Pushing pause

"I'm so busy, I don't have time to breathe." How many of us have said or thought that? I know I do, quite often.

There are a lot of things in my life that are uncertain right now. Uncertainty and lack of control are not my favorite feelings, but many of my uncertainties are because of things I cannot control, or even affect. My response to this is to focus more on the things I can control, which sounds very healthy, until I sit back and realize that one of the few things I can control is my writing.

To put it more clearly, my coping strategy is to work. A lot.

This is, of course, a healthier coping strategy than drinking to excess, or trying various and sundry mind-altering substances, or sleeping with inappropriate people. But overwork still has consequences. The obvious ones are things like being sleep deprived and thus fuzzy brained and short tempered. But there are more subtle ones as well - I lose touch with my family and friends. I get tunnel vision. I forget to breathe - respirare - to take in spirit, to be inspired.

I spent time doing that this weekend. I worked, yes. But a dear friend was in town, and I spent time catching up with her - eating full meals and having long conversations, walking on the beach. I met another friend in person for the first time. She's also a writer, so some of the talk was business-related, but much wasn't.

And then I had time before my train, so I walked through the city. I watched dogs, and listened to conversations in four languages I recognized and two I didn't. I danced on a sidewalk with a man I did not know, and he gave me a rose, and never asked for my name.

I felt happy, and peaceful. I breathed, and was inspired.