Overload

Where did five months go? My calendar was full. Not with work but with life. House, reading, visiting friends, dinners, baby shower, etc. And in between all of that starting a new venture that has been in the back of my mind for five years.

My to-do list always seemed to be too much and too longterm. Which meant the same things kept being carried over day after day after day. I still haven’t cleaned up my computer or my garage and God knows when that will happen. I know the computer especially is a necessary evil but because I am so computer illiterate I can’t imagine I will conquer that anytime soon.

Yes, I should hire someone to sit and help me but I haven’t taken the time to find the right person who will be knowledgeable, but more importantly, patient. I know I will have to strap myself down to go through it so I can’t imagine it will be any fun for someone holding my hand through the process.

I have said before my life worked even before computers and cell phones and all the other things that are now at my fingertips. But I have to admit it is a hell of a lot easier to find information, communicate for business and connect with people I have lost touch with over the years.

I know I get anxious when I don’t have any internet service because God forbid I miss that life changing email that will tell me what direction I should go in my life.

I am an information junkie and can spend hours just on google alone learning new things. I use to carry a book everywhere I went especially when I lived in NYC and spent many hours riding the subway. Now I pulled out my phone when I was riding the subway instead of the NYC Times or a magazine or book.

I must confess I still get the Sunday NYC Times delivered every week and have stacks of books by my bed to read. I still love the physical feel and the familiar smell of a new book. Old habits die hard.

But there are days when I feel overwhelmed and overloaded. And I’m not even working! How did I do it before? I just did. I was overtired and anxious and grumpy. I am starting a new project soon and feel better knowing I took that time to organize what was missing in my life. Me. I took the time to find out what I needed to somehow keep a bit of balance in my life and work.

Not saying that it will be perfect but I feel clearer now knowing where I want to go. I know my home is my haven and being able to come home to my own bed has been heaven.

Lamott

Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers. She has published 18 memoirs and her book, Bird by Bird, is an iconic book on writing. It was one of the first books I read when I decided to start writing. She is passionate, funny and thoughtful.

Her view of writing is right on the money. To quote Anne Lamott, “Books are as important as almost anything else on earth…unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

I have come to writing later in life. I am the same age as Anne Lamott. She has been a writer her whole life. She also has moments of writer’s block when faced with that empty page. She tells a story of her younger brother having to write a paper on birds and he waited until the last minute. He was close to tears overwhelmed with the huge task ahead of him. Her father, a writer, sat down next to him and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

I recently applied for a scholarship for an online writing course. Not knowing what to expect I figured I would write the reason why I want to take the course. I wrote as I do in my blogs, from the heart. Needless to say all of my doubts where right on the surface. I figured it was now or never. Out of 1900 entries from around the world they chose sixteen people and I was one of them. Yep, at 64 I am on my way. Who knows where it will take me. But as Anne Lamott’s father once said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Gut

The meaning of the gut when used as a noun is in reference to a feeling or reaction based on an instinctive emotional response rather than considered thought. Having a monkey mind I have many considered thoughts.

The Gut used as a verb is when it causes (someone) to feel extremely upset or disappointed. It guts me to think they were not being truthful.

I wanted to believe that the situation couldn’t or wouldn’t happen but my gut told me otherwise. It also pertains to having a gut feeling about a person. I have a bad habit of thinking that I am overreacting or being too sensitive or just not wanting to believe that my gut is telling me the truth.

My fear many times keeps me from trusting my gut. Because sometimes the truth, not my truth, but the truth is a hard pill to swallow. I don’t want to think the worse but sometimes that’s just the way it is. And I am now trying to really look at THE truth regardless of how hurtful it can be to me.

When I don’t feel good about myself it’s usually because I have to deal with the outcome of not going with my gut. I have to say in all these years my intuition (which I think is a good synonym) has not let me down. I’ve been the one who hasn’t been strong enough to face what the real deal is and not my idea of what I would like it to be.

My career always tests whether or not I am listening to what my inner voice is saying. Making the right decision for what is best for my own welfare and not making the decision for others. I did that a lot when I had to take care of my family even though there were times when I didn’t want to put myself in an awkward position.

Co-dependency challenged my gut many times and I usually listened to the voice that told me to buck up and be a team player even when it wasn’t for my best interest. Don’t get me wrong. There were decisions I made which helped me as well but I paid the price on the back end.

Going into the situation seemed to be “not so bad” (what we tell ourselves when we know our gut is saying NO!) and in the end wasn’t the right direction.

What not going with my gut has taught me is to learn from my mistakes and try not to make the same ones again. I guess what it comes down to is trusting yourself and…age. Yep, never thought I would go there but chalking up years on this earth has helped me to step back, listen and let things sit. Patience. Trust. Stillness. Still a work in progress. Hopefully, I have lots of years to practice.

What does my gut tell me to do now? Write, sculpt, sing, paint, listen, laugh, cry and just trust whatever comes up. To not let fear dictate what is in my head but to embrace what’s in my gut…and in my heart.