The danger is that we will come to feel too useful, so full of purpose and the necessity of fulfilling obligations that we lose sight of God’s play with creation, and with ourselves. – Kathleen Norris in The Quotidian Mysteries
Yesterday morning, when my feet hit the floor in the farmhouse bedroom, my first thought was, I’m sleeping less than anyone else on this farm. Less than my husband, less than the chickens, less than the dogs, the cats, and the goats.
My second thought – that’s my fault.
I feel no resentment toward any of those creatures – especially not P, who is helpful, and willing and understanding. I’m not comparing to play the martyr. . . . I’m comparing so that I wake up. (Pun intended.)
See, somehow I’ve let myself fall prey to two expectations that our culture perpetuates:
- busyness=goodness=monetary success=the good life
- women have an obligation to care for others at great cost to themselves.
So I’m rebelling. I want to say I’m rebelling against culture, but really, it feels like I’m rebelling against myself . . . and maybe that’s better. To see myself challenging who I am. To fight against some part of me – whether “natural” or taught – so that I can be a better form of myself.
I’m putting this rebellion into action in a few ways. (Every time I write “rebel” I think Star Wars. Good thing?)
- I’m retraining my brain to focus on one task. As I said on Monday, I am finding myself easily distracted, inclined to switch tasks very, very quickly. Now, I’m learning to clear the desk, close the tabs, and hunker down.
- I’m spending more time outside, spending evenings active at things I love – playing with the animals, working in the garden, taking walks with P.
- I’m spending some time during each work day to just think. Maybe I’ll be gathering the stink bugs that have invaded our upstairs while I ponder, but I’m going to ponder.
- Finally, I’m developing a plan to turn my work time back to something I love – talking about writing with other writers.
This last step will come into place in the next couple of months when I launch a coaching program for writers who have book-length manuscripts that they want to finish. I’m still thinking through the details (prime fodder for stink bug time), but my hope is to offer a six-month program where I coach a group of writers through the practices, disciplines, fears, and challenges of creating a book. My hope is that we can work together to get some books written, to support one another, and to play at the same time.
My initial vision includes weekly phone calls as a group, bi-weekly individual phone calls with me, and regular discussions on Facebook? about issues of craft, publication, goal-setting, etc. Plus, I’ll set up an optional workshop opportunity for the group as well. I’ll take applications and do casual interviews so that only the most serious folks become a part of the group, and we’ll have limited spaces. So, yeah, that’s my thinking.
Just writing about that idea gets me excited – and a little scared, which of course means I should push into it. But it’s time I find a way to build this whole life I love – of words and farms and the community around those things. So stay tuned. (And if you’re interested in more details about the program, comment below, and I’ll email you right away with details.)
Meanwhile, I’m going to spend more time outside and less time working. I have this vision of taking a nap in the pasture with two puppies. Gotta make that happen.
Do you ever feel the pressure to make money in order to seem successful? Or the pressure to stay busy? Or the pressure to put aside your dreams? How do you manage those pressures?