A friend said, ‘You have to start writing, you’re not prioritising those things that make you feel good and happy.’
We were tucking into a second helping of gluten-free toast with jam and butter. Outside the cafe, the sun intensified conversations over coffee and eggs benedict, fortified exhaust fumes, and heightened the smell of cigarette smoke.
She was right of course.’What?’ she continued, ‘you haven’t been practising your yoga either?’
‘Hold me to account,’ I said.
I actually think I’ve been putting it off. I don’t know why I haven’t blogged or watered my novel. I tend the day-job, add fertiliser to the lawn, prune back the vine (now trained, I’m letting the grapes grow), but somehow I’ve let my creativity slip. Of course gardening is creative but I’ve noticed an insidious habit for laying down more to-do’s, more projects, in front of those things that make my soul sing. I’m currently reading the tome by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves, and aside from the fact she’s a Jungian analyst and prone to waffle and penning riddles and describing a concept in ten repetitively similar ways (there are only a finite number of ways you can cook an egg), some of what she says about creativity, its loss and suppression, began to make my toes curl in agreement. She was right, and I was cringing. There aren’t many excuses for not prioritising one’s talents (yes, I’m saying I am a writer), for diminishing one’s joy and creative life.
Once again I find myself out of balance.
From January I exhaled all breath into the day job (I have twenty-four months to remortgage my home – so I need a steady income. Pronto). I’ve completed another training, gained a professional accreditation. The associated website still needs updating, and I have ideas for further development; life coaching looks appealing, as does various add-on energy therapies, but really, and apart from the website and a promotional push, this other stuff can wait. Not so many blinks ago winter held on firm, powdery snow so fine it flaked and crumbled like pastry. Now light stretches beyond ten o’clock and the black bird sings its summery-song to a balsamic moon….. and I’m finding myself tetchy and pining for the something I left hanging on the coat hook months ago. A reassessment is in order.
And there have been the other projects: the mother of all spring cleans courtesy of Marie Kondo (I DO NOT talk to my socks) – every room of my home cleared and items banished that no longer hold meaning. Purging and simplifying. Clothes. Books. Photographs. The wedding dress hangs in the local charity shop, the engagement ring sits on the bureau awaiting sale…
A new pass port. A deed of trust. Meetings with a financial advisor. A new pension. New bank accounts. The school run. Ballet. Swimming. A birthday party. Decopatching. Crystal art. Helping her adjust to another new change. Easter. Family. Friends. Workshops. Retreats. Reading. Bike riding. Smelling the air. Another season. Grieving. Walking. Intermittent yoga stretches. An art exhibition (or two). Gigging. The door bell ringing at two thirty am. A night’s stay in a shepherds hut. A trip to Legoland. Pulling out weeds. Mowing and raking and potting. Head colds. Women’s circles. Nature. An interview for the I Paper. Speeding up. Slowing down. Falling out. Making up. Cuddles. An ankle sprain. Spiritual practice. A decree absolute. Booking holidays. Tiredness. Book keeping. Year end. Tax credit assessments. Organising. Organising. Organising… Sometimes the admin piles up, the stinking rubbish of a ’70s strike.
I am a single parent and I have been busy…
Creating space, tying up the loose ends of a broken marriage.
But as I walked home from brunch with my friend I felt the sun’s hand at my back. It guided me along the the path, the warmth, a spacious feeling. I thought about my friend’s words, her confidence in my writing. She’s right, I must continue…… and amongst all the projects, the big and small practicalities, I will find the time, let my heart beat again.
It’s time to begin.