Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lately, I’ve been going nonstop, full speed ahead, spinning like the Tasmanian Devil. It’s been a whirlwind of deadlines, articles that seem much more agonizing than they need to be, demands and obligations, appearances, teaching, doing laundry, eating. I’m tired just thinking about it. But then I found Sunday morning that everything stopped. My brain stopped. I couldn’t go anywhere; I didn’t want to see anybody. I canceled everything I was meant to do… And I just rested.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that rest is an activity. It’s an activity different from sleep, although it shares many of the same characteristics of slowing down (hopefully!), closing the eyes (sometimes, but not always), frequently lying down, reducing stimulation….I could go on. It’s easy to forget that it’s necessary, obligatory, to rest, although I remind people all the time. If we don’t, then the consequences can be disastrous.
Whenever I get sick, or start to feel as though something is coming in and I’m that worn down, there’s really only one solution. Sleep. Well, I guess two solutions. Sleep and Rest. I think that I can take all the herbs in the world, and I often do try to take a few known remedies, but if I’m not sleeping extra, more than I normally do, it’s doesn’t do enough to actually help me feel better.
I’m also needing to come to the realization that there is only so much any of us can do in one day, only so many hours that the on button can be turned on, only so much socializing, talking, doing. There has to be some time of quiet, of being, of regeneration, of renewal. That’s the other important part of rest. I’m practicing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Doing new things in life, things beyond our comfort zone, stretch us and inspire us to grow. It may sound like a platitude, but it really is the truth. This past week, I officiated at a wedding ceremony, and last night, stood on stage in a theater full of people and read a story that I wrote. In both instances, I was terrified beforehand, but once on stage, I took a deep breath and just spoke. I was prepared, I had rehearsed. I had also lost sleep, gotten wound up, facing and refacing and working and reworking the words on the page, preparing and repreparing. When onstage, a part of me wondering, what was all that fuss about? Why was it so hard? But the preparation was a necessary part of the process. If I hadn't spent days writing and rewriting, feeling the agony, going through the ups and the downs, the breathlessness, the rehearsals with friends, the writing of nonsense to uncover the essence of it. That's the tapas, the walking on coals, the steaming ourselves in the fire, that gets us to where we need to be, that helps us grow. Ultimately stress helps us to grow, stretches us. It's the stress of the muscles ever-so-slightly tugging on our bones that allows the mineral to be deposited, that makes us stronger. On stage, I felt the high of sharing laughter, of reaching out. Thanks to yoga teacher and great friend Denise Kaufman for her excellent coaching. Thanks to Karin Gutman and everyone at SPARK for being so awesome. SPARK is a storytelling series that takes place the first Monday of every month at the very cool Powerhouse Theatre in Venice. Last night, the theme was Space, December it's the Seven Dwarves. Cool Stuff