rocks by gina sekelsky studioSo you're on vacation, away from home, away from distraction, able to focus on simply tossing a rock in the water or reading a book, and you wonder:  how can I bring a piece of this back to my daily world?  I think it every time, and every time I'm blindsided when I go back to the realities of said daily world.  I make a lot of conscious choices throughout my day, and I'm grateful to have a full and busy and happy life.  I also know there must be a way to reclaim some of that vacation feeling, if only for a short burst here and there.  (The key for me will be making those short bursts happen a lot more often.) First step, I collected a few of the smallest, smoothest rocks to put in a bowl on my worktable.  If I need a five minute break, there they are:  I couldn't possibly feel these without being mentally transported back to the beach.  (Ironically, when we go to the agate beaches on the north shore of Lake Superior, I almost never collect rocks.  I'm the one sitting in the shade reading a book.) Second step (and this is something I'm constantly thinking about, but never progressing with), making my days more efficient:  doing the work I love, trying not to be distracted by things that are clearly not restorative (checking email, looking at facebook, quick read of that newspaper article that continues on page A8).  I think that means doing the work I love with more commitment and focus, so that my leisure time can be more meaningful too.  If I stick to it during the day, I could read for a good twenty minutes while the kids have their afternoon snack.  (Yes, I know they're 12 & 15.  I still make them an afternoon snack, because I can. And there's mutiny when I can't.) This morning as I was driving my daughter to her poetry class (isn't that awesome?), I let a few people merge into my lane and I actually thought, "Well that looks like a guy who's on his way to work.  He's probably in more of a hurry than I am."  Wait a minute!  After I dropped my daughter off, I was on my way to work. might be time (after only 21 years) to start treating my work like a real job.  Other than setting boundaries like not checking my work email in the evenings or on Sundays, I haven't been so great about the details.  What about earning vacation days like everyone else?  Or a designated lunch hour?  Third step, act like an employee.  For three days in a row, I've gotten up and started the day by getting dressed and eating breakfast -- not going down to the computer to answer emails (see distractions above) in my pajamas for an hour (or three).  Maybe that's a baby step, but it feels pretty big to me. Three things is plenty for me to concentrate on.  But...I've also been trying all year to figure out how to make the most of that liminal state between sleeping and waking, before I get dressed and "start the day."  As a creative person, I know there's energy to harness there.  I tried getting emails out of the way (are you getting the feeling you shouldn't email me? that's really not what I'm meaning to say), I tried writing morning pages, I tried setting an intention for the day.  Reading my book on that rocky beach, and wanting to learn more about work habits, I decided to try reading first thing.  (Reading seems to be one of the few things that is truly restorative for me.)  And I am reading habits!  Or, more acurately, I am reading a book that I think will give me some insight into the choices I make each day. gifts of imperfectionThe Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.  (I'm hoping the title will grow on me.)  Instead of saying, "The next time I have a chunk of time, I'm going to explore Brene Brown's website," I decided to use that transition between sleep and awake to read a few pages of this book.  To give my day intention and focus and hopefully add a few more tools to my toolbox.  Now I just need to get my own copy, so I can write in it too.
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4 Responses to Coming home + Wednesday Book Club.

  1. CJ says:

    A great post Gina, you have made me think about my use of time, especially that most creative and energetic time first thing in the morning. Strict routines are quite hard to impose when you don’t have to I think.

  2. chel says:

    This is an amazing, thought-provoking post. I’m sort of in a process of figuring out “what’s next” and how to go about it so this is perfect food for thought at the moment. Thank you!

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