Ever wonder what happened to an entire week?
I have that feeling right now, but I know where it went.
Last Monday night I had that familiar feeling in my right ear (a more-common-than-I’d-like occurrence for the past 2 years), so in the drops went. By Wednesday morning not only could I only “sleep” (read as: flit in and out of wakefulness) sitting up, the swelling was so bad it was not only visible along the side of my face, but interfered with my jaw. Major antibiotics and pain pills and several days spent holding down the couch and I’m now almost back to normal (ear is still a little muffled, but the pain and swelling are gone).
There went my week and most of my weekend.
The funny thing is, I had already decided last week was going to be an improptu blog-cation after an incident Sunday night that still had me a bit rattled come Monday morning. But in my version of events I was going to spend the weeknights tidying up my office, working on personal projects that always seem to get pushed to the bottom of the list, and Saturday catching up with an old friend.
None of that happened.
In hindsight (wonderful thing) I learned a few things from that chain of events that forced me to slow way down. And those realizations have something to do with creativity.
1. We need to trust in the good.
My meltdown Sunday night happened because not only could I not get out of my own head long enough to fall asleep, I was convinced–on some level–that things were going so well, lately, that catastrophe was due to strike any moment. Usually I operate on the pendulum theory: that, while extremes to the good or bad can happen from time to time, we spend most of our time hanging around the middle, or neutral zone. If we trust that to good comes to us in its own time, no strings attached (except for maybe all that hard work we put in, in the middle), we don’t have to be so scared about what’s around the corner, keeping us from moving forward. From creating more good stuff.
2. Having a safety net is a good thing.
While I was trying to keep my freak-out to myself, Todd woke up and stayed present with me, talked to me, and heard me out until I managed to eventually settle and fall asleep. Whether it’s someone who’ll listen to your rants, your incredible ideas, bring you ice cream or coffee, depending on the need, or run to the store when you run out of something but can’t break your momentum, having an extra pair of eyes, ears, hands, or shoulders is invaluable. Even if it’s phoning a friend, know where (and who) your net is.
3. Sometimes we need to step back from a situation and regroup.
Enter my blog-cation. I thought that if I could just scale down my to-do list for a week, I could refocus and regroup, coming back stronger the following week. Truth is, when we get so deep into what we’re doing–be it blogging or creating art or planning our next big event–we can lose sight of the little things and not see when we’re heading for a creative crash. Of course, sometimes you need more than a step, which brings us to…
4. Our bodies will force us to stop if we don’t stop soon enough.
How often have you worked or worried yourself into the sickbed? I don’t for a moment doubt that the ear infection was at least in part the result of my worries from the night before compounding the break-neck pace I’ve been moving at. While I don’t regret any of my actions over the last month, or what’s coming up over the next 2 weeks (or the holidays after that), I needed the reminder. And I’m grateful it happened on the one week where it only messed up personal plans (not professional ones).