We wake very early with the songbirds and the slow 50th parallel dawn, we sit up with sleepy eyes sip coffee from handmade mugs and watch wild adventures on the roads of France. We love watching the Tour, it's our July ritual, the aerial views of chateaux and impossible Alpine vistas, elite athletes drinking champagne beneath the Arc de Triomphe, girls in yellow dresses, breathtaking finishes, it's all very 20th Century. We'll go one year soon and rent a camper, see it in person, camp with the crazy crowds on narrow mountain roads.
It's always over so quickly, though, the whole thing, the hazy days and slow dawns, the Tour de France, the swimming tides, the roadside flowers. And life is so busy. Some days go by like I'm hurtling through a narrow chute, rushing, worrying, a cup of strong coffee at the start, a glass of cabernet at the finish, not a lot to write about at the end of the day because I didn't really look up.
I'm tired of that hurtling feeling. At this point in life it does not feel like the road stretches luxuriously before me. Days wasted in heedless sprints seem precious, and lost, not abundant and dispensable.
But I'm still ambitious, it's still my nature to fill up my plate to overflowing, to fall passionately in love with each new creative project and idea, to start five things at once because they're all so good.
So the solution is not so simple as do less or slow down. But I do feel there is a solution, and it might be within reach. Do you think it might be possible to just stop freaking out? I wrote this recently on my Facebook status:
Boy did that one resonate. You should see the comment thread. This is definitely something we all need more of. I'm not sure if there is a trick to it; I know that mindfulness training helps. It's really just about reminding myself to sink into the present moment. When we're in panic mode, our senses narrow - all those hormones are preparing us for fight or flight, and the body directs us to eliminate unnecessary sensory feedback. Hence the feeling of hurtling through a chute. I find I can interrupt the process by just taking a moment to tune in to all of my senses - which is a luxurious treat in July on the island, but can be beautiful anywhere, anytime, because the sensory world is inherently beautiful. Just look up.OK, as of today I am committing to an experiment in self-care. I have an art show opening in three weeks, a studio tour coming up in 4 weeks, a huge, important order to get out the door in three weeks, and a number of other important projects bubbling away. My typical pattern would be to go into freak-out mode right about now, and stay in freak-out mode for a month, then collapse. Enjoy the process? Forget it. It didn't happen. I'm going to try something different this time. Something like taking it easy, doing what I can each day, staying orderly but calm, taking naps, eating well, keeping up with exercise, letting things be imperfect and unfinished, asking for help, and just generally chilling out. So there you go. I'll keep you updated. Wish me luck, and feel free to offer support and help! xooxoxoooxo
I'm taking my self-challenge seriously. I'm going to meet these deadlines with a new kind of grace. I'm walking my talk about valuing process over product. I'm approaching this with a spirit of curiosity and investigation because you know what? I've never actually tried this before. Maybe I never had the tools. But I do now, and I'm going to use them. Will you join me? Let's not-freak-out together. Life is not too short. Life is incredibly long and luxurious. Let's sink into it. Let's relax.
P.S. If the idea of sinking into a luxurious island summer appeals to you, you'll want to start dreaming with me about Artful Island Retreats, extreme self-care retreats for women, launching 2013. Look here.