Be Kind to Your Mind
An Anthem for a Certain Age

When You Follow Your Own Advice


It's about time for the midyear check-in on my word theme for the year: to record ahas about how things are going and if any shifts have taken place. And, then I share them with you.

Well, I've been stuck around the sharing part. Stuck. Ironically, my word this year is Motion. I've been stuck in motion. 

The truth is I've been in the midst of massive motion lately, lots going on in my work life, and changing locations, from LA to Austin, to be near family for the foreseeable future. So, massive motion swirling - physical, energetic, mental, material, emotional. All in about a three-month span. 

So how did that lead to a feeling of being stuck in motion?

I haven't been writing. As a creative being in a mad love affair with words, not writing regularly feels like a piece is missing; a big enough piece that it permeates everything else. Barely eeked-out paragraphs and an occasional journal entry have seeped through, but my daily writing commitment has gone by the wayside. I've been in a bit of a quandary about it, beating myself up, at times questioning my drive and desire. 

Then, one morning as I lie in bed asking myself why it's been happening and what could I do about it, I thought of a life-changing experience I had a couple of years ago where the advice I gave myself in the big moment was a just tiny thought, a simple charge. When asked how I did it, I said, "just the next step." 

It got me thinking about following our own advice and what a good reminder that is. We most often know exactly what we need at a given moment. 

So I sat with that. Just the next step. What is the next step? My next step was to journal about it and that entry became the genesis for this post. Feels good to put some words together and share again. 

A daily writing habit still felt far away. Judgment still crept in: what about the other stuff you're supposed to be, wanting to be, writing. The stuck was still stuck. 

My writing teacher gave me a small portal when I lamented to her about it. I used to be so prolific, I say. I don't know what's wrong with me, I say. She said She's still in there, your writer, your characters, your ideas. Ready to welcome you back when you're ready.

Then, it hit me: What would it feel like to actually take a break, and call it a break? A writing break.


What is taking a break?

It's stepping away, a pause, a planned breather from the thing you're not doing anyway and beating yourself about it. It's not putting it on the calendar nor the to-do list. It's not fretting about it. 

Feels kinda scary. 

And, new. Not new in the sense of, for me, not writing. But, new in the idea of planning not to write. Because writing is always in the back of my mind: gotta write, gonna write, want to get my words in, daily pages. I didn't write. 

It also takes the pressure off. Much of the time we like pressure, time crunches, deadlines, pushing ourselves to complete, excel. Yep, I'm there with you. But, breaks are necessary. Settling into it feels like taking the foot off the gas pedal and setting cruise control. A long exhale. 

FOMO creeps in a little like I'll miss an idea or lose valuable time. But, back to my teacher's words: she's ready to welcome you back when you're ready. 

When the break is over. 

Back to following my own advice: Just the next step. 

I have it. The next step is a planned vacay from writing. It's already on my calendar. I'm already feeling withdrawals. And, space. 

I'm sure I'll write about it. 

What advice of your own do you often heed? 

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash