Do the things you know you need to do

I don’t know about you, but I have something of a stubborn streak… I can just hear my parents and my husband scoffing: “something?!”. OK, OK, a significant stubborn streak.

It’s not all bad; that stubbornness has enabled me to stay the course in some tough times, I’ve persisted when I might have given up. But sometimes that stubbornness sees me sabotaging myself. I don’t like to be told what to do.

So in recent weeks when my husband has been persistently nudging me to go down to the pond for a moment’s peace, I’ve come up with all the usual “I’m too busy, blah blah blah” excuses. Even when I started thinking that actually it would be quite nice, I resisted solely because he was nudging me. Stubborn. Stupid.

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Picasso Quote

Disciplined creativity

It sounds like an oxymoron, right? “Disciplined creativity”. When you think of “discipline” you imagine other words like “effort,” “sweat,” “rules,” “constraint”; but “creativity” brings up ideas of “freedom,” “flow,” “art,” and “expression”. But believe it or not, consistent creativity requires some measure of discipline.

Now, I’m no artist. My biggest form of creative expression is writing, and apart from this blog, that writing is heady academic stuff. But still it is an act of creation. And as I discipline myself to do it I often remember something a friend who was an actual artist said about how she had to discipline herself to sit down at the easel like a regular job if she wanted the creativity to flow.

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Small acts of rebellion

I am not a dog person, never have been and probably never will be. But still, I think that at some point in the future I’m going to get a dog. Not soon, mind you – so don’t anyone dare tell this to the kids. They would love one, but right now, I suspect that the responsibility of a dog added to everything else would tip me over the edge. Whenever the kids ask for a dog, I tell them we had a baby instead.

Why no dog? They’re so darn high maintenance! Now cats, you can leave town for a couple of weeks and they’ll just eat their biscuits, or whatever they catch in the field, ours at least will.

But dogs, you have to do so much work, and for all that work they’re so UNPRODUCTIVE.

Totally not a dog a person.

But down the track I think for me getting a dog could be a spiritual practice; a small act of rebellion to push back against my personal brand of neurosis that idolises productivity, control, and neatness.

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In defence of napping

Napping seems to be defensible only if you’re an infant, a cat, or a nana. But I am a big fan.

Partly it’s a pragmatic embrace of the reality that while I am good at getting up early, I’m not very good at going to bed early. Add to that the broken sleep that four children inevitably brings, and I often find myself needing a nap during the day. If I don’t take a nap, that nap is going to force itself on me when I sit back down at my desk after lunch.

Sometimes we’re physically weary, and sometimes it’s a weariness of the soul. I love how in 1 Kings 19 when the prophet Elijah has just had enough of it all God doesn’t tell him to pray, to push through; the instruction and the provision is to eat, then sleep, then eat some more. Sometimes you have to attend to the basic physical needs first of all. Quit being so “spiritual”, working yourself up over the big questions of why things feel so hard, and have a snack and a nap (and a snack again). He sure was worn out.

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