For the past couple months I have fallen into my old college mode of sleeping in until I had a reason to get up. This bad habit was reinforced by overall current life status of transition. I found myself in this place, mentally, of waiting and my physical state followed suit. Sometimes it’s easy to let the unknown become crippling, paralyzing even. That’s where I was. I let the unknowns of my near future overwhelm me and render me useless. It’s a place I’ve been many times.
Last week, I took the week off (as best I could) to focus on writing and be intentional in my practice. Part of me was hoping for the first twenty chapters of my book to hit me and flow out like some beautiful love letter. A greater part of me knew the reality of my writing is more like vomit than love letters. Also, I don’t do very well with plans and schedules. When it comes to my creativity, I prefer for my practice to be organic. I don’t like approaching a canvas with a picture in mind because that usually ends in disappointment. On the same coin, my life is in a current state of unpredictability and no routine. Something inside me was starving for consistency. So, I set a loose routine for the week.
It looked something like this:
8:30 am – Wake up
9:00 am – Coffee, Breakfast
10:00 am – Worship at Little Church
11:00 am – Write
1:00 pm – Lunch
2:00 pm – Coffee, Write
4:00 pm – Allison home
It didn’t look like that every day. I allowed myself the freedom to stay home and write or go to a park. One day, Allison didn’t have work so we went to the flea market and that was an all day affair. I don’t know if I even wrote anything that day. The point was not to be strict and force myself into something. The point was to create the space to practice my passion. I love writing, it comes second-nature, but it tends to happen mostly in my head. I experience the world through writing. The problem is that I allow the chaos of my unstructured life to strip me of the opportunities to write my experience of the world down. This week, I broke out of that rut.
Slowing down enough to breathe and using my time well, gives me the chance to hold onto the things that are known. When the unknown becomes overwhelming I tend to choose to loose myself in something, whether it’s sleep, other people, some project, I get wrapped up in it and ignore the unknowns. I push them out and away. That doesn’t fix anything. Sitting down, taking a deep breath, and allowing the truth to enter in, does. Instead of letting the quiet be deafening, we have to push through to hear the whisper. That voice in the core of our being that tells us what we are made for, what stretches beyond time and space. At the end of the day, I may not know what the future holds and what my new daily routine will look like, but I do know that my constant is writing. I will always be writing and I can’t forget that. It is a gift that I have to nurture and steward well. Being productive and getting the thoughts out of my brain is life-giving for me.
Also, getting into a routine of going to bed earlier and waking up earlier, provides the structure for the practice to continue. I don’t usually have anywhere to go until 10 am at the earliest, so if I continue waking up at 8 or 8:30, that still gives me a solid hour to get some writing in. Not to mention, it actually feels better to wake up at a decent hour with the rest of the world.
What are your gifts? How are you creating space for them to grow? Are you a writer? What tips do you have for me?