stay still

Every year, we anticipate the end of our B&B season in November.  We plan, think of all the things we want to do when we aren't making breakfast, cleaning, touring guests, cooking meals, cleaning, ironing, gardening, preserving, watering, cleaning, trimming bushes,  giving courses. Did I mention cleaning?

We wait to be able to put away the lawn furniture, close the pool,  do the final raking, stack the firewood, and prepare for the cozy, cold Advent season ahead.  And this year, I was ready, so ready, to seriously start writing again, creating art again, exercising and eating, you know, beautifully cooked home made meals.

And every year something happens to blow this plan completely out of the water to the point that I find myself, fists pummeling the air like the air actually did something bad to me,  wondering why I have to get sick right when the guests leave, why it has to rain sixteen straight days, and why can't I just be stronger, be braver, be more organized and disciplined and all of those things to which I aspire and why can't I...

Sniff.

The answer comes, of course, when I stop pummeling the poor innocent air that never did anything to me except allow me to keep living.

It's because you did too much. Again.  You forgot to take care of yourself.  Again.  You exhausted yourself and you ate too much salami and cheese and drank altogether too much wine. You feel fat and out of shape. And you forgot that you cannot work fifty days in a row and expect that when the last guests leave you will turn into a creative force in a matter of hours when the only force you currently have at your disposal is the one that forces you to crawl onto the sofa and cry like a squawking chicken.

You know, sometimes you just have to stop.  Stay still. Stop the noise and the pressure and the thought that every moment not spent working and creating and writing is wasted.  Because sometimes just staying still is the most important thing you can do ever.

Because it's when you stay still that the noise goes away. It's when you stop that you actually hear something other than the sound of your own inner voice nagging you. It's when you stop that you can actually close your eyes and really rest.

A big part of who I am is way too tied up with doing.  It's a knot I have been working on for years.  I know that in order to move forward I need to stand still.   Somehow I have been wired to think, "Stay busy, girlfriend, and you'll have better control of the outcome." Really?  Really?  Let's see, how's that one worked out so far (I ask as I scrape myself off the sofa to go find a more comfortable pillow)?

Stay busy really means don't face the fear. Just keep moving.

Stay still means look within.  Acknowledge the fear and dismiss it.

I've done the first one.  I think the second one is looking like a much more viable option, friends.

(photo:  www.richardpowers.co.uk)