I feel guilty.
I want to work.
I need to produce.
I’ve been writing two crappy pages a day. And what I’ve accumulated is exclusively crap.
There is a child technologist, the father of four, who is working some invisible magic on my webpage while I bark directions at him IN ALL CAPS through our chat window.
I must re-order business cards because Isaac ran an orange sharpie along the top edge of a stack of five hundred.
I cannot get the sidebar right on the home page. People, tell me what to do.
Oh, and I didn’t mention that I’m on vacation.
At a resort with the words “WHERE TIME STANDS STILL” inscribed permanently over its front door.
Work magically expands to fill the time we have. It’s Parkinson’s law.
I can devote ten minutes or ten hours to a pesky chapter.
Often, however, my best writing just comes. With little effort.
The magic happens at the intersection of belief and inspiration.
I lose myself in the idea, in the flow of words, in sharing what I love, what changed my life, what gives meaning to my days.
Inspiration cannot be forced.
But it can be cultivated.
By doing nothing.
By playing. Looking outside myself, to the mountains or the ocean or a piece or art. Or during a stolen midnight conversation with my best friend back East after the six children we have between us are sleeping soundly.
I love to listen to podcasts as I walk. I stockpile phone calls to return so I can do so while walking my beloved Highline Canal Trail and clocking 14,000 steps. But counting steps or booking travel reservations turns me into the bitchy woman who threatened the dry cleaner that I would make her life “a bloody living hell” until my undergarments were located and secured.
I want to wear my learning, my recovery, my beliefs like a loose garment, as my now departed OA friend Naomi would say.
Books like “I Don’t Know How She Does It” create the fantasy that in one day I can fly round trip to LA for a meeting, FaceTime the teacher about my child’s generous use of the “F” word, dessert with colleagues over homemade keto chocolate soufflé while monitoring the kids in the hot tub and directing Alexa to gather holiday presents for a needy family of six my husband “adopted.”
But this is not my life.
I’m learning to say no.
To do less.
I’ve stopped giving extravagant birthday presents to every overprivileged urchin whose mother happens to add my name to an Evite list.
For those mothers reading, who have received an actual present, congratulations, it means I really like you. Or I had a passable re-gift to send your way.
I’m not mean.
I’m seeking meaning.
Which means eliminating.
Creating more solitude.
More time to do nothing.
To read or hike or to stare at the sky.
To chat with my child as his eyelids get heavy instead of creating more sophisticated Pinterest boards than those of my frienemies.
To drive to the Sedona Desert.
We are playing.
And doing nothing.
© Liora Powers