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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Inspiration from poet Mark Nepo

Breaking Surface

Let no one keep you from your journey,
no rabbi or priest, no mother
who wants you to dig for treasures
she misplaced, no father
who won't let one life be enough,
no lover who measures their worth
by what you might give up,
no voice that tells you in the night
it can't be done.
Let nothing dissuade you
from seeing what you see
or feeling the winds that make you
want to dance alone
or go where no one
has yet to go.
You are the only explorer.
Your heart, the unreadable compass.
Your soul, the shore of a promise
too great to be ignored.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Time is a precious gift, no matter how you get it

The idea of a sabbatical has always been appealing to me--a paid leave to rest, travel, research, study. Education and religious orders understand the value, but the rest of our society is not so enlightened. Now in week 5 of my medical leave, I am grateful for the mental and technological break from a job that can easily consume.
In the weeks leading up to my leave, which granted is a result of having cancer and needing surgery not because I chose to use up all my PTO for my mental health, I prepped everyone for my need to be undisturbed by the daily stuff of work. And they have been incredibly awesome and respectful of that need. For that I am truly thankful. I'll be all the better for it when I return.

Here's what I've discovered in the intervening weeks.

1. WE have to set expectations and boundaries around our availability even in a 24/7 world.
2. Time to think is one of the most precious of gifts.
3. Nothing clears the head like a brisk walk.
4. People want to help. Let them.
5. It is possible to find time to read for pleasure.
6. The sun is a balm for many maladies.
7. Coffee in a pretty mug does tastes better than in a paper cup.
8. The smell of fresh basil in the garden makes my mouth water.
9. Flip flops > heels.
10. I wake up at 7:30 a.m. without an alarm.

So the trick for me is to remember these things when I no longer have the luxury of time. To remember what recharges my creative battery. Because perhaps the greatest realization is that I need to stay connected to my creative self. It's such an enormous part of my being, that I'm not fully myself if I don't create.

I would never go so far as to call cancer a gift, but what it has given me is perspective. So I've been playing around with ideas for essays, blog posts and, who knows, maybe even a book.

I just need to make sure--as the author Liz Gilbert says--that fear is not in the driver's seat of my creative bus.