The Art of Sitting to Get Things Done
Hi. I know. This is late. I’m sorry. I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed with everything lately, and for some reason I seem to be going through one of my ‘I-need-inordinate-amounts-of-sleep’ phases. They happen from time to time – as some of you know all too well!
As a result, I’ve spent most of the last week feeling a little brain-dead. You know the sort of thing, poor concentration, lack of motivation, more emotional than rational. I’ve been stressing a little about what to write here. I’m starting to feel the pressure a little, with all the plans I have, my hopes to grow my readership, the sneaky thoughts that keep popping into my head about maybe going into writing a bit more when I get back to the UK… I keep reading blogs that say if any of that is going to come good I need to ‘deliver killer content,’ ‘become an authority,’ that kind of thing. That’s quite scary really – although I suppose it’s slightly less scary written down out here than it is circling around in my head the way it has been for the last fortnight now.
One of the things that’s been adding to it all is the fact that I’ve spent a very long time thinking,
“I don’t write – I can’t write.”
It started in school: “Two sides of creative writing before the end of the lesson. Go!”
It used to take me more three-quarters of the lesson just to write half a side. It was a damn good half a side (even if my 16-year-old self does say so), but there wasn’t much of a plot.
So all these thoughts have been running around in my head, scaring me witless, and wordless, and lurking in the shadows whenever I’ve tried to turn my attention to what I’m going to be writing for the next few weeks. It’s not limited to the blog either. I’m writing more and
more in my day-to-day work – grown-up-official-writing in the planning documents, very-grown-up-slightly-theological items for the Bishop, what I hope is friendly-and-encouraging-but-not-patronising-or-scary copy, advertising our upcoming Alpha course, an accurate-and-interesting report on what I’ve done so far for those wonderful people who’ve sponsored me to be here… the list goes on…
That’s a lot of writing for someone who “can’t write.”
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Then at the end of last week, as I was trying to figure out what was wrong (so that I could fix it),
a very good friend of mine asked me if I’d taken any time “just to sit” recently.
Of course, my answer was no. I’m only here for a year, so I’ve been running around trying to make sure I’m experiencing things, trying to work out how I’m going find the time to write about the experiences, even better to analyse some of them for you guys, trying to sort out practicalities for visiting friends and relations, to sort out permission to even stay in the country!* Trying to pretend that I can function just as well in the middle of the day here as I could in the UK – when it’s actually really quite hot now.
So I took the advice. I sat.
I did little that I didn’t want to do and what I did, I did in my own time. I chilled out, watched the rugby and didn’t feel bad about not making arrangements to meet a friend. I acknowledged that I wasn’t just watching the rugby, I was allowing myself to rest, which I clearly needed to do or I wouldn’t be sleeping so much! I passed out for about three hours on Sunday afternoon, but refused to feel bad about it when I woke up. And I did the first bit of real scrap-booking since I arrived (digital just doesn’t quite do it for me I’m afraid). Just me time. No thoughts about ‘coulds’ or ‘oughts’ or ‘shoulds.’
And I do feel better. I feel like I’ve learnt something (or, more properly, revised it) about the importance of actively looking after me if I’m to stand a chance of getting done everything that I want to do. It’s a lesson I forget too often – although goodness knows I’ve had enough reminders in the past!
I’m still not quite right yet. Although I’m writing this post now, I’m not publishing it tonight – I’m going to bed and I’ll find and add the links tomorrow. I can’t promise I’ll get the McItaly inspired post about culture that’s sprouting in the back of my head out onto the page any time soon either… but I’ll try. Probably. After I’ve sat some more. Hope that’s ok with you.
*I’m allowed to stay until the beginning of May now – and I owe a colleague
a great deal of thanks for taking it off my plate of things to worry about.