Have you ever wondered what kind of animal you’d be based on your personality?
I’m pretty sure I’d be a sheep dog. Either that or some kind of high-strung bird. Why? Because if I don’t achieve a certain level of creative output or productivity each day, I become anxious. The kind of anxious that causes sheepdogs to dig holes in the yard and birds to pull out their feathers.
Perhaps it’s just spring fever, but for the past few weeks I’ve been in a creative dry spell. I have nothing to show and tell, nothing to teach, nothing to share–I’m all burnt out. In fact, if I were Mister Rogers right now, I would not be back when the day was new and I would not have more ideas for you.
To those of you out there who are most likely cats or camels or dolphins, my anxiety might not make much sense. Dry spells or lack of productivity probably don’t cause you to question your purpose or place in life and for that, you are lucky! Unfortunately, it’s something I struggle with often. Create! Do! Share! Repeat! Over and over, forever and ever!
Creating, doing, sharing and repeating are all my favorite things. The only problem is with the over and over, forever and ever part. Unfortunately, I am not an idea machine. Either that or I am an idea machine that is unpredictable and needs constant maintenance. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is overflowing with copious, ground-breaking, fantabulous ideas while I’m sputtering to keep up.
In an effort to push through this dry spell, I decided to give cooking and creating a break and pick up my writing. When I first started blogging, I shared a lot of childhood stories and it’s my desire to assemble a full e-book of them…soon? With a new project in mind, I sat down at the computer and…sat. After a weekend of sitting, all I had to show for was a rough draft of a list of foods I remember eating at my grandparents’ house: canned prunes, Tang, Crispix cereal, homemade plum jam from 1986.
Frustrated, I decided to take a break and waste time on Facebook. While scrolling through my feed, this picture caught my eye:
At first, I didn’t understand why I was so transfixed by this image. After all, I’m not much for desert landscape or feeling like I am in the middle of nowhere. Nevertheless, I couldn’t take my eyes off this picture and the more I looked it, the more hungry I became for that empty hillside and that sunny rock. I wanted to sit there and smile into the sunshine and do nothing and be happy with doing nothing; to be a casual observer instead of a fervent doer. Rarely does sitting around seem appealing to me, but this photo captured the quiet power of sitting and soaking life in.
As a sheepdog/crazybird/blogger/woman/human, I get so preoccupied with wringing ideas out of my brain and wringing work out of my hands that I forget the simple, beautiful and necessary step of soaking life back into my body. Instead, I reach a point of burnout and wonder how it happened and what it means for my future.
Soaking life in.
I’m not talking about running to Pinterest or other blogs to soak up more ideas thus feeding the vicious cycle.
I’m talking about climbing up onto a smooth, warm rock and listening to the wind in the dessert, of having absolutely nothing to say or offer and it being well with my soul.
(Thank you, Christina, for allowing me to share your lovely, inspiring photo.)