I have drained the well.

I know better. And yet, when I stop to measure the charge left in my physical, emotional, and spiritual batteries there’s not much more than a flicker. Just enough to drag through another day, so long as nothing big comes along, so long as I am not called upon for any acts of will and discernment.

Yeah right.

Life isn’t going to stop for me. My job isn’t going to stop presenting me with difficult challenges and decisions. The kid still needs to get ready for college and I have a house to run and a family to love. The cat is sick. Second Son lost his glasses. The newsletter I edit for the DMHP association is coming up due again.

Meanwhile, I have new writing goals and plans. So much to do. So little time.

It’s not my fault, this time, but it is still my responsibility to seek the cure.

I know perfectly well what I need.  Daily yoga. Long walks in the woods. Good books. Naps. Journal writing. Art. Time away from people. A whole day home alone in my jammies. I figure a month ought to do it.

This is where the daydream breaks up in hysterical laughter. A month? Not gonna happen. Maybe a day, if I’m lucky.

And so, I look for healing and refilling in the little things, in the odd moments scattered throughout the day. A picture that I love, hung where I see it every time I walk by. A hummingbird watching me hang out the laundry. A purring cat. A hug. Reading a great book. Talking to friends. Even just taking a moment to stand on my front porch barefoot, eyes closed, soaking in the energy from the world around me with every pore.

Not surprising that it’s been difficult to get words down on the page. There’s temptation to just hammer away, and although sometimes this is the right approach – butt in chair, hands on keys, right? –  I know it’s the wrong one now. There is a time for everything under the sun, and sometimes that means just being kind to yourself and giving the creativity well a chance to refill.

In her lovely book The Right to Write, Julia Cameron likens the writing life to the life of an athlete. For every fast mile, nine slow ones, she says. As a maintenance solution to the problem of draining the well she suggests weekly adventures, alone – dates with your creativity. This is a great idea, but it’s too late for that. For now I don’t need new adventures, I need time to process the old.

And so, I’m cutting myself some slack, setting aside the writing deadlines I’d set for myself to explore, gently, the writing that is talking to me. If I am kind to myself, I know that soon I will recharge and be ready once again to take on the world. And more importantly, to listen to the story that wants to manifest through me, and write it down.

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