On Moving Away From & Towards

Just as 2022 was coming to a close, I wrote: whatever is beautiful and brings you joy, pursue it! I intend to do this, myself. Hence, my word for 2023 is play. But why play? I need recreation like a fish needs water.

In rare moments of deep play, we can lay aside our sense of self, shed time’s continuum, ignore pain, and sit quietly in the absolute present, watching the world’s ordinary miracles. No mind or heart hobbles. No analyzing or explaining. No questing for logic. No promises… One is completely open to whatever drama may unfold.” Diane Ackerman

For me, playing is all about nourishing body, mind and soul. Today, I’m sharing my gentle intentions to cultivate more space and time for play.

What I’m moving away from?

  • Hustle Culture

Last year, while I was battling health challenges, worried about my loved ones’ health, processing the loss, writing and publishing a book, I was also working on a thesis project. To say I “killed the goose…” is an understatement! I’ve been revisiting my Big Why and readjusting accordingly, ever since. I’ll be leaning to the less is more approach.

  • Churning Content for the Machine

I can assure you, I’m not quitting blogging. This blog remains my most preferred way of building and nurturing genuine relationships online. However, I’m reducing the amount of content I publish here and time dedicated to blogging. So, I’ll publish posts intermittently or aiming for at least one post per month. This won’t impress search engines, that’s for sure!

  • ‘Reality Show’

For a long time, I deluded myself into thinking I was on Facebook to connect with family and friends. But these special people know where to find me, if they wish to. Finally, I’ve pulled the plug. As for Instagram, I’m proceeding with great caution.

  • One-sided Relationships

That brings me to one-sided relationships. How do you know you are in a such relationship? The list is long. But for one, you are always initiating contact. I’m quitting one-sided relationships, periodt.

What I’m moving towards?

  • Reading More Books

Isn’t that one reason we creatives blog? For art lovers to learn about our works and ultimately buy. That’s why I’m reading more books than blogs, this year. So, to members of my different communities, if you have a book out there (or upcoming) about a topic that interests me and in a genre I enjoy, it’s likely that I’ll read it.

  • Writing More Books

I’m returning to the story in my heart I’ve been trying to tell for years, without success. It’s reached a critical point; characters are causing a riot. They want to be released from the confines of my desk drawer. I know this doesn’t sound like playing, more so that fiction doesn’t come naturally to me. But believe me, I enjoy talking to my characters. 🙂 Besides, committing to this long project, among others, will help me resist shiny objects and writing for instant gratification.

  • Exploring Other Forms of Storytelling

I can write to share stories and communicate ideas. But I can also share stories using different mediums. Hence, I’m continuing to explore and develop other (visual) forms of storytelling.

Alright, I stop here. And as usual I’d like hear from you. What changes are you making to do things that bring you joy, this year? Please do tell!

PS. I took the feature image (street mural) in Knysna, South Africa. Unfortunately, I don’t know who the artist/creator of this work is.

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.

34 Comments

  1. Khaya, your sense of purpse and clarity shines through in your post – your re-dedication to your writing and exploring other forms of storytelling. I look forward to learning about both these. Oh yes, how play has become lost in today’s world, how underrated it is – the perfect word for 2023 and Diana Ackerman’s words struck a deep chord with e. ‘shed time’s continuum, ignore pain, and sit quietly in the absolute present, watching the world’s ordinary miracles.’ Wow! I love the street art and at first thought it was a painting in a gallery – it is better than many and such a light joyful touch to it! xx

  2. Thank you Annika for your vote of confidence. 🙂 It’s been a hard period for all of us, I believe we can all do with play. I’ll keep you posted about my “playing” as I go along. Remember to do what brings you joy, as well, this year! Much love…xx

  3. Sounds like a plan, Khaya. “Less is more” and giving up on those parts of life that no longer serve us are beautiful ways to create space to play. I’ve made changes this year too, some through choice, others out of necessity. I’m not as articulate as you are, but more time to be creative and play will be the result. Happy 2023.

  4. Reading and writing more are definitely in my plan too… and it started with blogging about my reading list and now I post regular reviews of the books I’ve read… As for writing, the memoir continues and another project may well be germinating… and yes the time for all this comes by reducing social media, rubbish relationships and bad streaming content!! Here’s to more books then!!

  5. I can relate to some changes being due to necessity. But I’m happy, nonetheless, to hear you’ve made some changes. I think play helps inspire our creative endeavours. Here’s to more creativity and play!xx

  6. You’ve been so good with writing and putting together collections. I admire your dedication to the craft, it’s really inspiring. Keep at it with your memoir! May the project germinating reach full bloom, and reward you with great harvest! Here’s to more books, reading and writing them. 🙂

  7. Oh girlfriend, I can relate to you changing course for the better. Play is a wonderful noun and verb to reflect on and to allow it to empower you. What is that adage, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” 🤔 No sistah, we are creating a different dynamic at this point, because play will promote greater imagination and creativity. I too am hitting my PLAY button girlfriend!!! YES!!! 👍🏼🙆🏽‍♀️👏🏼

  8. I finished reading “The Sheltering” this morning, and have more of an understanding of what you have been through. My heart goes out to you. Gently pulling back and spending more time doing things that renew and rejuvenate is a good and healthy thing. Play is one of those things. I agree that less is more, right along with going deeper than wider. Those are wise words, Khaya, and I am listening.

  9. “For a long time, I deluded myself into thinking I was on Facebook to connect with family and friends. But these special people know where to find me, if they wish to. Finally, I’ve pulled the plug. As for Instagram, I’m proceeding with great caution.”

    When I left Facebook this was the biggest reason people gave for not leaving because they wanted to connect with family and friends, and I couldn’t have disagreed more with the sentiment that if you want to connect with family and friends, there are ways to do that outside of social media.

    The truth is many of us are nosy, myself included lol

  10. Khaya, beautifully written and I felt every word. I love the word play presented in such a manner. Soulful loving your way. Kudos to you! Encouraging words, my friend.

  11. During the 2020 portion of the Pandemic, I wrote myself a permission slip. “Laura has permission to play.” So, I’m passing you a note to remind you when you doubt your decision to ‘play’:
    “Khaya has permission to play.”
    Enjoy!

  12. What a lovely, freeing, delightful intention you have set yourself for the year by choosing the word play. May all your wishes for yourself find fruition and enjoy the playing!!

  13. Kym, I’m so glad you can relate, and that hitting your PLAY button too. I’m truly hoping that play will revive the imagination and creation process. Here’s to playing, my friend! 🙂

  14. Many thanks for reading my collection, Lavinia. I’m happy you gained a better understanding of some of the challenges I dealt with in recent years. And I appreciate your words of comfort. I also hope there were some takeaways for you too, parallels or learned something new from 🙂

    And yes, after pouring my heart out, I believe it’s sensible to gently pulling back and also adopt a playful approach with my creative work is necessary. As the saying goes, “pain is part of life, but suffering is an option.” 😀 I hope you also pursue what brings you joy. Be well!

  15. Sjoe! I tell you, leaving social media is one of the difficult things! Even though, I’ve been planning to quit Facebook for years now, and as it was increasingly vexing me, I just kept making excuses. But yes, you are so correct, there are meaningful ways for one to connect with people they care about than to rely on social media. But, but being nosy and the drama that takes place there can be useful for writing inspiration. 😀

    What I find the dangerous about social media is its addictive nature. The instant gratification, especially for writers, is the worst. How can we possibly sit still and write extensive work, when we can be rewarded with likes for one-liners! And I just think the requirement (by publishers) for writers to have a “strong” social media presence needs serious examination. But for my own sanity, I’ll forego the “strong” presence. 🙂

  16. Kudos to you, Laura. Giving ourselves permission to play is important. And yes, I shall remember your comment as I proceed, “Khaya has permission to play.” Thank you, my friend. 🙂

  17. I’m glad you think so, Mariss. Even though I’m wintering (in the dormant phase) right now, I’m already excited about the prospect of play. Thank you for wishes, and I hope you’ll join the fun!

  18. You could build a snowman 😂
    Better still, cuddle up with one of those books you want to read.
    My word for the year is explore, so I will be joining in to have fun

  19. Oh yes indeed my friend…here’s to playing, imagination, and creativity! 😘🥂🥰 Now, let’s make some good things HAPPEN!!!

  20. Love this, Khaya! “…whatever is beautiful and brings you joy, pursue it!” Words to live by. Cheers to more play and soul-nourishing.

  21. These are enviable intentions. I admire your perspective. To release the things that constrain or hurt you and to reach for the things that nurture you and help you recover. I am hoping to take some similar steps.

    I have never set an intention word for the year. This year, I picked my first. Liberation. To be free of symptoms, expectations, toxic relationships.

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