124 // Heavy

The days never look as good while you are working your way through them as they do in retrospect. Yesterday, for example, felt slow, drab, and unproductive throughout but looking back over my goals and to-dos from this tomorrow I can see quite a lot actually got done and I’m proud.

My hope is that today will be the same. The sun is out at least, and that is a vast improvement already. It good to have gotten through Monday, and so far I’m plodding along pretty steadily from task to task. My workload is a little heavier but if I use my time mindfully this shouldn’t be a problem.

I’m struggling to want to write, but having the hour scheduled for later helps. I can focus on taking notes, freewriting, and thinking which has always been my favorite part of writing. That and the “having written“.

I thought I’d tackle a book review next. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve shared my thoughts on any recent reads. The books I tend to enjoy are so heavy though, it makes it hard to be light-hearted or short-winded. It makes it hard not to give the whole book away.

I think more light-hearted writing is in order though, to balance so much of my heavy feeling. I’ve always tended to take life and myself far too seriously and that makes for hard writing and I worry it makes for hard reading too.

123 // Use These Swinging Moods

I woke this morning to yet another cold and dreary day. I don’t mind rain so much, usually, but we’ve had quite a lot of it and none of it’s been quite the right kind. It’s been the all day gray and depressing stuff, not the swift and severe kind that roll in through the summer afternoons that I love so much.

It’s hard to focus today, though I have very little around to serve as any distraction. The mind always finds a way, it seems. I’m far too fatigued and unfriendly feeling to get anything done for myself or for anyone else.

I don’t expect the clouds or the chill to lift until tomorrow, neither do I hope for my mood to improve until the sun peeks out again. I’m learning to use these swinging moods of mine to my advantage. A drab day doesn’t have to mean being listless or low, it can mean being pensive and purposeful. It can mean time to pull inside myself and pull at what’s been building or bothering.

When the blue sky returns I will emerge again, to focus on interaction, inspiration, and input, but today is for introspection, silence, and solitude and there isn’t a thing at all wrong with that.

Goals // Week 18: Simply Flowing

This week marks the beginning of a new month and what I hope will finally be the end of wintery cold and clouds. I’m looking forward to the sun, Spring finally springing, and to the world opening up, to life returning everywhere.

It isn’t a particularly busy time at work right now. Instead, it’s a time of preparing. The school year will end in just a few short weeks and though the vast majority of the kids will be enjoying their summer break, there is still work to be done as we ready for the next year to begin. There is summer school, trainings, conferences, renovations and purchases to make, and a plethora of policy changes to implement.

This week I’m dividing my time. I’m preparing at work and I’m pulling away for my own passions too. I have returned to writing and I don’t want to lose my motivation or momentum by either looking away or looking too closely. This week I’m simply flowing.

This week I will:

Continue meditating. I let the practice go some months ago, and the failure hit me so hard I haven’t been able to return until last week. It hasn’t been easy to get return to either. I’m fidgety and mind wanders far too easily, but I’m learning not to resist them but to let them come and then let them go. A much-needed lesson in these trying times.

Set aside one hour a day of writing. Ideally, this will be the first hour I am home directly after work. No one is expecting anything from me during that time, and I am generally alone. I will sometimes use that hour for a quick nap or to take care of neglected house chores, but that is only a way of procrastinating that I think will result in less guilt. It doesn’t.

Use all other free time for doing the “fun” parts of blogging. Reading, commenting, image searching, idea generation, and design are all things I tend to do instead of actually tying words onto the screen. The point of the scheduled hour is two-fold, to remember when to write and to be able to give myself permission not to write.

Read for 30 minutes every day. The next TBR to tackle is Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail by Frances Fox Piven. It’s a great book and the difficulty I face trying to finish it is through no fault of the author. I simply struggle to concentrate while reading from a screen, but like all things I expect I only need more practice. This week’s lunch hours are allocated for the work.

Finish one blog post this week. I have many drafts started and plenty of notes and free writing done, but nothing edited and nothing ended, which is always the hardest part for me. This week I’m going to stick to my writing schedule and tackle the drafts one by one. Hopefully next week I can hope for two blog posts! Bonus: Wrap up one newsletter draft as well.

This week I will not put too much pressure on myself. Things have been enjoyable lately and I don’t want to lose that feeling. I want to write, and read, and learn, and connect, but I don’t want it to be work and I don’t want it to be hard. I want these goals to be a source of joy and peace, not a reason to have to negotiate or berate myself.

What doesn’t feel good or right will go, and what works will go on working for me as long as it will. Change is not only welcome, it is sought, and I’ve decided too that it shouldn’t hurt. It just shouldn’t be this hard. The rest of life already is. What you give and ask of yourself should be the balance.


Photo by Tom Robertson on Unsplash

122 // Usual Sunday Blues

The morning started out sunny, but around lunchtime the skies grew dark and our phone began warning us of severe storms on the way. Some of my outdoor projects will have to be put off. Tomorrow is looking dreary too, so it may be midweek before progress is made.

It’s nearing evening now, and I’m frustrated by how easily the body gives out. Coffee and some natural drive got me through the morning, but my energy levels quickly fizzled out from there. I’m considering some afternoon tea and a boost of B12 to carry me through the until bedtime.

Not that there is much left to do now, or much time left to do it in even if I wanted. The groceries are bought, the laundry is folded, the dishes washed and put away. There will be some time for writing, for planning the work week, and for crucial self-care needs, but the to-do list never really ends and there is always more you wish you could do and more weekend you wish you had to do it in.

I make the best use of what I have, but there is always something left unchecked, something I didn’t get to, something that has to be put off. Two days has never been enough for the errands, the cleaning, the visits with family, the projects, the rest, and all the fun you’re in desperate need of before you must give up more precious hours of your life for bills and necessities you only end up resenting.

And like clockwork, I slip into the usual Sunday blues.

121 // Any Small Peace

I woke up this morning believing it was Friday rather than Saturday and though nothing at all indicated that it was a workday—no alarms had rung and my wife was still in bed—I dragged myself from the warmth into the cold darkness of my house to begin getting ready.

I shortly realized that I’d made a sad mistake and promptly returned to my cozy comforter, but what struck me afterward wasn’t the mistake and the disruption to my rest, but that I’d a habit was forming again. I was able to do what needed to be done, the hard thing, in response to a circumstance without complaint or the need for negotiation with the self.

All this is to say, it’s getting easier to rise and enjoy my mornings again. This is a sure sign of healing and a welcome return to a part of myself I can recognize and cling to in these hard times. It’s a small thing for most, but for me, any small peace whether found in time, space, or the heart, is crucial.