by Annette Dashofy
The saying goes “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Only don’t ask me next week.
Yesterday morning I started to slip into a meltdown. I had tons of excuses for going all weepy. Unemployed husband with no good prospects in sight. Potentially needing to find that dreaded “real job” in spite of all efforts to avoid such nonsense. No time to write. Too many demands.
But as I blew my nose, wiped my eyes, and settled into my early morning yoga practice, the true reality of the situation came to light. My well is dry.
I’ve been pouring out all my energy in many different directions from mentoring new Avon representatives to coordinating a day-long writing workshop for Pennwriters to heading up the job hunt for Hubby to caring for my 90-year-old mom. I love all of these tasks. But you can’t keep giving it away without replenishing the reserves.
No wonder my writing has been such a struggle. Not only am I trying to cram a page in here and a page in there; I’m trying to tap into an emotional well that has been exhausted.
In that moment of clarity, when I diagnosed the source of my meltdown, I also knew what I needed to do to fix it.
Years ago I read a book called The Right to Write by Julia Cameron. In it, she devotes a chapter to "The Well" and talks about restocking the pond by going on an Artist Date. Once weekly, she goes on a solitary expedition to something that interests her. Perhaps a museum or a favorite store. The main requirements are that it be someplace fascinating and to go alone.
In my current situation, another requirement is that it be cheap.
Another name I’ve used for “refilling the well” is a Mental Health Day. But I need way more than that. I need a Mental Health Week.
As it happens, Hubby will be out of town for several days next week.
I was supposed to have a dentist appointment during one of those days.
I cancelled it. I’ve cleared my schedule. If you want/need me to do something next week, the answer is NO!
The plan is to practice yoga in the quiet solitude of my empty house. (Cats don’t count. Cats soothe the wounded soul.) Then I shall write and I shall read. Meals will consist of Lean Cuisine and pizza delivery. I plan to take some long evening walks. I also plan to take one of those Artist Dates, but I haven’t chosen a destination yet. And when I do, I probably won’t tell anyone.
So when was the last time you took a Mental Health Day or went on an Artist Date? And where do you recommend as a good location for one? What recharges your batteries and refills your well?