Monday, February 6, 2012

The sure-fire cure for overwhelm

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "If Mark Twain had had Twitter," says humorist Andy Borowitz, "he would have been amazing at it. But he probably wouldn't have gotten around to writing Huckleberry Finn." I think you're facing a comparable choice, Gemini. You can either get a lot of little things done that will serve your short-term aims, or else you can at least partially withdraw from the day-to-day give-and-take so as to devote yourself with more focus to a long-range goal. I'm not here to tell you which way to go; I just want to make sure you know the nature of the decision before you.

The truth is, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed these past few days. 

I think it’s a combination of things. Feeling a tiny bit under the weather. Trying to get back in synch with our routine, as my little ‘un resumes her creative play sessions. Brave conversations about whether I do enough around the house. Trying to filter out the artificial deadlines. [Just because I make declarations of worthiness, doesn’t mean I have all this sorted!] The number of creative projects underway... in addition to the number that I wish I could do. The exhaustion that comes with the sheer joy of squeezing in as much creative goodness into/out of a day as possible. Trying to make good decisions, consciously, about food and exercise and sleep. The exhilarating and slightly confronting energy emanating from my vision board. The questions, constant questions.

In among all of this, I wonder if this is really my path. This slightly manic energy, I know it won’t last forever. But when it has ebbed out of my bones, what then?

I know I have done with work: psychologically, artistically. I know I have a story, a style all of my own. 

But I see myself searching for structure, seeking instruction (enrolling in e-course after e-course!). I see how this also enables me to defer striking out on my own, going out on a limb with my art, seeing what I'm really made of.

I see myself doubt whether I have got the soul of my story, my style, straight. I know who I am and what I love to do, but if I were to try and make something and sell it, what would it be? If I were to write something, what would it be? If I were to teach something, what would it be?

As I write this, I feel a tremendous amount of tenderness for the girl who is so eager for the answers. Those pithy one-liners that can serve as static guideposts until the end of time. Other people seem to have them, right?

The work. At the end of the day, it is all about the work.

My work.

Just do it, a sweet voice beckons. Start. Don’t question. You are so good at trusting your intuition in so many aspects of your life. Stretch this muscle. Trust it. 

Trust the process. The destination will become clear when the time is right. The product, the story, the curriculum will emerge, in time.

It doesn't have to emerge from a vacuum. In fact, it rarely does. You have a muse. You are inspired. You will be invited to produce, to participate. You do not need to conjure anything. You do not need to dig any deeper.

You have done the work.

You have the time. Savour it.

My work. That’s where it’s at.

Time to get back to it.


  1. Such a hard but exciting place to be. That stepping out and trusting your wings to fly is such a big step. And then you step out and discover your wings are simply beautiful...
    When the muse speaks it's so hard to ignore her!
    I have so many (writing) projects I want to do at the moment too ... but the house looks like a tip and I'm feeling guilty about not spending enough 'present' time with the kids...
    It's so tricky - but I feel better knowing someone else is in the same situation!
    Thankyou for sharing!

  2. sometimes being a cross roads is not easy. But trust your instincts. Trust what way you think is best. sometimes we have to let go of the questions and just do. x

  3. In other areas of life, I've decided never to trust the process. But, in art (for me, writing and photography), the process seems to be everything. It's like going on a trip and enjoying the journey.