Waking up at 4:00 a.m. this morning (18 July 2017) and then sitting down at my desk to write, I relish that moment of quietude. It’s that one time of day — as most people in the city are still asleep and the busyness of the morning commute has yet to commandeer the streets — when I can actually hear myself think. It instils a calm, allows me to feel hopeful about the day ahead. I try not to think too hard about the ambitious agenda I’ve set out for myself. Otherwise, I’ll end up feeling overwhelmed, which will send me spinning, and my plans for the day will quickly be derailed. I don’t want that to happen.
Why? Because it’s difficult to escape today’s “go-go-go” mindset. It’s easy to believe that to succeed I need to act like the Energizer Bunny, and that I must keep going and going and going. Guess what? Between the demands of my day job and the ruthless pursuit of my writing dream, I’ve discovered (and it’s a real shocker) that I’m not the Energizer Bunny. I’m human, and my body needs to rest. And if I don’t let myself recharge, my body will tell me to slow down by way of a cold or some other ailment.
Each day I try, as Corita Kent advised, to “Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries.”
This won’t surprise you. I am forever learning the art of work and play. Life is rich with all its beauty and with so many things to discover. Writing is very important to me, to my life, and each day I write I am inching closer to realizing my dreams. But life isn’t, and shouldn’t be, all about writing. When I open myself up to other experiences, when I let myself do other activities, I am gathering material for my creative stores. Like this morning, running along the lakeshore at sunrise. Or flipping through Child, Bertholle and Beck’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for something creative to make for dinner tonight. Continuing my journey through Tom Clancy’s novels. Small, simple pleasures.
So there are days when I simply need to rest, when I need to let myself do nothing. Here’s the problem: It’s hard to let myself rest (like today) when I find myself often looking to the future and where I hope to be. But if I try to keep working when I’m exhausted (or more aptly, burnt out), the work, or more precisely my writing, won’t hold up later on. It’ll be tired, stiff, lifeless. Then I end up procrastinating and fretting over my inability to work. The funny thing is this: When I take time to rest, to let my body and mind recharge, I’m able to come back and tackle my artistic projects with vigour, see their worth (or lack thereof) from a new perspective. Once again, there is a natural ebb and flow. It is still, for me, a question of balance.
Louisa May Alcott puts it this way: “Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and you prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”
Do you have regular hours for work and play? How do you recharge your body and mind? Let me know in the comments section below.
This blog post is inspired by the Word Press Daily Prompt: Savor.