Lately I hear the foot traffic of multiple essays promenading my mind’s boulevard. Some crowd in so close they catch my heel and trip me up. I can’t seem to carve out the space to sit down and write—except for my Sunday afternoons at Word Church—sacred time with beloved congregants. I bring my essay ideas to these writing sessions delighted with what pours out on the paper using words I would never have considered. The essay below is the latest example. This particular experience has been waiting patiently to find its way out of my head, into my fingertips, and onto the page.
I trust my writing process enough these days to know that the cycle will come round again. Probably this winter when there is less activity calling me to the garden and the cold invites me to settle into the delicious hibernation of mugs of tea, books to read, and words to write.
Trusting the processes in our lives is the reward we receive for putting in the hard work of figuring out our messy, creative selves—on our own timelines and our own terms regardless of the craft—painting, pottery, fiber art, ironing, polishing, fill in the blank.
I threw myself out of my bedroom more than a month ago. It was an unceremonious act of self-care. A habit kicked. For months while I lived with a roommate who taught classes on Zoom and read clinical bioethics texts for most of her waking hours, it made sense to do my remote work, weekend reading and recharging, and phone time with a long-distant friend from the ergonomic comfort of my bed.
Too much of a good thing became low-grade depression and a lack of energy or motivation. Now I spend much of my non-sleeping, non-gardening hours in a wingback chair that belonged to my grandparents.
From this perch, I monitor the movement of the sun by the deep shade of early morning until the bright sunshine of late afternoon causes me to draw the sheer curtain until the sun sets. From this chair, I have observed the rose bush’s newest growth stand up like a toddler’s cowlick. The maroon pre-bloom will transmute to deep green foliage and bright pink blossoms the color reminiscent of Grandma’s nail polish, which she touched up from this very chair.
I watch the school bus make a three-point turn in the cul-de-sac at pick-up and drop-off, and hear the shrieks and commands of big sisters to little brothers. I could hear those noises from the bedroom, but my mood and outlook dulled in that space.
Leaning back, resting my head—where my tall, slim Grandpa once rested his head—sans the protective white doilies Grandma pinned to the upholstery steadies me. They feel close by when I sit here.
Nature outside my window and owning a chair once occupied by dear people balances me as I negotiate swings between anxiety and contentment—something I could not manage so well from upstairs. By relegating my bedroom to sleep and folding laundry, I expanded the boundaries of emotional health and well-being.
What a marvel small adjustments can make. It was free and easy. No need of prescription or even new company—my own continues to be compatible with the patterns of my quiet contemplative life, where the late arrival of a Mexican sunflower’s blossoms restores my faith in blooming in our own time.