Around the middle of last week, I looked at the calendar and had a startling realization. Today would be my regular blog-posting day, and not only did I not have a post written, I could not see enough uncommitted time in the intervening days to get one written.
We were about to leave town for a book signing in Detroit, followed by a Michigan Nature Association dinner in East Lansing the next day, followed by a family birthday party in Northville the day after that. Then back home to Newaygo, where yoga class, a book club appearance, a medical appointment, and the library book sale setup all crowded into the next few days.
There just wasn’t time to write and set up a post.
Still, I didn’t want to break my commitment to post on HeartWood every first and third Wednesday. So I started scrambling and scheming. I could dig out a post I’d started a year or so ago but had set aside and never finished. Yeah, that’s what I would do.
I found the post and the notes and images I needed to finish it, loaded everything onto a flash drive, and figured I’d do the work on our laptop in the downtime between the weekend events.
Great plan. Until . . . the night of the first event when—thanks to adrenaline, an unfamiliar bed, and leg cramps from the super-stylish but brutal shoes I’d worn that evening—I got almost no sleep and woke up the next morning in a fog so deep there was no way I could write anything coherent. Now that I had the time, I didn’t have the brain power.
I needed to rest. I knew that. But my first impulse was to start scrambling and scheming again. I could power nap and then, if I was really efficient, still get the blog post done.
Just one problem: Tired as I was, I could not fall asleep for a nap. That’s when I remembered a recent conversation with a friend who’s trying to break the habit of cramming too much into her schedule. She told me she’s cutting back on commitments and learning to rest.
That’s when I knew that was what I needed to do, too. Just rest.
Just then, another memory came to me: a blog post I’d written last year, when I was in a similar period of overload and had the radical idea of taking a time out.
“As soon as I had that thought, the space around me opened up,” I wrote. “My breathing slowed. I felt like I could float on air.
“Such a simple solution, just stepping back and saying, ‘Whoa, there.’ Yet it's crazily easy to forget that it's an option—that when things get too hectic, maybe they don't need to be. Maybe there are things that don't have to be done, or that don't have to be done quite the way you thought they did.”
I re-read those words and thought, “Who was the wise person who wrote this? Why am I not following her advice?”
Well, now I am. I’ve given myself permission to a take time out instead of scrambling. That other post I was going to power through and finish for today? It’ll still get done, but in a week when I can give it the time and attention it deserves.
Meanwhile, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to shut off the computer and give it and my brain and body a rest.
11/20/2019 06:49:50 am
Good advice! Enjoy the peace and quiet.
11/20/2019 07:34:55 am
Somehow I'm not feeling quite as relaxed as the woman in the last picture above, but I'm working on it.
11/20/2019 07:53:42 am
If anyone has earned a rest, it's you, Nancy!!
11/21/2019 08:53:25 am
11/20/2019 08:29:43 am
I have been very concerned that you have so many commitments that your wellbeing was put on hold. After reading this, I am reassured knowing that you are allowing for downtime. Good for you!
11/21/2019 08:54:03 am
Never quite as much as I'd like, but I am squeezing some in here and there.
11/20/2019 09:53:51 am
Glad you took time to listen to your inner wise self. And thanks for passing on that wise message!
11/21/2019 08:54:51 am
11/20/2019 10:07:12 am
Heck, this is quite a post for someone who is going to take a break. I just put up a photo of luggage and say I'm traveling or taking a break. LOL
11/21/2019 08:56:01 am
Smart! I'll try that next time. Well, yoga is like a break, so that's always a priority. But all the rest, not so much.
11/20/2019 01:58:31 pm
I join your fans in saying yes! You so deserve some down time. And make sure Ray gets a pic of you peacefully floating over the water in lotus.
11/21/2019 08:56:27 am
What makes you think that's not me in the pic above?
11/21/2019 09:34:10 am
11/21/2019 02:50:28 pm
Glad to hear you're making rest a priority. Good point about Alzheimers, too.
11/22/2019 01:59:55 pm
I'm glad you took the advice of that wise woman you have within you. It's so easy to ignore her, isn't it? I did that for so long. And finally learning to listen to her.
11/26/2019 07:07:43 am
Right you are, Katie. When there's also that other woman within who's urging you to do more, do more, one tends to ignore the wiser one.
11/29/2019 02:56:07 pm
Right you are Nan to realize how powerful rest can be. I’m learning that myself! You are such a clever writer even when you are telling us you didn’t have the time to post! And did it anyway!
12/2/2019 01:15:31 pm
And you are a clever reader to catch the irony!
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Written from the heart,
from the heart of the woods
Read the introduction to HeartWood here.
Nan Sanders Pokerwinski, a former journalist, writes memoir and personal essays, makes collages and likes to play outside. She lives in West Michigan with her husband, Ray.