While I enjoyed my workshops and meetings, they caused my work schedule to be even more up and down than usual and the stress was starting to take its toll. I was so exhausted to the point where I almost wasn't sure I was going to get through work on Monday. I was off early that day and two glorious days off in a row followed, so I had all sorts of lists going of things I wanted to accomplish and errands I needed to run. Of course, I also had to crank out a few hours on my fiction writing project, since that's what I vowed to do in my writing workshop.
But by the time I left work on Monday, I knew none of that was going to happen. No, not even the writing. If I was going to survive this week, I needed to slow down and take time for myself.
It's interesting how clear it all came to me while I was taking those workshops. I was busy making plans and creating schedules so I could follow my dream to write a book, and life happened, as life does, forcing me to reevaluate my priorities.
Like I said in my last post, writing is a part of me, and I owe it myself to write regularly. What I've discovered for myself though is that the writing will take different forms. Sometimes I'll have the creative energy to put into fiction (and eventually I will finish writing a book!). And sometimes I'll need to write in my journal or on this blog in order to slow down, to reflect, to process what's on my mind and in my heart.
So yesterday I didn't venture far from home. I enjoyed a leisurely morning, then did some basic cleaning around the apartment, walked to the nearby church for noon mass, watched an episode of Dr. Quinn (the whole series is on Amazon Prime, fyi) while I ate lunch, did some reading and journaling, walked to the library to return a few books, and then drove up to work to pick up a few grocery items for meals for the next two days just in time to give my husband a ride home.
I still accomplished some things, but I didn't kill myself over it. I took the time to notice the clear blue sky devoid of any clouds, to feel the heat of the sun and the cool whisper of the gentle breeze, to sit on the balcony in silence and eat an apple while watching the neighborhood unfold beneath me.
And after that slow-mo day yesterday, I feel more rested. I had the clarity to sit and write here, and there's creativity flowing in my brain again, so, depending on how the day goes, I may work on my fiction later as well.
Part of me feels guilty that I didn't follow the schedule I made for myself, especially after just coming out of those workshops! But I think we need to learn to forgive ourselves when we don't accomplish everything we want to. Sometimes, especially when life throws us curve balls, we have to slow down and take care of ourselves. Otherwise, how can we ever be expected to care for others?
During these two days of slowing down, I've lived more intentionally, more mindfully, and I've reconnected with my center, which is Jesus. He's still holding me close; He never let me go. And He hasn't taken the pain away, but He's transforming it, and transforming me so that I can bear it with all the love with which He bears His.
|This book by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, changed my life. Just FYI.|