Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I'm having a little trouble finding a new routine in our new normal. This happens to me every fall. I love fall and think of it - even more than January first - as a perfect time to introduce new routines and order and intention into my life. But there's something about the sudden Blam! of everything kid-related starting at once (school, dance, catechism, Sunday School) combined with the sudden lack of a triathlon-related workout schedule that's left me pretty aimless this week.

I want to sit down and write a birthday letter to Annie. I want to write more about how doing the triathlon made me feel instead of just describing the experience. I want to write about introducing chores and an allowance to a six-year-old. I want to write about my first foray into formal religious education with my daughter in a church I didn't grow up in. I want to make time to write more of the things I want to write - queries, articles, poems - instead of messing around with things I don't.

This morning, though, I unloaded the dishwasher and re-organized the accessory bin. I tried (and failed) to track down a pair of ballet shoes that will fit Annie for her class this afternoon. I copied a recipe from a cookbook that's due back at the library. I will shower, bring Jemma to dance, buy Annie new ballet shoes, put the laundry away, maybe go to yoga. And maybe later tonight, after the sun has set far too early for my taste, I will actually write something.

From Devotion by Dani Shapiro:

"Writers often say that the hardest part of writing isn't the writing itself: it's the sitting down to write. The same is true of yoga, meditation, and prayer. The sitting down, the making space. The doing. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Unroll the mat. Sit cross-legged on the floor. Just do it. Close your eyes and express a silent need, a wish, a moment of gratitude. What's so hard about that? Except - it is hard. The usual distractions - the clutter and piles of life - are suddenly, unusually enticing. The worst of it, I've come to realize, is that the thing that stops me - the shadow that casts a cold darkness across the best of my intentions - isn't the puppy, the e-mail, the UPS truck, the school conference, the phone, the laundry, the to-do lists. It's me that stops me. Things get stuck, the osteopath once said with a shrug. He gestured to the area where the neck meets the head. The place where the body ends and the mind begins. Things get stuck. It sounded so simple when he said it. It's me, and the things that are stuck. Standing in my way."

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