Back into Balance

There are practices we always return to as artists–our “home bases,” if you will. The Four-Fifteen has been one such ritual for me. Waking early and keeping the first 2-4 hours of morning in silence is also powerful. During the quiet, I’m filling my well–through meditation, reading, journaling, or writing. Sometimes, I simply walk around the house and look out the windows, or contemplate photographs and notes on my bulletin boards near my writing desk.

Evening is equally important. While I have to fight myself each day to “not go back to work after dinner” (which isn’t always possible), it’s absolutely worth it each time I let myself do what’s best for balance. This often means more reading, more journaling (usually with a glass of wine or spot of bourbon), or letting my mind explore hobbies other than writing. Lately, that’s taken the form of reading books about running and proper training for endurance athletes, as well as keeping a logbook of my own training. It’s refreshing to let my mind explore other things–not in direct service to my writing, but definitely indirectly essential. 

Here’s a shot of my “brainstorming” desk. I try my best not to do “paid work” here. Only spiritual reading, journaling, working on the novel, or anything handwritten. My logbook shows months of training and works not only as a record, but a motivator as I track my progress. The Buddhist slogan card reads, “Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.” I change these cards out every few days, enjoying the ponderings. What’s not shown are any number of coffee table photo books that I like to flip through in the evenings, to relax my mind and eyes.

It’s easy to underestimate the strain that starting at a screen in the same position causes on the body. Sometimes I’ll take the photo book into the living room and lounge on the couch, aiming for any posture different than the one I keep at my desk. Thumbing through the pages, my eyes can wonder across the colors. These simple movements, because they’re different, invite different thoughts–new ideas, and sometimes even new stories.

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