Friday, March 31, 2017

Check In

I am sixty pages from the end of the current book I'm reading (I'll write about that later). If I manage to finish it tonight or tomorrow and return it to the library, it'll be the first book I've read without the required renewal in a long while.  This feels like an accomplishment.

I have been highly unproductive for the past six to eight weeks. I have done little else, but come home from work, change into lounge wear of one sort or another and binge watch Doc Martin on Netflix. It was truly the only thing I had the energy to do. I got caught up in the quirky lives of these Cornish characters and I didn't emerge until I watched through to the most recent season. However, even vegged on a couch, I'm never far from my overthinking tendencies. This is what emerged from my weeks-long siesta:

  • Two years ago, while I worked my way through the 40/40 list, wrote a novel, and got a divorce, I learned about the ebb and flow of energy levels, productivity, and attaining set goals. I was in hyper-activity mode. And it was the right level of high productivity for the season of life. By contrast, last year I rested. I didn't write very much. I took in other forms of art to nourish my weary soul. It was a swing from one end of the pendulum to the other. I practiced these seasons of activity and rest with a lot of rules and record-keeping. Now with a quarter of this year behind me already, I'm figuring out what to do with all that stuff I learned. 
  • Last year I stepped off my yoga mat and instead moved my body through near-daily lunch time walks. Those walks initiated healing in unexpected ways. As I returned to my mat this week, I felt the physical pain of not staying limber and caught myself wishing I hadn't abandoned the daily sun salutations. I am starting very much at the beginning. But I am also appreciating my yoga practice all the more for having been away from it.  What I know about my body now that I didn't two years ago is how strong it is and how with consistent effort, it is capable of wondrous things. I know that four sun salutations a day will be good for my head, heart, and body, and I already feel the effects of daily practice. What's different this time is not feeling like I have to account for when I do and do not practice. How my body feels will be its own reward. I do not need a calendar on the wall marking my daily work as I did two years ago. This feels like progress. I've practiced gentle self-care for the past two years, and it's settling into my bones.
  • The above sentiments also apply to my writing practice. I needed to write for 365 days in a row to prove that a) I could; b) I had something to say; and c) to find the rhythm and desire of regular writing. I proved all of those things to myself, but I don't feel the need for rules and record-keeping as I write. I haven't been writing during the great Doc Martin Binge of 2017, and I have suffered for it. I have felt twitchy and restless. But, I am absolutely convinced that we have to have these distances from the things we love and the things that fill us to know how important they are. 
Our tanks have to run low at times to remember the importance of fueling our lives with the things that light us up and keep us going. I have been drawn to the quiet in all its forms, and it continues to do its work on me. I am so pleased when the right word finds me for the year's meditation and focus.

I've been blogging less because I'm tired of not having any material to submit to publications. I want some more rejections or some dang publication credits! While I cannot control what gets published, I can absolutely control what I write and submit.

So while I've been quiet at 300 rejections, I've been at work on building my portfolio. I repurposed two essays that remained unpublished and submitted them to the Women's National Book Association (a different kind of WNBA, ha!) annual contest and an edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul, and wrote essay number two in a series I am producing. Fingers crossed that I can find homes for those essays (paying gigs would also be AWESOME) otherwise I will post them as a collection here. It feels awesome to have a plan and to execute it. THAT, my friends, is the reward for the seemingly unproductive seasons.

I'll keep on keeping on. You do the same.

New he(art) piece from my friend paired with my grandma's trinket glasses atop my new writing desk

1 comment:

  1. My acupuncturist would be pleased with your winter hibernation. You are doing exactly what our body needs during this natural seasonal time of REST. But, get ready SPRING has sprung! I totally get YOU!