I’m on vacation (in Seattle) and I’m not getting much writing done.
Every time I plan a family vacation, I tell myself I’ll get a lot of writing done. My husband will be around, I think, to entertain our son so I picture myself sitting in a café writing while they are off doing something totally fun together.
And I plan to write every evening: My son goes to bed early and we’re all in a hotel room together so I imagine myself writing into the night by the light of my computer screen.
But the reality is we’re up before dawn every morning (due to the alarm clock that is my son, who has never met a morning he didn’t like) and we’re busy all day and by the time my son is asleep I’m very nearly ready to go to sleep, too.
Plus we are visiting family and I don’t want to miss out on this precious time with loved ones we don’t often see.
It all adds up to a lot less writing than I ever imagined.
My expectations were totally unrealistic. I can see that now, halfway through the week. My first priority here in Seattle is not to write—it’s to drink great coffee! Just kidding, although the coffee here really is amazing. (Seattle’s Best Coffee is my favorite so far.) No, my first priority is to spend time with my family.
When I visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. I saw the work of someone whose life is primarily about his art: Dale Chihuly. I am inspired by his art, his words, and his life.
Dale Chihuly has spent his life (so far) creating art, mostly in glass, and teaching his art and his techniques to others. Here’s what he had to say about the art of blowing glass:
The technology really hasn’t changed. We use the same tools today they used 2,000 years ago. The difference is that when I started, everyone wanted to control the blowing process. I just went with it. The natural elements of fire, movement, gravity and centrifugal force were always there, and are always with us. The difference was that I worked in this abstract way and could let the forces of nature have a bigger role in the ultimate shape.”
I love how he talks about the way he allowed the glass to flow. It sounds so natural, so organic.
When I think about my life as my art, I realize I’m letting my life flow in a natural way. I used to try to control the process of living, every little thing, but now I practice control by controlling my mind and reminding myself that I am the only one I can control. The result is more joy, more peace, and (at least most of the time) more writing.
I’m living my life, a life that includes writing, and letting it flow. It’s much more organic than it used to be when I tried to muscle everything into it’s proper place.
When my expectations don’t match my reality, I adjust my expectations. I don’t beat myself up, or try to cram everything in to the point of exhaustion, but I also don’t avoid writing because “I don’t have enough time.”
And now I have the image of Dale Chihuly in my mind, reminding me with his gorgeous glass art how beautiful life can be when we go with the flow.
Is your writing part of the flow of your life?
News from Diane MacKinnon: I‘ve planned a writing retreat for the fall. It’s a one-day event, September 20, and I’m so excited about it! If you are local, I hope you’ll join me. You can find out more about my one day writing retreat by clicking here.
Diane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, life coach, circle practitioner, mother, stepmother, and family physician. I’m so grateful for the long summer days to enjoy with my family and friends, including my books and my journal.