Saturday, September 14, 2013

Regroup

Today has been a day to regroup.  It was another busy week, but the good news is, my schedule is going to be opening up a bit over the next month. 

It has bothered me a lot that I haven't had time to blog more than once a week for the past month or so, because that's a sign that I haven't been having time to read and knit and think and find intellectual nourishment.  And I need to do all of those things, really, to stay focused and happy in my life.

I decided last week that I had to rethink some options and jettison some commitments--and a few things ended up being decided for me, actually.  The result is, I feel like I can breathe again and look forward to the upcoming months without the anxious sense that my every minute is being claimed by something or someone else and I'd better stay on task... or else.

So many of us do this to ourselves.  We overschedule our lives and then struggle to keep up.  I think that's the biggest challenge I face, figuring out a way to pace myself.  I tend to like a challenge and I often step up the pace in my commitments to other people only to realize that I'm doing work I don't really want or need to be doing, and often feeling over-stressed and under-appreciated on a regular basis as a result.

Because even though I haven't been blogging, I have been literally chained to my computer for the past several weeks, answering emails and doing all kinds of work that I don't really want (or need) to be doing (see above).

If there's been any benefit to going through the various struggles I've gone through in terms of the deaths of loved ones, it's this: it makes what's important (and what's not) crystal-clear.  It's permanently underlined, highlighted and italicized.  So there's just no way you can look at life and the world around you and delude yourself anymore when you know you're focusing on things that aren't worth your time or effort.

It stops some of life's bullshit from snowballing, to put it bluntly.  You just see it piling up and you think, "No."  And in those moments, it's all very clear what you need to do, and why, and nothing anyone else can say or do will change your mind anymore.

It brings new meaning to the phrase, "hold your ground," because you realize you've reached a new level of groundedness in your life through your experiences with death.

So today, to regroup, I went the the orchard and picked more raspberries.  I came home and spent the afternoon reading and knitting and chatting with my kitty cats, something I haven't been able to do for weeks, and something that has really bothered me.  (Having lost a much-loved kitty of many years, I now realize I treasure my two more than ever and regret when I don't have time to pay as much attention to them as I'd like.) 

I had a more or less sleepless night last night, because of a stressful day, so I took a nap and woke up feeling quiet and energized in a way that I haven't felt for a while.

It took a while to de-stress, but it worked.  I haven't been able to read for weeks, I've been so busy writing and emailing and doing all of this other stuff I had put on myself to do, but today I was finally able to sit down with my knitting and start reading Elaine Feinstein's biography of the Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova, Anna of All the Russias (2007).

After weeks of staring at the pages of books and wondering why I couldn't fix on something and get motivated to read it (an odd turn of events for me, obviously), I realized why this was.  I had too much mental clutter in my life.  Because once that was all cleared away, I read and read.

So I'll be back to the blog again soon from now on.  I promise.  And I want to get back to my Read-a-thons and my Classics Club list.  Looking at it now, I realize I've actually read one of the works on it and didn't even realize it.  So I'll need to do a post to update that.

The Dewey's Read-a-Thon is coming up on Oct. 12th, and I'm going to do it again and try to get through some books I've started and set aside and that big virtual pile of ebooks waiting on my Kindle.

I'm looking forward to it. 

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."