Crickets are gently chirping.
I hear the lap of the small lake, water flowing out of the man-made spicket.
A female cardinal lands on the bird feeder to my right, and is joined by a bright red male. He dips his head into the water, and leans back, his head almost disappearing into his neck . He repeats this several times before opening his beak as if to say,
“Ah, that’s refreshing.”
I couldn’t agree more.
My feet are placed up on the glass table as I view my parents’ backyard through the black screen, and take in the Virginia October dusk. My toes gently flex and curl, turning inwards in soft socks.
I feel myself settle, as I gaze upon this landscape I have seen for years, and take a long exhale. My shoulders drop.
This is home.
Where is yours?
Do you know that feeling? You are staring at the time, and somehow the clock has moved five times faster than it was supposed to. You have convinced yourself the hands are playing a cruel joke and defied science, actually affecting the passing of time.
How will I get everything done?
The thought swirls and your to-do list has become a mocking jester, his hat jingling as you sit dejected, overwhelmed, and tight.
You can feel your lungs closing up, and all you see is one giant picture, and it’s getting bigger, bigger, bigger. This picture includes everything:
10 years ago
Crushing you down…you sit paralyzed, confused, and frozen.
Take a breath.
Come back into your body.
Find your home.
Overwhelm is so common. We live in a fast-paced world, and as artists we are usually juggling several projects at a time. We care deeply about our expression and the shape it makes, how it is received, and the level we deliver.
So, what can we do in that overwhelm?
Focus in on the present. Right now.
Do you feel your breath?
Close your eyes and feel the light rise and fall of your soft belly.
Do you hear the crickets?
Do you hear the water?
What do you need in order to connect to that stillness?
Are you cultivating that in your life and making it a part of your every day?
Overwhelm comes from a lack of intimacy. Intimacy with our present moment. If we could stop, and just sit for a second, we would probably be surprised to realize we are still breathing. The jester would stop laughing, and we wouldn’t have all our energy on each ticking second.
And if we could sit in stillness for a moment, we would be able to hear what is truly going on, and what we need.
Imagine creating your art from that place.
Imagine creating your life from that place.
Cultivating the ability to center yourself will open us to the possibility of moving OUT of the overwhelm, and into empowerment. Then we will be able to take one step forward, instead of feeling we have to hold everything at once.
The most beautiful piece? This is available to you all the time.
You are actually a magnificent creator.
My parents’ backyard has changed so much over the course of the last 21 years. First there was a deck, then landscaping, then a porch, and now a bird sanctuary my father enjoys through his gardening and hanging feeders.
I have sat on the porch, viewing the water through adult laughter, through heartbreak, and through tears. For a long time, all I heard was an incessant noise, a drumming of perfectionism, and harsh self talk.
Was I good enough?
Why didn’t I get cast?
Did I sing that song well enough?
Will I ever get there?
Now I sit, writing to you, and all I hear are the crickets.
All I hear is the water.
I rock back and forth in the wicker bench and in my center, I breathe.
I am home.
Where is yours?