Rawe-struck

The wonder-filled life of a single older-ish mom.

Archive for the tag “joy”

Back in the Sandbox

With summer officially over, I face the fact that—just like last summer—I gave my writing the silent treatment. I posted no blogs, which is doom and gloom because the publishing industry experts all say that if you want get your book published you’ve got to have a lot of followers and you don’t get followers if you don’t put stuff out there for people to find. And follow.

So I default to flogging myself with brutal mental beatings, chastising my lack of commitment and creativity. Then, sufficiently battered, I switch to allowing excuses to whine their way in—”but I’ve had a lot of clients,” blahdee blahbitty blah.

But if I’m honest with myself, I’ll fess up that I’ve felt stuck, voiceless, and when I’ve tried to write the words feel stiff. I start thinking about the followers, and can’t imagine I have anything of value to add to the din of voices out there vying for cyber attention. So I hide and don’t write, and I forget that this doesn’t need to be such serious business. I forget that my intention when I began Rawe-Struck was to be raw, and full of wonder, and that if even just one person felt a “me too!” connection with what I put out there, that would be enough.

I forget how playing with words lights me up. And I stop playing when I become self-concious about who’s watching.

I think about what I would tell Nina if she strayed from a practice she loved doing. The answer comes simply and clearly, “Just begin again.” I would advise her not to waste anymore time paralyzing herself with self-woven restraints of guilt or worry about what other people think. I would tell her to jump in and rediscover the joy of why she wanted to do that thing in the first place. Just begin again.

I would tell her that sometimes we lose sight of our path, and spend day after day poking about in the weeds. And a lot of fast-talking should-experts live in those weeds. We scurry around in circles with them for awhile, and figure we’ll get back on path someday.

I might tell her about this time right now, when I forgot about why I loved writing, and that my “someday” became a season. And that I realized that was ok. I’ll tell her I had the courage to return and this time—because I thought of how I would talk to myself if I were talking to her—I said, “Welcome back!” instead of “It’s about time, loser.”

I’ll tell her I even said to myself, “You’re right on time, sweet-cheeks. Now get back in that sandbox of words and play!”

Slowing Down

blackberryI was impatient this morning as I watered our blackberry bushes from the hose attached to the rain barrel. The water oozed out lazily, slow to relieve the cracked dirt parched from four days of ninety-degree sun.

I moved hastily from bush to bush, and my thoughts slipped easily into the mucky rut of shoulds. “I should paint the deck, clear the clutter from all the cabinets and drawers in the house, be a better example of flossing for Nina, iron the kleenex, blah blah blah.

Then I saw the first ripe blackberry — my benchmark for the first day of summer — and I felt lit up by simple, peaceful, joy.

I laid down the hose and let the rivulets seep into the soil around the bush, imagining the water caressing the tangle of roots underground. Every summer I am amazed by the resilience of these bushes and how they bear fruit despite a temperamental winter, despite my inattention. Once again, Nina and I will begin each day with cups in hand to collect the berries and we will joke about how we will surely turn purple if we eat one more plump berry.

As I picked that first berry, I realized that I’ve skidded into this summer harried with anxiety over how I’d manage the long ambling days of motherhood while trying to find more work and finally finish writing that book.

But in the moment that I tasted the berry, sweet with a tinge of tart, I wondered if the most important thing I can really do is be open to joy. Lighten up. Slow down. Savor.

I will always have a to-do list, and it will never all be done. If I accomplish only one thing today let it be the humble acknowledgement that a full rain barrel and an embankment of blackberry bushes is a luxury in this war-torn, impoverished world — and I am grateful.

Monday’s Wonder

wahoo

While creating a photo folder of the past several years on Sanibel Island, I came across this throw-back from 2009. Nina was about 18-months old . . . this is her reaction upon seeing the ocean for the first time.

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