Monday, October 19, 2009


Sometimes I just want to turn off the machine that spins me around all day long. The faxes, the pagers, the oh-so-urgent-has-to-get-done-right-now items on my list, the doctor who has to be called because the prescription he sent in was written wrong and the pharmacist couldn't fill it. All the surprise errands that slip themselves between the normal daily tasks make me irritable and wanting to return to those halcyon days when I was playing in the woods on Mercer Island, outside of Seattle. Magic happened in those woods. I got to be quiet and relax and not have twelve dozen chores to do. Back then Nature was as healing as it is today. And I was never sick or tired because I had those woods. Each day I would run away and no one ever knew where I was. It was respite although I'm quite sure I didn't call it that.

Life hands us this stuff and we choose how to deal with it. Slow motion gets you there faster, Hoagy Carmichael once wrote. But there are those days when slow won't cut it. And you start feeling dizzy and tired, then sick and sicker. Then you get sick and tired of being sick and tired. And you want that machine to turn itself off.

Over the past several weeks, I haven't used the word, "No." I've said yes to some things I knew I had to say yes to and forgot to pace myself and say no to people who could easily find someone else. I finally had to resort to not answering my phone. That helped, but it was hard to do. I answer the phone at work all day long and love the refreshment of not hearing it ring at home.

While writing a book, working 40 hours a week and fixing and repairing things that need
to be fixed, I find myself slowly deteriorating. I don't eat healthy foods. I don't exercise and I end up looking like one of those Ruben paintings of a corpulent woman lounging in the altogether. So while slow is better, I need to choose my battles and errands and put off today what can be done tomorrow or next week.

I crave simplicity, peace and serenity. When they fly out the window, I get pissy. So I'm going to use the word "No" and choose those things I really want to do, like exercise and go to Whole Foods, like dating some spectacular men and surrounding myself with all things beautiful and serene. They're out there in abundance, those people, those architecturally perfect buildings, those symphonies, that art, the symmetry of life, all within a short distance of my own backyard. I want those beautiful friends and family members and places and adventures to bring back that childhood magic, the days when all there was was play and joy. No agenda, no lists, nothing to do other than have fun and create new worlds in my mind.

In a letter to my mother, my father once wrote: "We are noticing how magical Jean is. I even believe she is a genius." I understand that, because when I was a child, I was busy creating and writing music and poetry; and I was dancing, always dancing. Back then I was happy, playful and having fun. It should never end. We should all become as little children, even if it means we have to turn off the machine that spins us around.

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