in the direction of balance

boat on tomales bay, pushed onto shore, weathered and wornIt’s a Friday, and my phone voicemail has been turned off — I called the AT&T people to get their help because I coudn’t remember my vm password, and instead they reset the vm and told me I could get my voicemails as soon as I re-set up vm on my iphone. Oh, right on– thanks for that help.

So, I’m so sorry: if you’ve called, I have now lost that message and your number and everything. Getting a new phone today, and we’ll start all over.


This week’s workshops have been gorgeous: some painful, some laughter, lots of fierce writing.

(fierce/fi(ə)rs/Adjective: definition 2. (of a feeling, emotion, or action) Showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity.)


I’m in that quiet that comes in the eye of the hurricane — swirling around me is everything I’m not doing, all the work calling to me, the growth and the work that needs doing just to sustain what’s already happening: the phone calls, the outreach, the development, each piece, each voice pushing at me: This needs taking care of. Where are you?

Yes, there’s a house that needs cleaning. Yes, there’s a book that’s needed writing for 6 years: where am I?

My horoscope (we love rob brezny) for this week says:

You’re not exceptionally scared of the dark, Pisces, but sometimes you seem to be intimidated by the light. You can summon the spunky courage to go crawling on your hands and knees through dank tunnels and spooky caves in quest of treasure that’s covered in primordial goo, but you may play hard to get when you’re offered the chance to unburden yourself of your cares in wide-open spaces. What’s up with that? Don’t get me wrong: I’m proud of your capacity to wrestle with the shadows in the land of the lost; I’m gratified by your willingness to work your karma to the bone. But I would also love you to get a share of rejuvenating rest and ease now and then. Do you think you could manage to have it both ways? I do.

again the weathered boat, but from a wider angle: there's the grass and the mountains and the bay, behindHow many ways does this resonate? I’ve become accustomed to the work of digging, of unearthing, of the difficult writing, of the walking with folks in their difficult story-tellings. It’s hard to stand still and let it all wash clean: there’s so much more that needs doing. There’s more that needs unearthing: we’re not done. And yet, when I don’t stop (I can’t/there’s no time/how could you possibly pause?), I get a little bit bone-crazy. The stopping still happens, but not intentionally. Instead it’s more like a freezing up, a numbing, a locking away from what’s important.

So the pausing has to become part of the ritual, part of my routine. The part where I get up and walk away from the computer even though there’s no time. The part where I watch a terrible movie and laugh or cry even though all the work is still waiting, even though the work is piling up. The part where I step back so I can take a deeper breath, take a wider view.

This, again, is the work of Trauma Stewardship (which I still encourage everyone to read/practice — I got to review it for the latest issue of make/shift, which I’d also encourage you to find and read and subscribe to and share with all your friends and lovers and colleagues and neighbors): know that if you don’t take care of yourself (Jen, I’m talking to you), the work you love can’t continue. You can’t sustain it. If you don’t make room for balance to happen, balance won’t happen.  If your routine is too rigid, you will fall over when something new arises — when you lose your phone, for example, and need to devote an afternoon to getting a new one instead of doing the email correspondence that you’d planned for that day.

Trauma Stewardship practice helps me develop and sustain my elasticity, my flow. Helps me remember how to bend in the wind and not break.

Of course, part of my self-care is also making solid time for my work, not disappearing entirely and letting everything, any balls I was juggling, fall to the ground (which was an important part of my survival strategy for many years).

So, this work of balance. Of course correction.

Want to take a few minutes and write/think about a small course correction you could make for yourself today? In the direction of the balance you’re striving for? Every small action adds up.

Thank you for your generosity, for the ways you quiet and the ways you shout: I’m grateful for you!

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