The way out

August turned out to be a good month for me. The Awakening series did what I wanted it to do: it woke me up to the stories and goodness all around. I was riding on momentum, a wave of productivity that felt abundant. When I'm on a creative high like that, it never occurs to me that it won't last forever. Seriously. It's the way I think when my words feel accessible; when I'm able to get them out and onto the page with relative ease. 

As August slipped into September, I shifted that energy to a personal writing goal that had been hovering. When I got to my designated stopping point, I decided it was okay to give my brain a break for a couple of days. But when I take a break after a period of feeling productive and accomplished, it never feels the way I want it to feel—I want it to feel like I'm floating on a raft in a tropical place sipping on the lime in the coconut. Instead it feels like I'm a battery-operated Thomas the Train that is stuck up against the wall or has tipped over and is trapped under the couch. I'm not moving forward, but my wheels are still spinning. I am down, aimless and discouraged. 

Now, this is the point where "normal" people will think, "I know exactly what you mean," or they will think, "Perhaps you should go see someone about that." But I've come to understand that this is just what happens when I lose momentum, even if the downshift is intentional. So I go through the motions until I feel myself lifting out of the hopeless haze. 

I had been doing just that—going through the motions—when Blake, Cate and I walked down to the pond near our house. It's right there, but we rarely go. I grabbed two pieces of bread and my camera, and we headed out the door. 

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Can you see the turtles back there? They were not that interested in our bread, but Blake was determined to share.

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And Cate decided not to share.

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And then she got stuck on the hill. 

 

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Really? A little help here! 

 I'm still learning how to work my camera, and I didn't have time to fiddle with the settings (I had a kid to save, obviously) so I flipped the dial to automatic. 

And in the midst of all this, I realized I wasn't going through the motions anymore. The cloud lifted. The words came back. It happened after I gave myself permission to stop striving.  I found my ease, and I found my way out. Every time, it's the same way out.