Friends, I want to tell you the truth about what my life was like a few years ago. I was overwhelmed and overburdened, addicted to sugar and caffeine. Whenever I’m tempted to sugar-coat (pun intended) the exhaustion of that lifestyle, I remember this: I came down with shingles at the ripe old age of 23.
This morning, I find myself wanting to stop rushing and do just this: to sit on the sofa and stare out the window. Sacred dawdling, as Sue Monk Kidd calls it. When I first read those words, I thought, Dawdling as sacred? Really?
But it is sacred, because it is an act of faith. To stop my work, be unproductive, and simply look out into the new day … this requires trust.
When I do this, I feel as though I am coming close to a subversive act.
To sit around? On a Thursday morning at 10am, when I should be working? On a Thursday morning at 10am, when in another lifetime (and by that I mean two years ago), I would have been sitting down to a long series of meetings at my former workplace?
When it comes to what happened the other day, I have choices. I can forget it, beat myself up for having superwoman syndrome, or learn from it. Usually I elect a combination of forgetfulness and self-flagellation, but now, I’m going to go with learning.
Here’s what happened: I spent a day in a haze of stress, flitting from one administrative task to another. I didn’t prioritize creative writing. By the end I was sprawled on the couch, back aching from hours of sitting, eyes strained from staring at the computer.
What I found especially frustrating was that I know better. When I feel a day spiraling out of control, I know to take pause and ask: What needs to happen? What would bring joy into the picture? But I didn’t.
We don’t quit doing harmful things until we’re ready. We don’t start doing kind things until we understand, on a bone-deep level, that we are worthy of love and tender care.