Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Routine and Change

It's good to be home. I've been away for most of the past month, and am actually leaving again tonight for a few days. I think this is how the summer will be. And though I am grateful to spend so much time at the shore, the disruption of my routine has made it hard to work over the past month. I've been working on the book, but not as hard and not as productively as I do when I'm at home, in my routine.

But this week at home has been the most productive week I've had in a very long time. When I mentioned this to a friend of mine she said that maybe I needed to shake up my routine for it to regain its power. It hadn't occurred to me that my super-productive week could be a result of the disruption of my routine, but maybe she's right. Maybe like moving 81 things in my house, physically taking myself to different places, seeing different faces, and creating new structures brought fresh energy to my old routine, reinvigorating it. I like the idea that surfing, playing tennis, hanging out with my husband, with old friends and family actually helped my work.

I certainly have renewed enthusiasm this week. Maybe routine and change are yin and yang of each other. I need routine and structure, but after a few months of the same thing, I had lost some enthusiasm for the book. Now, having moved around so much, struggled to get into a routine and get to work, the passion is back. I couldn't wait to get back to my humdrum routine, to my comfortable and inspiring office, to my house and my friends and my kitchen.

One of the best changes of the past month has been my progress in surfing. I'm actually standing on the board and staying up there! Amazing. My ability to learn how to surf after the age of 30 makes me think I can do anything. Like, I don't know, finish a novel?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Showing Up

I feel proud of myself this week for showing up for my life. To me, showing up means living in the moment, seizing opportunities as they arise, using my talents, remembering my values and priorities and making choices based on them. How to show up differs day to day and moment to moment.

This week, showing up meant capitalizing on a few precious days to work at home before we leave town for another two weeks. It meant pulling out and piecing together the thoughts my subconscious had worked out about the book while I was taking a break last week. It meant looking at the overall structure of the novel, and using my new understanding of my protagonist to make sure her behavior is consistent with her personality. It meant using my enthusiasm for editing while it lasts.

It also meant physically showing up in Ocean City to see my grandmom. It meant ignoring my internal critic screaming that I’d never finish the book (he’s such a drama queen), having pizza with my clan, riding the ferris wheel, stealing a few minutes alone with Grandmom, passing an hour sitting on the porch.

On Wednesday, showing up meant ditching my work for a few hours to surf while the surfing was good. It meant staying in the ocean, in spite of getting smacked in the face with a wall of seawater by the first wave I tried to catch. It meant paddling out again and again in spite of my bruised pride (and body) that wanted to give up. It meant staying aware and open so I could learn the lessons that came, see my growing comfort on the board, feel my growing understanding of the ocean.

The amazing thing about showing up is how much more joy I feel, and how much less worry. Concentrating on whatever I’m doing or feeling in the moment blocks out obsessing about past or future. None of us knows how many more days we have but we do know that we will never have this day, today, again. So shouldn’t we all try to show up for whatever days we have?

Thank you to everyone who read the review of my blog on Philadelphia Stories and posted comments, and the many kind emails and postings you’ve been sending me recently. Your support is a huge reason why I’m able to show up!