Time Off


I finished the sample chapters of my new book yesterday morning. Actually, I didn’t so much finish them as realize I was ready for some feedback, and so sent them off to my agent with a cheery note. It was 6:30 AM. I knew I hadn’t really completed anything, but I felt done, and when I feel done, I just can’t start something else or do anything else. It was time for a day off.

Surprise days off sound great until you’re in the middle of one. Especially when you know you haven’t really finished anything, when you haven’t typed, The End, when there’s plenty else to do. By about 8:00 AM, I began to regret my choice. There were only so many articles to read, so much news I wanted to watch, games I wanted to play. Still, I had made a decision, and every time I thought of starting something, of working, I felt sad. Once I close the door to work, I can only open it if I’m inspired. Opening it without inspiration is an invitation to something worse than boredom.

As it happens, while I was waiting for a game I was going to play to load, I had an idea for two new chapters for the book. While the loading screen pulsed on my computer, I grabbed a pad and wrote the titles and a few notes. That’s it. I had no more to write, and the game was up. But in the single minute I spent putting pen to paper, I felt that calming, timeless, patient connection to where all new things come from. Without trying, something got done, and I felt happy.

I know I shouldn’t measure my days by what I’ve accomplished. In fact, I shouldn’t measure my days at all. Whenever I do it, I feel like I’m keeping score in a game I’m inventing as I go along. Winning is always cheating, and losing is pure death: a wasted day. What a terrible thought, that time can be wasted. As if I should live every moment listening to the clock ticking down to my last second. Viewed this way, time becomes the opposite of everything I love, becomes the opposite of love itself – an ever-dwindling commodity that cannot be shared, only spent.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.