovely walk down to the lagoon.

      I hope you find your way clear to doing what you really want to do and be, and focus on what brings you joy. And any aches and pains you may have become a thing of the past.

      Love to you and thank you again, Susan

  4. Best wishes for your break, Susan. I hope you achieve all you wish to by making this choice for yourself. We can become very caught up in the world of blogs and social media and allow its demands to drive us rather than take control of our own steering wheel. While I will miss your lovely posts and the light you shine in the blogsphere, I know your light will continue to reach love and light into many dark corners. May your force be with you. Until we meet again, my friend. 💖

    • Yours is such a lovely response Norah thank you. An hour or so ago I was thinking and reflecting on how warmed I’ve been by the responses to my post. They re-affirmed and re-inforced my sense of everyone’s value to me, and my strong wish and need to maintain these connections. Already, I’ve been ‘good’ …I could be better and I will continue so in better scheduling of my time. Your analogy to the steering wheel is excellent! I have a plan in mind from an hour or so ago … I may put up the odd post here and there, short and sweet … something of value to share. So watch this space. Thank you again for your lovely comment. I hope all is well with you and yours and that you’re all keeping safe and well. The warmest of good wishes to you xx

  5. I fully understand you, my dear Susan. I’m also active almost everywhere and sometimes it blows my mind! Although I often have my wife with me who has absolutely no interest in social media, so for her sake I stay away from my cell phone. So, make yourself comfortable and take a break. Stay safe and sound. ❤🤗👍

    • Thanks for coming by Alaedin … yes, it was starting to ‘blow my mind’ too! It was becoming a bad habit hard to break, but already I’ve reduced it and I feel the better for it 🙂 You too stay safe and sound…

  6. It’s good to be organised. Allocate time for each engagement.
    I too have reduced my social media time.
    Good idea to reduce sugar. Or even cut it off. We anyway get sugar from the stuff that we eat.
    Good luck with your novel.
    Take care.

    • Thank you Pradeep for coming by. Already I feel the difference. I’ve been pondering this for about 2 years and finally decided. Thank you for your good wishes re the novel. All best to you, Susan

  7. Susan, your words and feelings make me happy. It’s a declaration of independence. I’m so glad you’re giving yourself what you need. I don’t know what that will be for me when the Monarchs leave, but I’ll find out by October. (I’m personally grateful for connections from social media–such as you–but keep it limited. It’s important to me that hearing is optional on FB. I like sharing the beauty I discover every day since taking photos helps me notice and be grateful. Just a few personal reasons why I’m not taking a social media break, at least not yet.) Your novel sounds fascinating. I can’t wait and wish you the best in every way (including a grandbabe). I hope we’ll stay in touch.

    • Your posts on the Monarchs are always so lovely and inspiring Elaine, Mama Monarch, and a lesson in paying attention to the beauty of these creatures who face such amazing journeys from pupa to butterfly and their long long flight to Mexico and back again … not unlike our human lives. Your posts that are not on the monarch (meaning king and/or queen) are equally inspiring. Already I’ve reduced my phone time on FB etc and feel the better for it. I took myself off for a quick visit to the Wednesday market down the road with the intention of purchasing two small heart shaped quartzes as gifts, one for a woman who’s leaving plett and the other for a young woman who’s recently arrived. In days past I would not have found the time on a Wednesday morning to browse, this morning I did. We will definitely stay in touch! Love, Susan

  8. I hear you. Blogging can get to be very time consuming. I have the same problem with my emails from sites I have subscribed to. I don’t have time to read it all. I do enough reading with the daily newspaper. Take good care and enjoy your extra time. Good luck with the book.

    • Thanks Deborah for coming by. I almost forgot that I was the one who requested subscription to the various platforms out there! Hope all is well and continuing to cool down. Thank you for your good wishes.

  9. Hi Susan, I wish you well with your break from social media. I like social media, but I am very disciplined about it and don’t let it interfere with my work or writing schedules. I have set times from blogging and don’t deviate much. WRT food, strangely I have no sweet tooth at all. What I create is more for the enjoyment of creation than for the eating. My family do enjoy my efforts though. I think lots of people have become quite derailed over the past 18 months and many need a break to re-centre themselves.

    • For sure it takes discipline to schedule time. I’ve tried it today, early days, but I’m hopeful! Your creations are absolutely amazing Robbie and clearly Labours of love and creativity as is your writing of books! Plus being a working gal and mother. I can’t say I’ve been derailed as so many, too many have. More of a need to focus on my side. Enjoy the real summer weather coming your way!

  10. I understand your decision. When I went on a three-week summer break (off to the shore and some time alone with my guy) I felt a whoosh of relief to not have to go on my computer and write/comment/see what’s up with everyone. Breaks are good. That said, I also wondered how my blog peers were doing. I do feel such a friendship for many of them, including you. So once in a while let us know how the break is for you, and if you’re enjoying more time for a creative output. Best of luck with your novel writing! I look forward to seeing you back here – when you’re ready. In the meantime, TAKE CARE!

  11. Susan, I feel like we’re floating in the same atmosphere as all these things are true for me as well. Too much screen time, too much sugar, not enough stretching, the novel untouched for months at a stretch. Bon chance then, to you, and I hope you resuscitate that of your life which you most treasure during this break and come back clear-eyed and purposed to the world. xox

  12. What a great decision Susan! Yes, do it! And perhaps try hard to resist the temptation from answering all these messages of love and support. Know that none of us want you to spend the next three hours responding to each of us. I visit your ‘Garden of Eden’ blog because it’s a beautiful, inspiring place to be. An oasis, a place to rest, drink and feast on the beauty, wisdom, kindness and love that’s freely grown and gifted by you, its creatrix.

    Woo hoo! I’m really excited to hear that you’re writing a novel about Lilith! I’ve been secretly hoping for another book from you, and a novel to boot! Oh, how generous you are to share your connections made between sugar and pain. As you know I’m rubbish, thankfully, with social media and can’t spend too much time on any platform without, seriously, losing the will to live! I prefer connect to people not buttons any day of the week.

    Years ago, as a fellow sugar sensitive ( and addicted) person, I came across a brilliant book titled “Potatoes Not Prozac” which you might enjoy which helped me a lot, it’s one all about sugar and how it affects a person. Here’s the link: Potatoes Not Prozac: Revised and Updated: Simple Solutions for Sugar Addiction: Amazon.co.uk: Desmaisons, Kathleen: 9781982106478: Books I recommend this book often to many of my clients.

    Enjoy your break from social media. For me, it’s a totally insane place to be, day in day out. And if, on a bad day, you feel those old desires or bad habits creeping back into your thoughts and actions, then visit this page instead. Here is much better than a doughnut or hour wasted on Facebook or opening that cold fridge door I call Twitter. Here you can feast on love, kindness, beauty, inspiration! Sending you much love, light across the oceans between us, Deborah.

    • Thanks Deborah so much! I feel the same way about your posts and many others – there is real connection that I cherish. I won’t give those up. But it has become too much. I follow @sophiacycles on Twitter. She (Béa) puts up short and sharp posts on things psychological, Jungian. A wonderful platform. You would love it.

      Sugar is inflammatory of this is there is no doubt. Yet we’re addicted it to it. As we are to all things that enhance flavour. Addiction is a real thing that comes in all shapes and stripes. I can get addicted to a series on Netflix (thank heavens the last episode of the last season has now ended – a re-watch of Downton Abbey). I’ll look up Potatoes, not Prozac, thanks for the link. Luckily, I don’t take anything at all … no vitamins, no nothing. Occasionally a magnesium fizzy. Yesterday I saw a packet of chewy things of vit D3, so I bought them. Delicious. Chocolate flavoured. Two a day – a find! Each individually wrapped.

      Thank you for your lovely comment dear Deborah. Going on 10 am this misty coolish morning. My canvas is staring at me. It’s a large one that I’ve painted over several times. It is now fully black with some chalk sketches on it, that I’ve wiped off several times . It is now time methinks to be bold and use some paint .. love to you across the oceans – Susan

  13. I applaud your decision, Susan. It is great modeling for most of us.
    May your break be all that you need it to be. When you’re ready, please keep in touch from time to time.

    Is the quote – “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” ? If so, then the author was ‘Muhammad Ali’! 😀

    • Thanks Donna – the break and effects still to be determined! Yes, the quote is from Muhammed Ali, as Merril also kindly pointed out! It’s quite a graphic image! Ouch for the sting though!

  14. We can all use a nice break now and then. I’m winding down from my own now. I spent most of August off line and it was wonderful! Getting back to blogging is going to be somewhat difficult I think.

    Enjoy your break. Oh, yeah, I’ve got that sweet tooth addiction. I don’t know that I’ll ever break free of that one, but I don’t know that I really want to.

    Arlee Bird
    “A Big Favor Please”

    • Thanks Arlee for coming by. Glad you report that it was wonderful to take a break for a month! I’m sure it will be difficult to get back into the swing of things, but you surely will.

  15. Enjoy your time off, Susan. Taking time for oneself is so important, and it sounds like you’ll have plenty to keep you busy and give you joy. Sorry to hear about your neck pain. I’ve been dealing with lower back pain, probably from all the sitting in front of a computer for so many hours. Take care, have fun, and hope to see you whenever you’re ready.
    Love, Silvia.

    • Thanks Silvia .. ‘they’ say that all the sitting we do is almost worse than smoking! What with TV and Netflix and being at the computer we can hardly be surprised! So a balance is required – maybe after every half hour so to stand a stretch for a few minutes. Maybe try a heat pad against your chair when you’re writing .. I hope it resolves itself. Love, Susan

  16. I hope you feel better and more relaxed by taking a break. Social media takes so much time. And good for you for doing what you need to do to feel healthier. Good luck with your novel!

    “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” was Muhammed Ali.

  17. Susan, I admire your decision to reduce news and online consumption. I am hoping to do the same, and realizing that FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing. Best wishes for your break; I hope we will see you blogging again when the time is right for you.

    • Thanks so much Donna. I agree about FOMO being a real thing 🙁 .. a challenge I hope to meet. If you do go this route too I wish you luck! Maybe gradually ..

  18. So sorry about the neck pains :/ for what it’s worth, I got baaad tinnitus when I used to have a particular coffee sachet, Double Decadent, sometimes 2 a day. I always suspected they might be the source of my ails, but didn’t take it seriously. Haven’t had one for months, been drinking coffee from pods, tinnitus has taken a backseat. Had a sachet today, and my tinnitus came back quite strongly. I need to experiment more, but whatever’s in that premixed coffee with sugar and milk etc I’m not having anymore, lol.

    • Great that you came to that realisation Mike and seeing the connection. I don’t know if I can give up my sachets of sweetened cappuccino – but maybe I can. Mmmmm … will save a few bucks though if I gave it up.

  19. Good Heavens, Susan, I didn’t realize how much time you spend online. You DEFINITELY deserve a break! Heck, just being on Facebook drives me nuts, so I’m backing off there too. Do something SPECIAL for YOU!!!!

    • Good on you for backing off FB Gwynn, it can be a time suck! Although there is much that is interesting and a way of being connected with the world. I’m going to have to schedule time on it. At least it’s off my phone and only on my computer and Ipad. Thank you for coming by 🙂

  20. I admire and understand completely your needing to take a break from social media, Susan.

    Did you see me smile when I read, “There is something rather greedy about my attitude towards food.” I tell my husband if I don’t buy potato chips, I won’t eat potato chips.

    Congrats on picking up your writing again…a novel about Lilith, sounds intriguing.

    About the neck pain: I use a harness that fits around my shoulders and neck, which gives me relief sometimes. Taking a break is the best cure though. 😀

    • Thanks Marian, I’m smiling as I read your words about the potato chips 🙂 I’ll be put to the test this pm as a friend is having a farewell tea – she’s relocating to Cape Town this week. I know she’ll put on a spread. (Maybe I’ll take a bowl of clementines and apples.) Mmmm, a harness is an idea, I’ll look into it.

  21. Are you stopping the blog? I find the Internet fine but it needs focus. Not saving articles but eliminating the ones not in the focus category. Good you are getting closer to the bone of self and I agree that sugar is deadly for everything. Good luck on continuing to listen to the real you.
    Sad about Julian David as I know he was a special person and to you as well…

    • Thanks Susan. Things are on pause as i wend my way – funny that I see as I write it – pause and motion. Also thank you for affirming my listening to to the real me, whoever that may be. Yes, very sad about Julian. SAAJA is having a Zoom meeting on October 2. to honour him.

  22. Enjoy enjoy enjoy indeed and fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee
    …looking forward to your next book! I have just turned 63 and writing my final history of art exam on the 27 of Sept. After 9 years at Unisa finishing off with honeurs in visual art, l will also take a break from studying and try to give my easel a workout!
    All the best. God bless.

    • Happy Birthday for your recent birthday Diana! a strong number is 63, all the 3’s and the combinations of 3 therein. Good luck for your final exam and here’s to a well deserved break afterwards. Thank you so much for coming by – bright blooming blessings to you and God bless you too.

  23. Susan, I honour you call to tend your book about Lilith. I remember those writings, and they are powerful, deep and SO needed in these times. Whatever it takes to carve out space for the numinous that is pressing to be born through us, whether it is crackers or blogs, word-games or netflix, the soul waits patiently for only so long… then the energy shifts and the moment is lost. So I’m thankful you said it, out loud, to this audience, your intention to tend this work. I’m simply responding with my enthusiasm to know what she wants to say in and through you! With love, Andrea

    • Thank you Andrea, that is very encouraging. You’re right, the soul work in tending to Lilith has been on the back bench for too long. I’m glad I heeded the call and overcame the resistance. Your words have helped me deepen my resolve. I hope your book launch for The Book of Snake went wonderfully well – may you be able to provide a link in due course? Love, Susan

Leave a Reply