Have you ever thrown your “To Do” list away? Ever hidden it from yourself then decided to take a walk in the woods instead? Ever feel like tossing away your goals for a while, along with social media “shoulds,” so you can do whatever your whims present on any given day?
Okay, I admit it. I’ve been playing hooky from writing, avoiding my keyboard and my novel manuscript for several weeks. The weather’s been gorgeous here during our southern California summer and I’ve been literally craving other activities besides writing. So I said to myself, “Why not?”
Nonetheless, at the start of each week, the negative voices in my head started condemning my lax ways. But finally last week a very positive “AhHa” moment won out. I realized I’d now shifted into a new mode of being this summer. One much more devoid of “have to’s.” This new path has been a little scary, I’ll admit, and it’s created an edge in me along with some fantastic moments of elation. The edge? Well, in the back of my mind I still want to finish my second novel even though I’ve placed it temporarily on hold. Despite that though, I’ve continued to put planning and “shoulds” aside and decided each day to “see what shows up.”
Guess what? In the last six weeks I didn’t die of boredom or feel frantic about what to do next. I simply started moving toward activities I never seem to have time for, things I’ve wanted to do but really didn’t even know it.
As you can see, I resurrected an old hobby, photography, during my morning walks. It’s enhanced my exercise so much and nourishes my soul at the same time! I have no idea where this will lead, but now I have a load of wonderful images to share with others. Who knows? Maybe I’ll link them with many of my poems and. . .Voila! It might become another book!
Another deviation I’ve indulged in is reading biographies. Yes, me. Usually fiction is my perennial pastime, but now I’ve found David McCoullough’s books, JOHN ADAMS, and TRUMAN. To say I’ve become engrossed and fascinated is an understatement.
A lingering desire has always tempted me: to make jewelry. So when, out of the blue, an artist emailed me about her class, I signed up immediately. While selecting beads, colors and charms, I discovered how easy it is to employ the same strategy I use when I write, “Don’t plan very much, just trust in the creative energy within and something magical might happen.” After class I was ecstatic to share the pendant I created–what a joyful lift to my spirits! I definitely plan to go back to design others.
And finally, I listened to that nagging voice inside that kept telling me how drab and outdated our family room looked, along with the discomfort of its sagging cushions. So I set to work shopping (yes, me, who never shops) for new push-button(!) reclining features in a new couch and loveseat. Then I painted the whole room a bright white to create a high contrast color palette, enhancing the many international artifacts my husband and I have accumulated on trips in the past 15 years. I picked out the special ones and placed them around the room. Now memories reverberate whenever we gaze at them.
Yes, I’ve shifted gears and taken a new path this summer, allowing myself to turn away from social media/marketing “have to’s,” article assignments, and from my next novel too. Instead, I’ve enjoyed “going for” whatever I want to do each day and it’s made all the difference as far as inner peace and joy.
And the fun thing is: Now I’m finally writing again and enjoying it!
Have you ever shifted to a different path midstream to give yourself a break? Left some “shoulds” behind? If so, I hope you’ll share your experiences here. I’m very eager to read about them.