I have the day off and Iâ€™m gleefully miring my way through an inconceivably long to-do list. I have yet to figure out how to accomplish my every day life and everything else that needs to get done.
The biggest thing Iâ€™ve accomplished: completely reorganizing and painting my studio. Last year sometime, in the middle of the winter, under a blanket of depression, I painted my studio a pale blue, which felt like a bad idea almost seconds after the last coat was applied. Without meaning to, I began to use my studio space less and less, until I would go for a week or two without ever entering it.
This affected me on a subconscious level. I felt creatively terrified. Performance anxiety corroded any attempt to splash color across the page or really sink back into a routine of writing. Without a space I felt comfortable in, I resorted to writing at the kitchen table, in the midst of the hubbub of daily life, and routinely sabotaged my own efforts even there, buy skimming through my favorite blogs, or trying to keep up with the voracious demands of my gig over at Parent Dish.
Somehow the entire month of September (and nearly all of October) was swallowed by the murky creature of un-ambition. All summer I was entrenched in the rich sensory beauty of the outdoors; of leisure; good food; good novels. Then fall arrived with the first nip in the air and the hillsides turning orange, and I didnâ€™t know what to do with myself. My syncopation was jagged and blurry; like a scarecrow trying to dance. Somehow with the shift in seasons I stopped doing all the things that I love: running, writing, art, and instead became (maybe necessarily) submerged in the fabric of work.
Headlong there, in the classroom, participating in the daily alchemy of turning eighteen individuals into a working group of learners; time spent watching spiders eat grasshoppers in the terrarium; and writing stories about magical shrinking potions. Time spent tying shoes and counting shells and navigating small sorrows. Time spent feeling nearly exhausted every afternoon; always empty, hungry, anxious.
And then I came home a few days ago to an empty house (Bean and DH were out running errands) and despite feeling hungry and grumpy, I decided to pull on my running shoes and head out in the perfect autumn sunlight for a run.
On the way back, passing a long field that follows the road for a good stretch, a small pony saw me running, and cantered up to the fence and then ran with me. I stopped and petted her tousled mane, and then continued, delighting in the unexpected equine attention. And then I realize: I was no longer either hungry or grumpy. My mood and body had been off kilter because Iâ€™ve been so out of rhythm. My soul misses running, it seems. Just as it misses moving through steady sun salutes on my yoga mat on my sunny studio floor.
So in the past few days I feel like Iâ€™ve come back into orbit around the quiet fire of my inner self. Iâ€™ve started running again, and I want to do it nearly every day. My body needs to move, just as my mind needs the quiet emptiness of one foot falling in front of the other along the gravel road.
So Iâ€™ve cleaned my studio and tackled my to-do list, and finally feel like Iâ€™m at least leaning towards a place of balance. Not quite there yet, but at least facing the right direction now.
As I write, thousands (really!) of lady bugs have migrated to our house. They are landing on the windows, twirling through the hazy autumn air in their bumbling flight. Do they hibernate? What are they doing here? Some say lady bugs are good luck. I'm content to imagine that they are.