Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Can everyone count on you?

"For most of my adult life, I'd prided myself in my competence and sense of responsibility. I was always the one people could count on to get the job done. I'd been sabotaging myself with my own sense of duty, pushing my needs aside to take care of everything else." - Diane Dreher, author of The Tau of Womanhood (p. 32).

Sound familiar? It was so familiar I not only underlined and put several asterisks next to it on my personal copy of the book, I called my mother and read it to her. My mother is a great woman in many ways, but she's very old fashioned in giving more of herself than she should and having nothing left to give others. After forty years of marriage she feels guilty if she calls dad at work and tells him to pick up dinner on the way home because she doesn't feel like cooking. Now, I'm not saying this to put down my mother, but to illustrate that we all have our limits, but when we reach them, because so many have depended upon us to do so much for them for so very long, people balk at our changes. Then, feeling guilty, we back off. That's no way to lead a creative life.

I am very lucky in that I live in a time and place that allows me to walk away from one of my vocations in order to follow my dreams. You may not have that luxury. You can still take baby steps. Diane Dreher went to a doctor who asked her three simple questions:
1. How much sleep are you getting (Not enough.)
2. How much exercise are you getting? (Not enough.)
3. How much vegetables are in your diet? (You guessed it....)
Diane's doctor prescribed two activity sessions per day of 15 minutes, and it didn't need to be some harsh butt kicking aerobic exercise that was beyond her energy level.

So, my challenge to myself, and to you is this:
Get 15 minutes of creative activity into your day.

It can be five minutes at a time, three times a day, or 15 minutes all at once. You decide. Don't make excuses. Don't start doing chores that "have to be done" and promise to get back to yourself later. It won't work and you'll keep falling into the same trap I do, my mom does, and Diane did.

If you do that for yourself, you might also have the energy to follow the three directives from Diane's doctor: 1. Get enough sleep. 2. Exercise 15 minutes at a clip, twice a day. 3. Each several serving of fresh vegetables per day. It can only help you. Why not try it?

Also, if you're looking for inspiration and fellowship, pick up a copy of Diane's book, The Tao of Womanhood, published by Quill (and imprint of HarperCollins), and read how she "combines the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching with straightforward advice." I read my copy in one day, just picking it up between other activities. It is now part of my recommended reading library for creative women!

Until later, keep striving to be your most authentic creative self!

No comments: