September 8, 2013,


It’s cloudy today, and cooler than it has been all week.  The magnificent storm we hoped for yesterday passed us by, but the humidity has broken.  I woke up at nine this morning, after a solid night’s sleep.  The first since I arrived.  Usually, I’m a force to be reckoned with after so much sleep, but today I’ve got a case of the Sunday’s—moving slow and easy.

It was a great week, productive in every sense.  I settled in, made new friends, ran every day, and got lots of writing done.  This residency is a great gift.  I am profoundly grateful for everyone who has a part in making it happen, and I don’t want to squander a moment.  But yesterday afternoon I hit a wall.

At 5 p.m. I closed myself in my room and lay down on the bed.  If I was a “napper,” it would have been a perfect time for a nap.  But I’m not.  Although I’d written for most of the day, I tried to work a bit more on my new book.  But I just couldn’t concentrate.  I wrestled with what to DO for a few restless moments, until I had a revelation—I’d been so determined to make every minute count that I forgot to figure in the restorative power of “down time.”

So, instead of trying to write any more, or beating myself up because I couldn’t, I picked up Anne Lamott’s new book, Help. Thanks. Wow.  It’s about the power of what she calls “the three essential prayers.”  I read the chapter called, “Help,” which is about how we win when we are able to “stop in our tracks, right where we are” and surrender.   It was exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time.  Anne Lamott is one of my “go to” authors.  I can always count on her to give me truth wrapped in laughter—one of the greatest gifts I know.  Yesterday she did it again.

Chef Linda doesn’t work on the weekends, so at 6:30 we residents who wanted to do something for dinner gathered in the kitchen.  I’d changed out of my writing clothes, but I wanted to stay in and was grateful when the consensus was for pizza delivery.  Last night eight of us gathered around the table for an evening filled with conversation, laughter, and veggie pan-pizza.  Afterwards, I felt restored.  And I know slowing down helped me sleep better last night.

Today I’ve kept my pace easy.  On my slow jog through the forest preserve, I listened to an easy-listening mix and took time to look around.  I found the tail of an unlucky rabbit and tucked it into my pocket.  (Now it rests on my desk with the Blue Jay feather I found yesterday, and a stone with “Breathe” painted on the top.)  At the end of my run I listened to Kris Kristofferson sing Sunday Morning Coming Down while swinging on the rope swing.  There is something about a Sunday.

I’ve read the Sunday paper, run a load of wash, and written this essay.  In a little while my new friend Beth and I are going to take a slow walk to the lake.  My sweet husband Barry is taking me out for Sunday supper.  Tonight, I’ll see what happens.  Maybe I’ll stay up late talking and laughing with the others.  Maybe I’ll write.  Maybe I’ll get another long night’s sleep.  Whatever I choose, it will be restorative.  Tomorrow starts another week—and I don’t want to waste a moment!

It doesn’t get much better than this…

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