When You Hit the Wall

Valerie Anne Burns
5 min readMar 23, 2024


It happens to the best of us. You hit the wall and everything in the mind and body tells you that you yearn for rest and relaxation. I’ve been feeling it for a few months and haven’t had any kind of break for a year 1/2. I’ve been working so hard and too often feel as though I’m spinning my wheels. I’m also in a perpetual place of spinning plates to keep me and life going with a roof over my head and bills paid. Writers write and then there’s the business of being a writer and author. I love it but it is draining and I’m personally exhausted. I find myself daydreaming quite a bit. All I can think about is being in the tropics with no schedule other than swimming, snorkeling, sailing, sleeping with the trade winds, and eating. My bliss and favorite place for true rest and rejuvenation is the tropics and immersion in warm, clear blue saltwater that heals me in body and soul. It’s not the old saying,”calgon, take me away”, it’s “aqua blue, take me away”. What is your idea of a destination for deep rest and relaxation?

The expression of ‘hitting the wall’ makes a lot of sense to me. It’s when you find yourself flattened. Ideas, creativity, and energy begins to escape you. I’m in a state of limbo not wholly knowing how to move forward — hence, a wall. There is something about an ocean with no barriers or boundaries. This would include oil rigs. (Ugh). Looking out as far as I can see changes perspective and gives me the sense of limitless freedom . It broadens the mind and spirit. I can sense myself closing in and pulling in and long to swim free.

Since I was a small child after losing my mother, the ocean on the island of Key Biscayne is where I turned for comfort and a place to wash away pain and believe in the magic of a mermaid. I especially loved diving deep below to the cooler water and chasing seahorses. I feel the same way now regardless of my age and all that has come to pass. In my early morning meditations, I’ll visualize floating in the sea. Perhaps I’ll make it to the tropics soon. In the meantime, visualization and power walks on Shoreline in Santa Barbara will suffice. I don’t swim here because the ocean in California is too damn cold for me. It’s pretty to look at and the sea air and ocean view are a nice departure and distraction from writing work. It dawned on me that I’ve been taking class from Santa Barbara City College since Jan 2020 non-stop. I’ve earned my diploma certificate in Creative Writing.

Although I reached the goal I set out for at city college, I keep going. It began with Italian class in Jan 2020 just after my ninth surgery from a long and winding road with complications from breast cancer. I carried on with a variety of writing classes and it provided me with a constructive path in my reinvention as a writer. It also kept me busy and productive during the pandemic. With all the homework, it’s difficult to get to my own writing. Four years later and at this very moment in the middle of Screenwriting III, I’ve hit the wall. Unmotivated and spent.

I recognize that I’m in a rut and the massive amount of homework and study isn’t necessarily chasing away certain things that plague me or bring me the joy I seek. It has greatly served its purpose but it’s time to change directions. I’m not sure how this will happen or just how it will materialize but acknowledgement is the first step. I need to assess the possible path for a 2nd book OR not. Life can present overwhelm and preoccupation.

My brother and too many friends are going through serious health challenges and my concern for them grows. In the last several months and in this particular birthday year, I have noticed an extra layer of fear. The reality is, I’m on my own and while I’m a survivor and work hard at being as healthy as possible, there’s no guarantee on what the future holds.

That said, I need to move with the wind and sail through as best I can. I’m clear on what I desire and see that there’s a big world out there to continue to discover. I find myself overflowing with the same hopes and dreams I had in my twenties. I just need to find my way around or through the wall. One step at a time.

The world, and this country is in crazy chaos challenging our peace and democracy. Meditating, exercise, and affirming blessings in the middle of chaos can be helpful. I have to think that light will eventually shine in the midst of all this darkness. If you’ve hit the wall, what is your practice to work beyond it? I trust you’ll find your way through to a clear and joyful path. Spring Equinox is here and it represents new beginnings and a return to balance. The full moon in Libra is March 25th. As a Libra, I’m curious to see if an interesting and/or intriguing shift occurs.

Keep on swimming through life,

Valerie Anne




Valerie Anne Burns

Author of Caution: Mermaid Crossing, Voyages of a Motherless Daughter”; Blogger; Breast Cancer Survivor; Hollywood Survivor; Workshop Leader; & Beauty Seeker.