The World Can Wait
As a teacher who works with students in public schools, my yearly calendar is still pretty much the same as it has been my whole life. Busy during the academic school year, then a slower few months of summer vacation until the cycle starts anew. The summer is not exactly a time of doing nothing, but my student load is considerably lower, and it is nice to have some quiet time to just think.
The school year is usually pretty hectic, so once the summer hits, I do try to force myself to slow down and enjoy that new pace. I actually have time to sit and enjoy a cup of tea in the morning, maybe do some reading, or go out and water my garden and tend the plants. Most days I find myself doing all three. This slow start really sets me up for a more relaxed and focused day, regardless of how busy my day will be. This is something I hope to take with me into next school year–finding a small daily ritual to get started slowly. That may be a no-brainer for many people, but it’s not something I’ve consistently done over the years, and I do notice a difference.
If you are a busy creator/artist/musician/dancer of any stripe, finding that quiet head space from which to approach your craft is pretty important. And this can be pretty hard to come by when you are running your own business on top of the general creative work that IS your business. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or unable to focus, or you feel like your creative juices just aren’t flowing, take a look at your daily routine. It doesn’t matter exactly how, but starting your day with a few moments of quiet can be the solution to so many problems.
I know that’s hard to do for everyone, regardless of the field, and then if you are also a parent...yikes. But if you are able, take a week and try starting every day with some quite time. Drink tea, read a book, pray, spend time out in your backyard/garden...whatever it is, see if you feel a difference after several days of intentional quiet time. One critical element (in my opinion): DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR PHONE. From the time you get out of bed, don’t open your email, don’t check for messages, don’t check the news, don’t check any social media apps. Take the time to be in the quiet by yourself. Just BE. It’s amazing how all that stuff quickly crowds out any sort of inner peace, and it certainly can wreak havoc on your own sense of self (without you even realizing it). You have to take the time to greet yourself each day before you can greet the world.
So that’s my homework for myself this summer: spend a little time each morning just being quiet, tending my garden, and talking to God. I don’t have all the answers to life, and I definitely make as many mistakes as anyone else, but it seems like God + nature + silence = a good place to start.