In Writing

I am tired. My elbow has a weird rash I only get when my belly is not feeling quite right. I fall asleep shortly after 9:00 p.m., and wake up gasping at around 3:00 a.m. nearly every night, some half-forgotten horror clawing at me, making its way closer even though I’m trying to escape at full speed. I can’t get back to sleep.

I am, in other words, a writer. A “sensitive type,” some would call me.

That’s not some self-important “writing is pain” nonsense. I am happy, I am functional, I have friends, my kids are well-adjusted, I am up on all my bills. I am not sinking into a tumbler of whiskey every night. It’s just simply self-knowledge. I’m strung kind of tight. I meditate, I work out, I eat (pretty right). I stress anyway. I could watch the birds more, chant my mantras more, but the fundamental fact remains that this is who I am. There is always some part of me sprinting away from impending disaster.

I have spent a life trying to find strategies to make this road more satisfying, less frightening. Inspired by an article a friend sent me, about “what introverts need,” I wondered: what do I need? It felt valuable to share it, so here it is. This is not a recipe for living for everyone… this is just mine (and a partial list at that). So here goes:

  1. Less inputs. I recently set up my email filters to funnel off emails from anyone not in my address book. Emails often feel overwhelming to me, and I feel like I have to respond as soon as they come in. If I don’t see them, I don’t feel that, so I limit what I see.
  2. More “just because” reading. I often feel there are things I “should” read, because it’s The Latest Thing, or because it’s good for my craft. But sometimes I just want to read fluff. You’d be surprised how much of a hard time I give myself about this.
  3. Little beautiful things. Whether it’s a flower picked from my garden, a new arrangement of things on my coffee table, or a new wallpaper on my desktop, I yearn for beauty. It can still me and make me feel like the world is a place of grace and loveliness.
  4. The moon. It will be a full moon on Friday night (early Saturday morning, to be precise). I will spend a little time gazing at it, weather permitting. It stills me, and makes me happy, to know that I am in tune with the rhythms of the moon. Ten minutes of gazing up at the moon calms me as much as an hour of meditation.
  5. Time in quiet, inspiring places. There is a beautiful garden, about 15 minutes north of my house, with a gorgeous gazebo, a walled-off rose garden, and some of the loveliest trees I know. Often I “sneak out” at lunch time and visit this beautiful place. I remember a thing a wealthy woman once said to me, about how our society overestimates the value of ownership, and how spending time in a place, particularly one that’s not very crowded, can give us that same satisfaction of ownership without all the work and expense. When I go to this park, I am often the only person there, and I imagine for a short while that it is all mine, because, for that moment, it is. It brightens my whole day.

That is it, for now, in no particular order, a few things that make my life just a bit happier. What are yours?









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