Learning to Balance: 62/365

As I get deeper into this project and my essay writing, I continue to feel the push-pull between life and writing, the ways they interfere with each other and the ways they inform each other. My commitment to writing seems to have me perpetually negotiating for time, searching for it, grabbing up every free moment.

The writer Rachel Federman‘s response to my post Natural Rhythms got me thinking more about this when she wrote, “I somehow often feel I’m not fully grounded in the moment if not writing/thinking about it also. Or there is an interplay, that’s hard to achieve, being present, but also writing…”

My writing brain is always turned on, the internal narrator always present; me telling myself about what’s happening as it’s happening, processing moments into words, identifying fodder for the retelling. It sounds like distraction, but I think it’s actually a form of mindfulness and, as Rachel says, it fully grounds me in the moment. If I narrate as I experience, it means I’m paying very close attention. 

Over and over again I notice the way my internal narrator is affected by my experiences as well as the media I consume. Input affects output. If I’m not mindful about the input, I can fall into distractions that are reflected in my writing. For instance, over-consumption of social media mucks up my output. Back when it was popular to post actual status updates on Facebook, as opposed to today’s memes/videos/quizzes/articles, I would find my brain capturing every day moments in soundbites similar to status updates. My narration was clipped. When I’m immersed in a book, my internal narrator speaks differently and tends toward long form.

There is also the distracting nature of motherhood, especially mothering a toddler, where everything happens in five-minute spurts. Unlike social media consumption, motherhood doesn’t interfere with my internal narrator’s voice–only the ability to get those thoughts down on the page before I lose them. There are some days I feel like my brain is in training, the same way I train on the treadmill, trying to increase my speed in short bursts, sometimes paying more attention to my form. Our brains are plastic, after all, capable of incredible malleability. During new motherhood especially, I swear I could almost feel my brain changing, taking in new information second to second, adjusting my response, meeting need after need, constantly adapting.

Input affects output. Writing informs motherhood informs running informs writing informs motherhood, and it loops and doubles back and loops again. As I become more mindful of the input, my output gains and grows. Instead of always feeling a nagging interference, I’m starting to feel the interplay.

 

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3 thoughts on “Learning to Balance: 62/365

  1. I really love what you’ve written here – it’s so true the way input affects output. Those bite-size soundbites – I sometimes find myself thinking in them, too (I suppose after reading a slate of them..are they less popular now? Pure status updates..what one is reading / eating / seeing at the moments…)

    I love “Writing informs motherhood informs running informs writing informs motherhood, and it loops and doubles back and loops again” – I was thinking how the periods of the most satisfying writing for me were when I was running (jogging) fairly regularly but already a mother. The running seemed to bring me to a new state of awareness where I could both detach from the grueling strain of mothering, the physical actuality of it, but reconnect back to it – not only to what it meant but to the process itself, the presence itself..that’s partly is what is amazing about this kind of interplay…it’s not only the distance/perspective/reflection – ah yes, this is why it’s important and meaningful and life-changing to sit and listen to the birds together or make a big, messy art project with water spilling everywhere and paint all over new, clean clothes…but the ability to read it and re-enter it, fully enter it, immerse oneself in it, loop back into it, your old self and new self and renewed self…

    thanks for mentioning me…your essays are certainly helping to ground me…a much-needed elixir against the wash of meaningless, unprocessed, detached information out there…thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • You always say it so well. I especially love “this is why it’s important and meaningful and life-changing to sit and listen to the birds together or make a big, messy art project with water spilling everywhere and paint all over new, clean clothes…but the ability to read it and re-enter it, fully enter it, immerse oneself in it, loop back into it, your old self and new self and renewed self.”

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