Retreat as Forward Motion

Have you noticed that it's been pretty quiet in my corner of the internet lately? At first it was because of various plagues sweeping through my house (ugh), but then health returned to myself and my family . . . but the silence remained.

I want to grow SHE OF THE WILD to reach more of the women who may need what I'm offering, to help people break out of whatever is holding them back, to empower as many people as possible to live full, wild, and creatively vibrant lives. So I've been pushing myself since the fall to expand as well as go deeper, to provide rich content and courses and words. I've even been learning about business practices, which is so not in my natural zone of talent or interest. I know -- whoa. ;)

Hell, I even hired a business coach, something I never thought I'd do. And yet, a month or so back, I put out a desperate call for help in my Facebook groups, and one particular (amazing, sensitive, intuitive) coach stood out from the rest, and I hired her, and I'm basically in love with her.

And yet . . . I find myself pulling back. Even though I hired this coach's help to propel me forward, to clarify what my next steps are with SHE OF THE WILD, to be a steady hand reached into my confusing and -- let's be honest -- somewhat manic flailings.

I'm reading more. Like, actual books, held in my hands, with covers and pages and paper and the whole deal. I've been going to bed earlier (thank goodness, says my body and my mind), and trying to slow down in my day-to-day life to get down on the floor and really look my kids in the eye. I'm clearing clutter from my home. I even cleaned the bathroom (I know).

When I first started to realize what was happening, I was pretty frustrated. I mean, I hired a coach, for crying out loud. Was I going to waste my time with her when we should be working on my Next Thing?

And then it hit me:

This pulling back? It is the work.

For now, I need to slow down, reassess, and clear the unnecessary. I need to play with my kids more, read more, live more.

I feel like I'm gestating. Like I'm a seed in the dark and cozy earth. I am quietly gathering nourishment and strength and inspiration for the day that my shoots are ready to peek at the sunlight, new and green and exquisitely mortal.

This work-that-is-not-work (but still really sort of is work) will only pay off in my future creative endeavors. As Julia Cameron puts it in The Artist's Way, I am (re)filling my well, restoring my juices, so that soon I can burst forth with poems and art and words once more.

Does this sound familiar, or frustrating? Share with us in the comments. Let's help remind each other that resting and nurturing our beautiful, creative selves is not only good, but necessary.


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Why We Don't Rest

Rest. I need it. You need it. We want it, even. But do we get enough?

I sure don’t. Not by a long shot.

And for most of the past nine or so months, I could blame my infant. Except now he’s sleeping through the night on the regular (knock on wood), so the person to blame for my lack of rest-getting?

Uh huh. It’s me.

I don’t know why I do this to myself — the late nights squandered on mindless television (hello, old episodes of America’s Next Top Model on Prime), planning on going to bed by 10 PM, only to gape in shock at the clock glowing the fact that it’s actually 11:49 PM back at me.

Oops, I say. I’ll do better tomorrow night.
And then don’t.
(Repeat ad nauseum, infinitum.)

Okay, I lied. I have an idea of why I do this to myself. It’s because I’m a mom, and I’m also a human who thrives on alone time, and those two facets of my life usually don’t blend together too well. I need my space, and I tend to take it come hell or high water, even if how I take it hurts me in both the long and short run.

And I don’t like laying my head down to sleep. I don’t like how I have to give up control every night, how I can’t just power through [anymore]. How arranging my body in my bed feels like a nightly practice for dying.

Mortality looms large for me these days. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom, anxious to keep myself well for the sake of my children, or because I’m comfortably into my mid-thirties, and old age (whatever that means) suddenly doesn’t feel that far off. But I don’t have time for rest, for dying. I’ve got things to do.

But I have to rest (dammit!). If I want to have even a prayer of keeping well, or of doing the things I both need and want to do in this life, I have to rest.

This year I’m trying to live by heart, and my heart is firm on what my brain (and my fear) doesn’t want to hear — rest is necessary. Rest is not optional. An early bedtime will feel great by the morning.

I have no answers, no nicely neat ending for this post, for this resistance. But I’m working on choosing the heart-nurturing thing.

What about you? How do you rest well (or not)? I'd love to leave your thoughts in the comments.


{Originally posted on Instagram.}