The Power of Downshifting

1956_MGA_Rick_Feibusch_2012When I was a teenager I learned how to drive a stick shift on my father’s vintage 1950’s MGB convertible. He’d bought it from a neighbor for $1.00. Pulling a cord tucked into the inside of the car door, opened the door. I took the solid hard top off to cruise in style to high school and the plastic windows slid side-to-side. To slow the car down, without applying the brakes, I learned how to downshift. Using the clutch and gear shift I changed the manual transition to a lower gear to slow the car down.

This past spring, I metaphorically downshifted,  I slowed my activities down and simplified.  I had an abundance of good things but too little time. I needed to take several volunteer and professional responsibilities off my plate in order to open space for other priorities. You can read more about it in the essay I wrote for the Fairfield Writer’s Blog, A Writer’s Choice: My Seven Steps to Saying Goodbye to Something I Love. Wanting to have more time to be with my high school senior in the college looking and applying process, I felt sad letting all my volunteer work go, but I knew the benefits of a calmer Mom. The hardest activity for me to stop was one that I’d been leading for seven years. It was an on-going Writing Critique Group,

However, the previous winter, my boss asked me to lead a different kind of writing group on the Saturdays that I was already working. Agreeing to it I planned on leading both, totally different writing groups, in two different libraries. Now, as I prepare for the new group starting in September, I’m  reminded that the Universe works in mysterious ways. Last spring I downshifted to ease off and allow space, in doing so I let go of something I deeply enjoyed. Yet, I gained being more available to our son. More time means I can access my humor more often. Now that I’m developing my curriculum for the new Creative Writing Workshop that I’ll be leading on the third Saturday of every month starting September 19, 2015 at Pequot Library, I’m back in my inventive flow again.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Trust that when you let something go, you might be surprised at what the Universe puts in its place.

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Finding Beauty

Today is the Summer Solstice and I’m gearing up for my summer schedule. My work and personal responsibilities increase during the hot, languid days so I’m learning how to balance it all season by season.

This Spring, for a variety of reasons, most of our lush yard got out of hand. We currently can’t keep up with it! My summer mantra is “Finding Beauty.” I’m going to see the orange tiger lily and not the weeds. I’m going to write and not prune.

I’m giving myself permission to not have the prettiest yard on the street. I want to have fun this summer, spend happy times with my family and friends, and not spend all my spare time completing chores on our property.

After Labor Day I’ll let you know how I did. As usual I take a break from writing this Creativity and Wellness blog over the summer. If you want to stay in touch, come to my writing seminar Create a Writer’s Platform at the Darien Library on August 9. Or read my posts about writing and creating a writer’s website on the Fairfield Writer’s Blog. Or chill out, sip a cool libation and wiggle your toes in soothing water. Until September, enjoy your times of warmth and relaxation.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Choose the fullness of beauty.

Immersion

Watching a scarlet cardinal splish and splash in the bird bath this morning caused me to stop my responsibilities of the moment and just be delighted by the scene. The image of the red bird wriggling from head to tip of tail in the cobalt blue ceramic dish, with a background of emerald green lawn appealed to me.

I was struck by the bird’s total immersion in its activity. It reminded me of my day last week at BookExpo America. BEA is the largest North American publishing trade show. Just like the cardinal I dove into the trade show experience full on. You can read more about it in the Fairfield Writer’s Blog where I penned a report.

This morning, the ease of the cardinal in the bath reminded me of those things that help an artist or writer be in their zone of creativity. At BEA I heard the author Cornelia Funke speak about her writing process. What fascinated me was learning that she started her career as an illustrator. This explains her use of visual objects to inspire her writing. She writes in what she calls her “writing house,” a small building on her California property, formerly owned by the actress Faye Dunaway. Built-in shelves originally lined the walls to hold Dunaway’s dramatic awards. Funke now uses the shelves to hold bits and pieces of color, texture, symbol, and shape as fodder for her imagination. As an artist I can relate to the comfort zone of using the visual to enhance the written.

Creativity and wellness message for today: What is your zone of creativity? What can you use to expand your awareness and deepen your expression?

Things Ain’t Perfect

* Up early today (as usual)

* Helping others get out the door (as usual)

* Forfeited my morning walk (too wet and cold)

* Was productive in my home office by 8AM. Finished my preparations for the dreamwork program I’m giving tomorrow, wrote my blog entry for Fairfield Writer’s Blog and completed a week’s worth of work, all before I leave to go to my job. Is anyone else exhausted reading this? Then a loved one calls and tells me about his grueling day at work and I hear the phrase “Things Ain’t Perfect.” Somehow those three words soothe my fraying nerves.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Owning the truth can set you free. Without judgement, the simple acknowledgement of a fact is empowering.