is for lingering
I like to pay attention to the rhythm of things. Both in the natural world and my internal world. It’s always an ongoing process, and I’m always learning new things, seeing things differently, integrating, tweaking, beginning new cycles, closing out old.
Sometimes it feels like I’m layering things. I often imagine it as those printed transparency pages, where as you lay one page layer on the next more of the picture becomes filled. So one of the layers is the rhythm of the natural world – the seasons; the lunar cycles; sun rising and setting; seeding, growing, blossoming, fruiting, dying, composting, new beginnings. There are also the conventional rhythms we’ve collectively agreed to: calendar months, weeks, 24-hour days, work time, play time, night-time sleep. And then there are personal rhythms – am I in a creative frenzy, a place of withdrawn contemplation, listening to my heart, or acting from my brain, feeling restless or inspired? Every day we navigate these things. And of course we can do it unconsciously – we wake up and “have” our day. It doesn’t actually require conscious effort. But when we bring our awareness to the rhythm – when we can find the places where all the various rhythms and patterns connect and overlap, support each other or rub against each other – that’s where it gets interesting. I’m not a surfer, but I imagine it’ the same sort of thing. Looking, evaluating, diving in, riding, sometimes wiping out, but always, always, always inviting us back in again.
Right now I’m in one of those periods where I’ve managed to fill my calendar with a whole lot of projects. They’re all things I want to do, and this Spring-Summer cycle really amps up my creative inspiration and my productivity so the natural rhythm is to welcome more expansiveness. But for me it’s always a fine balancing point between keeping inspired by dozens of I-love-exploring-this projects and the point where it feels like I’ve tipped over into too much on my plate.
But you see that’s all good information. That’s part of my rhythm. And then the dance begins – how do I navigate this? What works and feels great? What doesn’t? How can I maximize the joy factor? How can I eliminate the ouch-ouch-ouchy parts?
So now while I’m at the point where I get to decide is this deliciously full or ridiculously and unpleasantly chaotic, this is exactly the right point to step in with some practices to keep myself centered, present, open to the excitement without caving into the overwhelm. And so what’s called for is lingering.
This of course sounds counterproductive. When the to-do list is exponential is lingering really a good idea? Well, yes, I declare it is. For me it helps me slow down so I don’t feel swept away and in that slowing down I invite time to be my abundant ally – to open up so I can enter the next task or project or moment with more presence, more grace, more ease and comfort.
So I make time to linger with a cup of morning coffee with my husband as we sit on the front porch. I linger a moment at the vase of peonies I have on my office altar before moving on to the next project. I linger for a moment to read a short story before turning my attention to something else. I linger for a moment to take some flower essence drops. I linger for a moment to anoint myself with some essential oils, and pause to really let the scent catch hold of me.
Two of the essential oils that are particularly helpful to me at this particular time in my finding balance rhythm are lavender and lemon. (And how lovely they are also L words to add to my L is for… list)
Lavender is one of the most versatile essential oils. It’s well known for its ability to calm stress and anxiety, and so it’s a good choice when the feelings of overwhelm and chaos are on the rise. Take a moment to linger with this one and get back into a calm space.
Lemon essential oil is very uplifting and energizing, and helps improve concentration. So I like to linger with this one for a moment when I’m ready to move on to the next project with renewed focus.
There you have it, my formula for balance when feeling overwhelmed by the to-do list. Take time to linger, calm down with lavender, and refresh with lemon.
Here’s today’s index card for the Daisy Yellow ICAD challenge:
So tell me, where are you on the balance scale – where you want to be, feeling a bit overwhelmed, looking for something(s) to capture your attention? Do you pay more attention to outside rhythms or internal rhythms? Do you prefer lavender or lemon? Have any centering/balancing tips to share? Do tell, you know I love to hear.