A 40 gallon garbage bag of trash – that’s what I cleaned out of my car recently. An old pillow that Meander didn’t want to lay on. Lots of paper to be burned in bonfires. Plastic bottles once recycled already as Meander’s chew toys.  5107784356

Out of the trunk, I pulled materials about the American Cancer Society and plastic grocery bags full of things people had returned to me over the past three months.

I purged and then P vacuumed for me.  I felt something heavy shift away from me.

For three months, my life had been so hectic that the best I could really do with my car was keep it gassed up.  (Thank goodness, P is a car guy and kept the engine actually functional.)  For three months, just seeing cat hair on my carpet made my shoulders ache as I figured out how I would vacuum.  For three months, my life was overfull – overfull with great stuff – but overfull.

Now, I wake in the morning and breathe deep. I walk through my – mostly- clean house and sit still at my desk before I begin.  I write without the need to keep my email open in order to handle mini-crises all day long.  I sing through the day because my mind is not so full of plans that I can’t fit more words or melodies in. And at night, I sit and cross-stitch a sampler for my dear friend’s little boy.

As a writer, this space isn’t necessary. I can and did write even when I was swamped, as so many of you do – with young children at home, or ailing parents to tend, or two jobs that you need to pay your bills.  I don’t NEED this space . . .

but, oh my, is it nice.

I’ve learned that I write better, more fluidly, more deeply when I give myself space around my words. I’ve learned that when my shoulders fall back against my chair and my chest is open with air instead of closed with stress, my writing expresses that.

And most importantly, I enjoy my writing more.  I don’t need lots of hours in the day to do my work, but they are glorious.

So wherever you are today – writing in the cracks of busyness or having hours each day to write – I hope you find a way to breathe deep a little, to write all you have to say, and the joy of having a clean car.

When do you write? Where is the time you use? How do you feel when have more time to breathe?

This post was prompted by two I read yesterday – at the recommendation of Katherine Willis Pershey.  One by Donald Miller, a single man without children who writes books and speaks for a living, and the other by Ellen Painter Dollar, a writer who is also the mother of three small children.  My life outlines mirrors Miller’s more, but I absolutely agree with Dollar.  Most of us – even those of us without children – do not have the luxury of several quiet hours a day, so we do what we can with what we have, and we find joy there, too.