Friday, April 22, 2011

Taking the Time to Chill Out

Last year, on my daughter's spring break, I was in the middle of deadline craziness. I worked most of the time, and didn't get to spend as much quality mom time as I would have liked, and then suddenly vacation was over and my daughter was back in school, and I was left with a feeling of emptiness.

At the time, I knew what I was missing out on, and I was bothered by it, but I was too absorbed in my deadline dementia to get my head above water long enough to breathe, let alone take the week off to chill out and just be a mom. I had a job. I had things to get done. I had to work. I had no choice.

Or did I?

Looking back, I have a sneaking suspicion that if I'd taken that week off, my book would still have been finished. It would have been the same book. I just would have made up that time in other ways, like maybe less time procrastinating… (who, me, procrastinate)?

So, this year, spring break rolled around, and I was eyeball deep in a new project. I had barely gotten traction, was still having to work hard to keep track of everything, and was still having to dig deep to figure out who these characters were. I was at the point in the book where I need to be deeply involved every day or I lose track of everything. But spring break hit last Friday, and I remembered last year, so I made a conscious decision to step back. To be a mom. To let the book sit. To take a vacation myself.

And it's been beautiful. Loads of stress have washed off me, because it's the first time in years that I've actually given myself permission not to work. My daughter and I are having the best time, and the days are bright and lovely, and my heart is at peace. And, you know what? This afternoon, my daughter was playing quietly in the den, and I was sitting on the couch hanging out with her, and I picked up my computer, and before I knew it, I'd written five pages. I didn't try. I didn't care if I did. And I was constantly talking with my daughter while I was doing it. But suddenly, I looked down and realized I written five pages. And they were good ones, too! It had been fun, it had been easy, and it had been done when I was fully engaged as a mom. How cool was that? In that moment, I had everything I wanted, and it was effortless.

It made me realize that sometimes, by finally giving ourselves permission to stop creating, accomplishing, delivering and doing, we allow ourselves to actually step into the full power of our being. Life doesn’t have to be tough. We don't need to sacrifice things that matter to us. Sometimes, if we just chill out and let things fall into place, things can come together in ways we could never have manufactured for ourselves.

When was the last time you stepped back and allowed yourself to simply accomplish nothing? How did it feel? Did it derail you, or somehow, strangely, keep you even more on track than ever?

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