Saturday, February 23, 2008

From the Sideline: A New Perspective on Routine

Chakra-Mandala portrait #2, detail. Oil on canvas, 12" x 12"

There's nothing like illness to help call into question one's typical daily routine and the life orientation behind it. Sometimes, thank goodness, it doesn't take much of an illness. For me, for instance, the last five days of achy misery on the couch have been highly educational.

Day one and two, Tuesday and Wednesday, I still managed to write my three Morning Pages (a la Julia Cameron), make my Daily Collages, correspond with clients, and make an effort to at least contemplate my "Projects and Actions" spreadsheet.

On Thursday, I wrote one token Morning Page, and, during a burst of good intention late in the afternoon, began a collage only to lose steam part way through. Finally, under headache-induced duress, I gave in to sleep, a Sex and the City DVD marathon, and my husband's offer to skip his yoga class in favor of making me dinner.

On Friday, between naps and DVDs, I wondered why it had been so hard to let go.

Today, I'm glad to report that I'm sitting upright again, and I finally understand: I've been working too hard. Playing too little. Spending too much time alone. When a free moment crops up, rather than calling a friend, having fun, or relaxing, I've been choosing, almost without fail, the less-difficult thrill of knocking just one more item off my perpetually growing To Do List (or, for a change of pace, adding an item or two). For some of you, the idea that work might feel easier than relaxation or reaching out for human contact might seem foreign, maybe even enviable. It does have it's rewards (I'm an excellent hire, for instance, and an exemplary student). But here's the rub:

As much as I want to feel well again, as much as I am enjoying my work these days, as much as I'm excited by most every item on my ever-growing list, I am NOT looking forward to reengaging in the grind that has become my daily brew.

How depressing is that?

It's time to balance all this "Living Art" with a little more "Arting Life."

Stay tuned...

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