A candle is burning in the kitchen, the smell of winter and fire and woods wafting toward me and wrapping me in a soft embrace. My little ones are only a few feet away, building pirate ships and get-away boats out of Legos on the rug, the fireplace aglow. I’ve made a latte, the sound of Norah Jones’ voice moving through the room. I create this scene almost daily, our afternoon ritual during the change of season. I sit, ready to write in this space – something, anything. But nothing comes. I wait a little longer. Now my shoulders feel less soft and embraced, my neck beginning to get tense. Frustrated, I delete my start, stare at a blank screen and ultimately decide to move along to something else.
I do wonder if other mamas struggle like I do? Something tells me the answer is yes, that I am not alone. I do wonder sometimes how to do it all – be that mama who can create and deliver while balancing the tasks of parenting, and more importantly, how to do it all in a way that leaves me feeling like I contributed quality and not merely quantity.
For the record, I do not have writer’s block. What I have right now is a need for quiet and contemplation. Like the autumnal season itself, we are busy in our home this time of year gathering, readying, preparing to make peace with the darkness that lies ahead, and carving out time to honor and celebrate the holidays. Inside, I feel merriment and quiet change, equally. In this place, my thoughts are still, gaining strength, and I am gathering. Ideas move through me these days like blazing leaves flowing down a soft, trickling stream. And then these ideas simply get stuck on a branch or a rock. And now there is a new shape, a new form, another story. Instead of fighting this voice in my head that says, “Yet you still must produce” , I choose not to fight. I simply surrender.
Amidst the change of season, I could also mention the constant distractions. For example, I’ve walked away from the computer three times already since starting this post to mediate the sharing of two tiny white windows and six thumbnail sized tires, creamy paws grabbing while soft gravelly voices declare, “No Feo. I need dat for mine house!”, or, “Sully, those tires are part of my landing gear”. So I’ve resolved a problem, restored peace, and I’ve also wiped out that profound thought I was just going to share with you. Alas.
Where am I going with all of this? Well, amidst it all I’ve been bathing myself in the solitude of these past weeks, thinking something will emerge. I can already feel it trying to wriggle its way out. As the leaves fade and monochrome begins to surrounds us, I suspect a layer of quiet in my soul will remain. But I also feel a strengthening in the hollows of my bones from all of this quiet contemplation. And it is here that I fill up on fuel to propel my life – our life forward. Something deeply has changed and I am looking forward to greeting that change and telling you all about it. For now though, I think I’ll put my feet up and read a magazine while I watch my little ones create. One inspiration at a time.