I have this inner voice that hisses at me when it thinks I’m not spending time as I should. I want it to shut the eff up. If I’m working on the novel, I should be practicing, if I’m practicing, I should be working on a grant proposal, or some new submissions, or I should be running, or maybe even cleaning house, or cooking dinner.
I feel so divided these days, my mind always in many places at once, fully present in none.
My wise friend Sarah W. Bartlett wrote about wholeness last week, and it really resonated with me. I feel the stress of serving many masters. The irony, however, is that all the masters are me. It is my own expectations that I bounce up against, my own desire to optimize at all angles. The reality is that it’s not possible.
I am one being, one person. I am not a pie chart. I cannot be divided into parts and percentages, each one fighting for a share of the whole. Each one cannot grow infinitely without straining the resources of the others. The only way to grow is to build a bigger pie, which requires each element to create more energy than it burns.
Artistic endeavors can fill my soul, can move it beyond its natural boundaries, but only if I remember that I am just one person. I am not a writer, or an artist or a musician or a mother. I am all of these things, together. And to balance these needs I have to view them in sum total. I cannot be a house divided.
So I choose to pursue whatever moves me at any given point in time, be it music, or writing, or sleep, or a really large cup of coffee. As long as it serves the whole rather than itself. Which means housework can wait. Talk to you later–going for a run.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph by Mark Morgan ©2011 Creative Commons