While those initial waves of panic have subsided (erm, mostly?), a boldfaced feeling that everything is URGENT! has swept in to replace it.
The past week saw me attempting to harness some of my angst for action. It also saw me wondering, once again, if supporting the action-takers—not actually being one, myself—is enough. And, naturally, those conflicting impulses felt like a thing that needed resolution IMMEDIATELY! or else. It was a week of uncomfortable waffling. (Is waffling ever not uncomfortable?)
By the time you receive this note (which I'm composing from the passenger seat of the Corolla, en route to a hotel somewhere in Pennsylvania), I'll be typing away my responses to a dozen interview questions on the topic of—wait for it—working remotely. This morning, while riding shotgun from Toledo to Youngstown, I wrote and submitted to an online community a short essay on curiosity and the creative habit.
Last week, we drove from Memphis to Green Bay to be with my husband's family after an unexpected death, and I wrote a whole batch of heavy-weight client emails from this same passenger seat. By 'heavy-weight,' I mean those kinds of emails you can't just rattle off from your tiny phone; these took time and care and attention, and they required the use of a full keyboard.
Maybe this is nothing new to you—full-fledged brain work while on the road. But it's new to me. New-ish, at least. In this year and a half of mobile living, of course I've had to be flexible about my preferred writing conditions. Still, that minor flexibility is nothing compared to the most recent demands I've had to place on myself; as we spend more time in the car than in any one (stationary) place, these hours that we're in transit have become increasingly precious to me.
Turns out, I can do a whole lot more than I would've guessed. I'm capable of holding space for my own discomfort and showing up to participate in the world anyway. I'm capable of being the copilot and navigating my way through the writing of an essay from a jumble of notes scribbled in a moving car. I'm capable of supporting the change-makers and being a change-maker whenever I can. Sure, some items are urgent; there will always be deadlines and time sensitivity to contend with; Immediate Action Requested! and similar petitions for my attention and activism will arise regularly, because, in some cases, there really is no time to waste.
You, too, are capable of much more than you might believe you are. You're capable of chasing the light, even being the light, and succumbing to bouts of darkness and despair. You're capable of making great art and saving lives, saving people's spirits, every damn day. You're capable of raising change-maker children and being a change-maker whenever you can, yourself.
Part of staying in flow is accepting the frequency with which we find ourselves occupying two or more places on a spectrum. I'm doing my best to hang out here, to fully inhabit this mixture of feelings, without requiring that it shift anytime soon.
Where do you find yourself straddling two seemingly disparate states of being? Hit 'reply' and tell me about it.
Traveled from Tennessee through Missouri and Illinois and into Wisconsin, first snow of the season, visited with Connie and Bruce, hung out with Dustin and got to meet Erica and Garin, enjoyed quality time with Kaylin and Rob, met Dana's extended family, stayed away from Twitter, obsessed over Twitter, called my representatives again, called Paul Ryan (you might, too, if you support the Affordable Care Act—it's not too late! And all you have to do is press a button; no talking necessary), called the Department of Justice (you might, too, if you're at all concerned about voter suppression, Russian collusion, and FBI interference in the 2016 presidential election. Again, this was super easy; I left a brief recording on the DOJ's voicemail)
Do this: 3 Good Things
Here's a newsletter I wish I'd written: Four Actions from the Heart Toward a Kinder World
Stephanie Madewell has an excellent plan for staying informed. (There are a ton of really good links throughout her post.)
While passing through Rolling Prairie, IN, late yesterday afternoon, the setting sun was behind us and cast this fiery red glow on the treetops along the interstate. I've never ever seen anything like this! It lasted no more than ten minutes and felt like sheer serendipity.