Heading Back to the Familiar

Sometimes when I have been away from what once was a regular practice, I have to ease back into it, like when you add vegetables to a food a child already likes and hope that you can sneak them in without her noticing. For me, the two practices that have been languishing are Pilates and writing. I have been so busy lately that some of the things I need to do to feel balanced have been squeezed out. For a while, that even applied to reading, because by this time last year I had already read nearly 45 books, and this year I am at about half of that number. 

I have adjusted to this new pace in life, with its restrictions on where I go and who is around me. I realize that more than ever, I need those practices that help me process what is going on in the world so I can tend to my physical and emotional wellbeing. I am back into Pilates, maybe not at the skill level I was at before, but I am practicing more frequently. And I have found that sitting for longer periods each day (aren’t we all?) means I need the movement that Pilates gives me. I worry less about how intense it is, or even how long I practice. I focus on just showing up.

And so, it is with my writing. This time last year I was immersed in my writing, heading off to a college library many mornings to write, and making progress on a book. For a while I switched to research because I had written quite a bit but wanted to go back and get more background material. The daily treks to the library slowed when cold weather came, but even at home, I wrote often. The busyness of life has crowded out my regular writing practice, or at least the part of my writing that I have not yet shared with the world. 

Sometimes it is about shifting expectations I have of myself. Just because I may not have as many hours to write doesn’t mean that 15- 30 minutes isn’t worth it. Or instead of daily writing, I can shift to longer sessions over the weekend. These days, I plan for the future, but I take it one day at a time. I remind myself that these are strange times, and while the familiar routines from my past ground me, I cannot expect that things will return to normal just by doing what once was normal and routine. I sneak in enough of the familiar so that when the unfamiliar jolts me from my path I know how to find my way back home.  

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