I’m in bed with a broken leg – a period of embodied and enforced pause and pattern disruption. Kinda annoying it has to be said, as it is right at the beginning of my scheduled 3 month window for slowing down, pausing, reflecting and writing, so I don’t really feel like I needed a broken leg to get on with pausing. Although, of course that version of pause was still high speed and highly productive in comparison to my current reality.
I am now balancing the tension between making use of my quiet time, being creative, and all the things I can still ‘do’ while immobile, and just allowing myself to be, daydream and do nothing. Doing enough to keep mind and spirit engaged with life and out of the grip of frustration and boredom, while honouring and cherishing my body’s invitation into nothingness, stillness, quiet, surrender and release.
I could almost carry on as normal with emails, phone calls, writing, planning, organising, filing, responding etc. etc. Except, I can’t. (At least most of the time.) My brain knows something different is called for, it refuses to engage, push through, focus. It knows this is a time of no agenda – apart from healing.
I can still catch the moments of creativity and insight when they come with no attachment to how long they last or the quality of ‘work’ produced or the contribution to larger projects. Just being with the process simply to enjoy it. I have made myself a reminder of ways I can enjoy pausing every day. Ways I can nourish myself, but shifting the parameters of what art, music, nature connection and stretching might usually mean to me. My first lesson in this came from my friend Kym Chi in hospital. The day of the accident we had been creating mandalas together, works of beauty, detail and symmetry. The next day she brings me a colouring book explaining, “I thought you might still like to do some art, but this is more where you are at right now.” So my art for the day might be 10 minutes of colouring in, my music 5 minutes allowing my fingers to mindlessly meander around the guitar. My nature connection experience might be watching the clouds through the window, a cuddle with my cat, or admiring the colour on the leaves. My stretching is not the full body yoga workout I would dearly love, just a conscious, arms above my head stretch for a minute. Everything is recalibrated.
I hesitated to add writing on to my visual reminder of ways to enjoy pausing, in fact it wasn’t there until this moment of writing in my journal. Thinking of writing as my work, my livelihood, my ‘to do’ list, I had decided not to include it. As I write this at 3 am when pain and discomfort has ruptured yet another night’s sleep and my body can’t toss and turn, and so I decide I might as well move a pen, I feel the release of words onto page. I see this as an opportunity to reclaim writing as something for myself, a way of releasing, reflecting, allowing my imagination to roam, expressing, processing, questioning and answering my own being. I can reclaim writing as one of my gifts, and something I can gift to others, to support, guide, nourish, connect, perhaps even amuse. The space is there on the page, right in the middle, and all it takes is a moment for writing to be part of my pause routines. I have reclaimed writing as an emergent process that emerges insights, healing, opportunities, understandings, ideas and connections. What has happened here is a perfect example of emergence through writing. I began writing about surrendering and colouring books and I finish with reclaiming writing for myself.
With special thanks to Lucy H. Pearce for her books Medicine Woman and the Rainbow Way