Time for a Timeout?

View of the Hudson Valley, where I'm headed this week.

View of the Hudson Valley, where I’m headed this week.


I am writing to you from Austin’s Arboretum shopping center. I’m in between errands, preparing to go out of town for a week. I’m ready for a change of scenery and some open space. Lately Austin feels like Joni Mitchell’s paved paradise. Apartments and condos are sprouting like weeds. Add in the extended heat and it’s a recipe for stress.


I won’t go into the way the heat affects my various and sundry autoimmune disorders, only that I’ve been confined to the house for months and it’s effecting my writing, which is starting to feel anemic. Where are those luscious details that make the pages pop? Where is the deep connection between hand and heart? While my husband has been wonderful at keeping the house cool and dry, emptying the water from the dehumidifiers twice a day, the sensory deprivation is getting to me. I can’t seem to find my emotions within walls of my house.


That’s the equation I want to share: sensory deprivation leads to emotional stagnation leads to anemia in the work.


I’ve often repeated that when we feel stuck in our work, we are usually in the wrong part of the process. I still believe that, but I’m seeing that failure to connect to our feelings, especially the big scary ones, keeps us running in place. Armor forms around the heart and it becomes difficult to dismantle.


How do we move from that place of feeling shut down into the wide open space necessary to create? How to crack open the heart to the full range of our emotions, including pain and grief?


Time and space, of course. I long for one quiet afternoon out of the city, to sit in silence and write, to create enough space in my mind to get beyond my thoughts and my running list of projects and simply feel my feelings. To that end, I’m cooking up a Sunday afternoon getaway for my Austin peeps.


On November 22nd, we’ll be practicing in a gorgeous studio space in Bastrop, near the Lost Pines. I’ll have the details when I return from my trip. In the meantime, let me know if you’re interested. I’m capping at ten, and we’re almost full.


If you live out of state, perhaps you can create a timeout for yourself that day. Change the scenery, get quiet, and see what’s cooking inside.


What is your experience of feeling blocked? Do find yourself avoiding that deep dive inside? Or do you not have enough time to even consider how you feel? Look at your calendar right now and see when you might get away for a few hours and get back to yourself.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *