Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


Embracing Routine

Starbucks is full this morning. A few ladies at the table next to me are composing a proposal for something important and they're excited about it. They occasionally talk quietly to each other and then say, "Yes, YES!" and then begin entering long paragraphs on their laptops. A few minutes later they sigh and take a sip of coffee, discuss a few more things and then exclaim another "yes!" and repeat their process. Three men are leaning back in their chairs, quite comfortable with each other, talking and laughing as if there is no schedule or deadline holding them back.

This is my Monday routine . . . and I'm three for three now! The first two Mondays I came with an idea of what I'd write and this morning, I drove in with NO idea of what to write. So I decided I would start anyways. It's nice here. There is a dull level of noise that somehow makes it easy to concentrate on writing. The sunshine is pouring in behind me and warming my back . . . maybe this is why my dog follows the sunshine patch through the house during the long winter months. 

So what does it mean to show up and write a blog with NO idea of what I want to say? For me it means that I am following through. Making a decision to call "writing" my job was a conscious decision I made three weeks ago. It is something that I've dabbled with here and there in various degrees of intensity over the years, but after a few significant conversations with my husband and my friend, it became very obvious that I needed to embrace this and order my life around it. 

My friend asked me "What would change in your life if you called yourself a writer?" I smiled and had a few tears as well . . . and knew exactly how to answer. I would get out of the house and write once or twice a week. I would begin writing for both of my websites (check out my other site if you want: sockart.ca). I would improve my websites, upgrade my store, try to sell more books, work more consistently on the two books that we have in process right now and would be open to speaking more as the opportunities arise. I got excited just thinking about it.

Then she asked me, "And why the tears?" (I love and hate that she asks me that!) I blubbered out some kind of answer at the moment but since then I've reflected a little more. I wanted to be one who contributed to our finances, and someone who had an official "job" and since we are entering the beginning stages of our empty nest phase, then I should probably have a significant direction that keeps me from hanging on to my mom-role too much and it should be a career that is "substantial". (These are the self-imposed rules I've given myself I guess!)

But the reality is, and this brings me great joy and a small amount of sadness at the same time, my life continues to be influenced by the chronic pain that remains in my body. I can make plans but they have to be flexible, I can feel good one day and exhausted the next. Holding down a regular job and a schedule wouldn't work because of the irregularity of my body's needs. I am privileged to have a husband who can support our family with his career and who is completely, 100% supportive of me taking whatever measures I need to take care of myself. I'm very grateful for that. Perhaps the tears are also about relief. A relief that I am free to take care of myself and contribute to our family as I am able. A relief that creativity can be a priority. And a relief that the creativity actually contributes to my health and happiness.

So embracing routine now includes writing! I had this strange and untrue thought that if I called myself a "writer" and devoted time to it and was willing to say that out loud to people when they asked what I did, all other important things would fall to the side. But it doesn't work that way. The ironic thing is that after a morning of writing, my afternoon is very productive and I seem to get laundry and dishes done far more quickly than usual. 

Could it be that doing what we love, what we naturally are drawn to and what comes out of us in every aspect of life is what can bring fluidity to the rhythm of our lives. Maybe pursuing these things feels too luxurious to be true and so we avoid making them a priority. That appears to be part of my story. I'm curious at what will happen as I include writing as part of my routine and embrace it like I mean it!!

(I just had a conversation with those two ladies beside me . . . I told them that they seemed to be working on something important and I was curious . . . and I smiled with a "wanna tell me?" look on my face. They were happy to describe the academic paper they were writing on mental illness for children. They asked me what I was working on and I told them "a weekly blog on faith and living with chronic illness". They were impressed as they've both wanted to start a blog but find it difficult to know what to write. I told them that I had NO idea what to write this morning so my opening paragraph was about them. They laughed and I read it to them! They said that my description made them feel like they were doing something important and they were encouraged. It was funny and we said "cheers" with our coffees and continued on with our own work. Surprising what can happen in these routine moments. I'm looking forward to next Monday!)

FYI: I've opened the bookstore on this website again. If you're interested in purchasing books and live locally, just write me a note and save yourself some shipping costs. I'm happy to set some aside for you and you can pick them up from my home at your convenience.