It’s 3:35pm on Tuesday. I have been wound up all day. Actually, I was amped up last night, too. Laying in bed, asking Ryan, “why am I so tense?” He told me I would feel better if I got some exercise, to which I twisted my face and shot him that glare, silently demanding an answer to that really dumb question of, “Why? Do you think I’m fat?” But, he’s right, I do feel better when I’m on a regular excise routine. But, of course, I hate being told what to do.
So, here we are, the next day, 3:35pm on the couch, taking advantage of the still unnatural freedom of self-employment. I’m tired and feeling drained from a day filled with nervous energy. I have resolved to force myself into a moment of peace. Calvin’s sleeping. Blaise is in the backyard playing with his water table. Ryan and I juggled a morning of children, meals, e-mail follow ups, blog posts, dishes, real estate strategy, sponsored recipe proposals and a litany of details. But, at the current moment, we have no pressing matters that require our attention.
I turn to Ryan and ask, “Why can’t I sit still?” He’s resting on the couch, eyes half closed and says, “Just listen to the air conditioner.”
I say, “If I’m sitting still, I’m being lazy.” He says, “You’re not lazy. If you did this all day you’d be lazy.”
Internal monologue, “But it’s 3 in the afternoon. Lazy people quit for the day at 3pm. Hustlers never stop.”
I say, “If I’m sitting still, I’m not doing anything valuable, and I want to feel valuable.”
“Babe, you’re valuable. Just listen to the air conditioner.”
Because I learned the lesson once doesn’t mean I don’t quickly forget. Sitting still is hard. Every day is an exercise in discipline. Every day I have to wake up and remind myself of three important things, keys to my recovery.
1. My worth is not related to my productivity. I can be the most productive human being in the world, operating on a schedule of maximum efficiency and still feel empty. True joy and inner peace aren’t earned, they’re inherent gifts from God.
2. Sitting still is a mandatory activity, especially if I’m going to call myself an artist. The creativity to write these blog posts and dream up new recipes cannot be forced or conjured. It comes on its own time, and more specifically, when my brain is at peace and free to wander.
3. Life is today, in this moment. Frenetically spinning my wheels, attempting to create safety in the future through accomplishment will be the death of me. Busy moments come and I’ll be busy, but when quiet moments come, I need to be quiet.
We sat and we listened to the air conditioner.
Then, I wrote this blog post, free of writer’s block.