For the past few days, I’ve been waking up thinking, ‘maybe I’ll write today’, but then I haven’t been able to. That’s partly because I have been resting after Christmas (BOO), (Christmas always seems to result in M.E. ‘payback’ worsening of symptoms, even when I’ve been super-careful), and partly because I’ve been catching up with friends in person or via Skype after Christmas (YAY). What with all the talking and resting there hasn’t been a lot of room for writing.

So this isn’t a real blog post, just a message to say hello, and I’m still here, and watching spiders hover in mid-air as they make their webs on the other side of the window, listening to bird song, exploring Spotify, and admiring the new painting I got given for Christmas. I have words coming, they’re trickling through, and I’ve begun to re-look at my work-in-progress (my book on my experience of M.E.) and I have four A3 sheets of paper full of sticky notes to prove it.

I’ve been fretting about my blog growing saggy and sloppy because I haven’t been able to blog as consistently as I’d like. (I know, I know – that’s crazy-talk, right? Right??) I know in my head it’s okay to take a break, but it’s still hard. It can be hard to heed that call when the rest of the world is doing All The Things, and I want to join in and do All The Things as well.

Writers like to use grand images to talk about our work, “I’m not sitting hunched over a screen generating more words, I’m creating worlds! I’m crafting a masterpiece from dust! I’m in a war, battling the greatest of enemies: myself! I’m slaying the dragons of silence!” because, let’s face it, writing doesn’t sound as glamorous or important as, say, open heart surgery.

I find it hard to know when it’s ‘resting’ and when it’s ‘resistance’.

I find it hard to know when to know if I’m feeling lethargic because the demons are whispering that I have nothing to share with the world, or if I’m feeling lethargic because my body is whispering that it needs longer to recover. In the past, I would push myself to Do, I would swing a sword round whether I knew there were demons or not, but after seventeen years of chronic illness, I am finally getting better at erring on the side of caution.

Right now, I am aware that it may be even be a bit of both, resistance and resting-requirement together. I am compromising. Today I have fifteen minutes, so this will be fifteen minutes’ worth. It’s nothing particularly earth-shattering to share with the world. (But I’m writing it anyway). And then I will return to Spotify and slow breathing.


I have been pretty good at resting well, these past few days. Sometimes I feel like I’m idling, floating directionless, and it frustrates me. But a friend recently said the word ‘cocooning’ to me, and I’m holding onto that word. A cocoon looks lifeless and dry, but it is the storehouse of new life.

When Mary was visited by angels, she stored up all those things and treasured them up in her heart. She cocooned, and wrapped up all those promises around her like a brown paper blanket, ready to burst open at the right time. I think I’ll try that too. I am cocooning.

Over to you:

  • How do you decide when it’s ‘rest-requirement’ and when it’s ‘resistance’?
  • What do you think about the idea of cocooning?

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34 Responses to Cocooning

  1. Cathy 23rd January, 2014 at 2:17 am #

    I think the idea of cocooning is on target–and I second Mark above. He said essentially what I was thinking, and very articulately, very beautifully himself. I don’t know to answer the rest vs resistance question, except that I look at the fruit in my life. Am I more at peace and relaxed, or am I procrastinating? MANY times, what looks like “too little” to do is actually more than enough. Like your post…

    • Mark Allman 23rd January, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

      Thank you for those kind words.

    • Tanya 6th February, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

      Many times what looks like ‘too little’ is actually more than enough – so true!

      (And then I read your next words and laughed! And felt a little embarrassed. But I’ll take the compliment, thank you!)

  2. Rebecka 22nd January, 2014 at 11:08 pm #

    Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to answer your first question, haha! Most of the time I push myself to do more than my body is capable of though. I am not very good at resting well. In fact, my goal for this year is to learn how to rest, both physically and in God. The forced resting usually feels like imprisonment, but I’m going to try to think of it as cocooning instead. That might make it easier. 🙂

    • Tanya 6th February, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

      ‘My goal for this year is to learn how to rest’ – mine too!!!
      Let’s encourage one another on this journey. 🙂

  3. Mark Allman 22nd January, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

    I assure you that anything you write is a real post. You always leave nuggets of gold in them. 🙂 If you only do 15 minutes a day that’s almost 2 hours a week and 8 or 9 a month and accomplish alot you can in those minutes. One stone atop another. You may not think we notice but we all do and we all appreciate each stone you lay for us to see. I would guess the dragon we all need to slay as our worst enemy is ourselves and almost daily. I know what comes out of cocoons Tanya and it is beauty. We don’t mind waiting on it. 🙂

    • Janice 23rd January, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

      Well said, Mark!

      • Mark Allman 23rd January, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

        Thank you!

    • Tanya 6th February, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

      You’re fully lovely, Mark! Thank you for these wonderfully affirming words. One stone atop another. Exactly. I’ll try and remember that 🙂

  4. sandra hughes 22nd January, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    Thank you once again Tanya….I love the word “cocooning”, and think it’s very positive. I don’t know what is resting, and what is resistance. Having been a “boom and bust” person for as long as I can remember, I’m trying to train myself to listen to my body and rest, and not worry about it. Finally, I really don’t have any responsibilities but myself, and find God has given me 18 months so far since being made redundant at 60, to rest as much as I need. Not that I have found it easy, but I am learning to see it as a Blessing from God, and sometimes, literally just lie in bed, and once I remember not to frantically rattle away to God about anything and everything (in my head) being still, and listening. God has been trying to teach me to be still for years….so…attempting to make the most of this, and not to feel guilty.

    I was in bed from Boxing day for a week, but although my mood and feelings dipped, I recognised it as an essential time for taking stock of the past, and my life, and then emerged far more positive, with some new dreams for the future. Definitely “cocooning”.

    God Bless, Sandra

    • Tanya 6th February, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

      Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on this – it’s so helpful to hear how others are working through these things. X

  5. Liz Eph 22nd January, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    i think cocooning is a brilliant idea. tho i realise that the caterpillar that went into the cocoon becomes a gooey mess before it can become a butterfly 🙂 xx

    • Tanya 6th February, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

      Ha! I always love your take on things, Liz! With love from a gooey mess x

  6. Deborah 22nd January, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    Ah yes, the never-ending, daily, sometimes minutly wrestle of ‘am I being lazy/ putting this thing off or do I need to rest?’ An aspect of life this illness intensifies, as it does with many things. Measured by the ‘I would just love to…’ Or the ‘Argh I had planned that and now I can’t do it!’

    It feels often as though life is a forest stripped off leaves, and the only way through is to push aside bare branches which you know will scratch you, tearing gnashes through flesh, exposing your warm blood to dirt and thus disease, and yet more pain.

    Still, at points I heard a bird crow or the sun breaks through and a beam temporarily overcomes my vision and I look skywards and remember there is life outside the wood. There is a God who is bigger than this current circumstance. Then I glimpse orange and white, in those brief minutes I remember I am not alone, others suffer with this too. So I find the hollow of a tree and take a seat. Nestled up against the firm trunk, chin tucked on top of my knees, arms wrapped around my legs I rest. This is my cucoon.

    It may not be ideal but it as it is. I am frustrated as I would like to be able to press on. Yet I remember I can not and sometimes we are called to wrestle with ourselves, or God, before we can explore what we have discovered from our wrestling. Jacob wrestled with God and learnt. A butterfly wrestles, stretches, grows and forms in their cucoon. Without it their wings would not form in the perfect way to enable flight.

    Still it is encouraging to share these wrestles with those around us and learn others are wrestling too. Thank you!

    • Tanya 6th February, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

      Thank you, Deborah – what a beautiful meditation this is.

  7. Janice 22nd January, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Tanya, it’s so nice to hear your voice – um, in a digital, silent sort of way- and hearing that at least your considering whether the rest is really needed or it’s just resistance. That seems like a sign of some sort of returning strength, or else you’d know for sure it was just rest, right?

    There ya go! Feelings of conflict and self-doubt as signposts of health and restoration! This is one of those moments when I really feel like things just don’t feel like they should. A gleam of returning strength – say enough to write a lovely, chatty, friendly 15 minute post to your friends who have been thinking of you and wishing you well – should feel delightful instead of leading to fretting and motive-inspection. But I would be feeling exactly as you do. Exactly.

    So thank you for updating us on yourself and your mind and I will pray today that all things such as light and strength and restoration really look like the glorious things they are for you. That little bursts of goodness will light up your whole day.

    Happy coccooning!

    • Tanya 6th February, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

      “There ya go! Feelings of conflict and self-doubt as signposts of health and restoration!” – BOOM! Lady, you are really wise! I think you’re right, in a strange kinda way. It’s only when you’re feeling a little better that you can write about not feeling great!

      Thanks for praying for those little bursts of goodness. Praying that for you, too.

  8. James 22nd January, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Tanya, as so often, you put things so brilliantly! I also find that every year christmas ‘gets me’. Every year i try and take it carefully (and stop work in December so I just run my big christmas site – was biggest year ever 6.8 million pageloads in December!!!); but every year it gets me!

    I call it ‘New Year Knackerment’! Last week was actually pretty good, but this week has been so far very much ‘ugh’. On Monday my brain and body decided that they just couldn’t frankly be bothered!

    I’ve managed to get some things done, so that’s encouraging (albeit done slowly).

    So some cocooning has come my way as well. Playing (or randomly plucking!) my new shiny mandolin has been a nice escape 🙂

    Knowing your love of bluegrass and Bach, you might like: Some amazing Bach played on the Mandolin by one of the greatest bluegrass mando players, Chris Thile. To see Chris is full bluegrass mode, check out: if that doesn’t put a massive grin on your face, there’s something very wrong with you!!! 🙂

    • Tanya 6th February, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

      Thank you so much for this lovely encouraging note. I’m sorry that you also suffer from ‘New Year Knackerment’ (nice title for it!) and hope that you pick up from the cocooning.

      Congrats on your Christmas site! That’s some serious traffic!

      And wowsers – those dudes on youtube have got SKILLS. Nice waistcoat, too. Bach and Bluegrass – sounds crazy, but it might just work!

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