Everyday I have to remind myself to “keep it moving!” I’ve been going through a hard spell lately, and I can’t seem to stay focused or motivated. Of course, I asked myself all the usual questions: am I depressed, am I distressed, am I angry, am I tired, am I burned out. What am I? Too often the answer doesn’t come easy. Sometimes I survey others to see what they are doing to stay motivated, to keep it moving. I found out I wasn’t the only one having this problem, but I also got some great suggestions.
One person suggested that I stop watching the news. She said she could be in a good mood, but one hour of news would put her in a funk. Her suggestion made me take notice of how often the news repeats the same stories and yet, I was sitting through multiple broadcasts. (Why can’t we have an hour of good news repeated over and over again? ) Of course, it is important to keep up with current events, but it’s also important to evaluate whether the events are current or simply recycled for ratings. I cut my news time back to one channel, one cycle. Two things happened. It freed up some time to do other things, and I didn’t feel like I had missed anything. (Another friend suggested checking the headlines online and scrolling through the stories that interest me. However, I spend too much time on the computer everyday for work, so that wasn’t for me. Perhaps it’s an answer that will work for you.)
One of my co-workers gave me a cliche as a suggestion. “Take the time to smell the roses,” she said. I have to admit I had an inward sneer at this suggestion. Over several days she made her point. The first day she sent me a text that asked if I had seen the beautiful moon that morning. (We are both up at 5 o’clock.) I didn’t see the beautiful moon. The second day she sent a text that said, did you hear the birds singing this morning. I didn’t hear the birds singing. Then my mom got in on the act. She asked me if I had seen the white and pink roses growing in our front yard. I had not seen the roses. Indeed, I hadn’t taken the time to “smell the roses.”
I started lingering on the porch before I got in my car in the mornings. I saw the moon, the clouds, and I heard the birds singing. One morning, I heard a tingling sound. It was soft and sweet like small bells ringing. I thought to myself, what is that? I looked all around the front of the house but I couldn’t get a bead on it. Finally, I walked to the side of the garage and there it was – the silver wind chimes my mom and I hung many years ago. When had I stopped noticing the wind chimes? When was the last time I thought about its beautiful music or noticed the gentle breeze? I stood there amazed. I had been neglecting the things I love – nature, good books, photography, watching the morning and evening sky, and listening to the wind chimes – I had missed them all. I certainly want to keep moving, but I don’t want to fly by the things that bring me comfort and joy. Suddenly, I realized it wasn’t about just keeping it moving, it was about moving intentionally toward the things that were needed, as well as the things that fulfilled me.
As much as I harp on self-care, I had ceased to follow my own advice. I went to the nail salon to get a manicure and a pedicure for a Thursday night date with my husband. As I sat in the massage chair enjoying the reflexology, I tried to remember the last time I had gone to a spa or a salon. I couldn’t remember the last time. In fact, I couldn’t remember doing anything solely for myself. As soon as I got home, I signed up for a writer’s conference. Even though the conference wasn’t more thirty minutes from my house, I booked a hotel and enjoyed a luxury suite and gourmet food the entire weekend. The conference was great too.
Perhaps the point of this blog entry is to redefine “Keeping It Moving.” What is my “it”? It can’t just be working from 9 to 5. It can’t just be the daily routine of taking care of the family. It can’t be my career as a writer alone. It has to be the total package – keeping my mind growing, keeping my creativity flowing, keeping my relationships in priority, keeping my spirit and soul refreshed, keeping my body healthy and rested. I have to remember my “it” isn’t just one thing; no one’s is. The thing that stagnates us or gets us in a rut is being out of balance with all that makes us who we are. We can’t focus on one aspect of our lives and still “keep it moving.”
How about you? What is your “it?” How do you “keep it going?” Perhaps your life, like mine, was thrown out of balance by the things you couldn’t do during the pandemic crisis. Perhaps the substitutes for personal social activities have fail us. Maybe it’s time to reassess what our personal activities are, and whether they are serving our needs. My suggestion is to discuss it with a few friends, family members, your counselor and/or your spiritual advisor. You may find that they have some suggestions that will set you free. Then you can start keeping it moving again from a new perspective.
I look forward to keeping it moving with you. Be safe and enjoy life while you’re keeping it moving.