I have a fairly light schedule this month, which is very welcome after two rather full months. June and July were full of great things– with a beautiful new grandchild topping the list of events that included an artist retreat, attending an art workshop, vacationing on the Outer Banks, flying to California to meet little Elizabeth, and quite a bit more. Even such wonderful events on my calendar, though, take their toll of energy, and by the time August came around, I was ready for a month at home without a lot going on.
I’m trying to take advantage of this quieter month to be more intentional in how I use my time, with the hope of developing a sustainable rhythm to my days and weeks. Although I very much enjoy spontaneity, I find I also need structure, so my goal for this time period is to see what sort of balance works best for me. Of course, I know that that balance will change as circumstances change, but I’m hoping that I can find a flexible rhythm that I can adapt as needed, while still maintaining some continuity.
One thing I’ve realized is that I am calmer and at the same time more productive in the long run when I keep my mornings quieter for reading, writing, walking, sketching, praying, or putzing around the house getting enjoyable chores done. When I schedule up my mornings with appointments or socializing, I often end up feeling like my days are hectic races and that I have somehow sold my quiet-loving nature to a to-do list. On the other hand, when my mornings are quiet, I tend to feel peaceful and yet energetic, and in the afternoon I enjoy spending time with people or often get done as much as I do on the more scheduled days. I also am much more present with Stephen and with others after I’ve had quiet mornings.
I’ve also found that I mostly paint when I travel rather than when I’m home, because art time typically gets scheduled out. Last month, though, a wise friend reminded me that I need to prioritize both art and prayer, both of which tend to get pushed to the side if I get too busy. As this month of reflection goes along, I’m finding myself painting a good bit more than I usually do when I’m home, and when I paint or sketch more, I also pray more. I’m writing more, too, and today I even surprised myself by trying my hand at a bit of fiction for the first time. This shows me yet again that if I nurture my spirit in the ways it needs, creativity will flow. I’m planning to keep making time for quiet in the coming weeks, and hoping to enjoy many creative hours.