As I write this post, I am sitting outside of a cafe in Monterey, CA. My body, mind, and spirit are heavy after 24 hours of reacting to the Monterey Park mass shooting and from navigating that situation as one who has many thoughts about gun violence, race, and the Asian American community. All the while, with a book deadline looming and a new work gig starting, I am also trying not to beat myself up for not getting as much done as I had hoped during this week’s writing retreat.
Now before anyone starts with capitalism, toxic productivity, ennegram 3, overachiever, oldest child unsolicited pep-talk, know that these characters have been engaged in a raging battle within me for my entire life. That said, toss in a little long covid, earned wisdom, and no longer trying to climb the ecclesiastic ladder of professional ministry without actually looking like I am trying to climb the ecclesiastical latter of professional ministry; I have done a pretty good job at holding the toxic productivity clowns at bay.
Embracing defeat for the week, last night I sent a note to my editor asking for a month extension on a deadline that I had every intention of making — not a good feeling. While I have enjoyed the process and my early writing has been good, this week, the words were just not flowing as I had hoped. Sure, I was confident that she would say yes, I mean, my editor is awesome, and I am sure I am not the first author not to make a deadline, but still, I really did think I had this one planned out well.
Alas, I just had to seek a little grace, and it was offered.
I do not share this to elicit words of advice or rally folks to any anti-capitalism battle, but rather to acknowledge that we all have to navigate an increasingly winding, nuanced, and complex life of our work, life, play, rest, and calling. Like so many, even at 53 years old, every day I attempt to find harmony between doing what brings me joy, what gives me life, how I honor professional commitments, participating in the economy with integrity, making a positive impact in the world, being reflective about how I make that impact, and trying to be a sliver of the kind of human that my puppies appear to believe that I am.
This week while capped off with the horrifying shooting in Monterey Park, after weeks upon weeks of rain, I also got to spend time in the sun. Maybe the words were simply not meant to be and I just needed to sit in the sun. Not sure if you folks know this, but toxic productivity clowns hate the sun.
Take that, you stoopid clowns.
Of course, I have the personal resources and professional life situation that enable me to take this time, but damn if I had forgotten how much that warmth, blue sky, and crisp air feeds me.
This afternoon I head back home, not with as many words as I had hoped the spirit was to inspire, but with a photosynthesized face full of sun that will prime my soul with enough fuel to reboot, reset and get this book finished.
I have no doubt the words will come, for the sun beckons forth hope in the morning. There is no grand lesson here, only my hope that, as you deal with whatever you are facing in your life, whatever your spirit is juggling, or whatever is weighing heavy on your heart; you find what is sun to you and have the room, time, and space to bask in it for as long as you need.
Peace be with you.