It’s hard for me to slow down. My idea of relaxing is to clean out a closet.
A few weeks ago, though, I force myself to sit in the living room to take notes. Not to journal, because I don’t have time for that on this particular day, but to do something more akin to “morning pages,” the stream-of-consciousness writing that author Julia Cameron touts in The Artist’s Way. If I do that, maybe I’ll be left with thoughts that can at some point be turned into an essay.
With notebook in hand, I begin: “I haven’t written my words so slowly in a while.” I get right to a subject that has been weighing on my mind, but don’t make it a full page before my 8-year-old daughter asks if I’ll take a break to do yoga together. As much as I want to write, I want to be available to her more, and within minutes I’m moving through a short flow that stretches my tight upper back. The slow sequence feels heavenly, but it’s during savasana that the true blessing occurs. Annalie slips a pillow under my head and covers me with a heavy blanket she dragged down the stairs. She selects a few instruments from her music box and serenades me with a throaty, tribal song that fully clears my head. She stops to gently place her stuffed dog, Lady (from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp), on my chest.
“Empty your mind,” she says, followed by instructions to watch the animal rise and fall with my breath.
I smell the essential oil I keep on the fireplace mantel. Kneeling behind my head, Annalie dabs what smells like half the bottle underneath my nose. I inhale as slowly as I can to keep from choking. This is one way to slow down, I think, laughing to myself.
When the session is over, I don’t want it to be. We snack on Honey Crisp apples and I return to my notebook, where in short bursts I document what just happened before having to fix dinner:
“heavy blanket from upstairs (dragged)
inhale and SO strong…
It doesn’t take long for an outline.”
That last line is encouraging. I did what I set out to do – chronicle enough main points to flesh out at a later date – with even less time than I thought I had to do it. (The subject matter changed, of course, but I couldn’t be happier about that.)
I’m always curious how other people manage to squeeze in time for artistic pursuits, writing or otherwise. What shortcuts do you take?