Learning to Sit Still on a Spinning World

When I was first a mom I was astounded on a daily basis by the experience. Not to mention, exhausted. The now 15 y/o then wanted to nurse constantly.  For hours on end, day and night we would sit together – him happily suckling and me? Well, honestly I was bored. There was a certain low-level trapped feeling; a feeling of being stuck yet again sitting tethered to the little creature. Don’t get me wrong, I loved breast-feeding and we made a great team. It did however, take a while to settle into the experience. That settling came when I learned to enjoy those moments of enforced peace.

There is great beauty to sitting absolutely still and giving into the process of nursing. I had to relax and let the world spin around me – the clothes unwashed, the dinner cold, the business of life unattended to. And in those moments of peace I would often think my clearest thoughts.

Again I find myself forced to sit still on a spinning planet. Forced by an injured leg, to let go of the multitasking productivity the working mother in me prizes. My family laughed at me last night as they scurried around on their good legs and I sat on my hurt bum watching them. They laughed because I mentioned that having my hamstring tendon torn is a lot like breastfeeding. Huh? No one stayed around long enough to hear why; but I kept thinking about this idea. My life is so full of mothering and work. So full of electronic medical records, blogging and Twitter. So filled out by friendship. So full that I lack, almost completely, time for quiet reflection. Now, in a space without the ability to scurry I am left sitting and relaxing. A novel experience? No, but one that is nice to return to.

I am reading Twila Tharp’s book The Creative Habit. She has taught me much about my own developing creative habit. One of the first chapters talks about the squelching effect on creativity of background noise. Noise both literal and figurative. She suggests turning off our computers, our music and skipping the newspaper for a period of time to understand the effect they have on us. That was hard advice to swallow; I have always worked with music playing. I started to drive my 20 min to and from work without the radio. At first the silence was a bit uncomfortable but as the days passed I found that my mind was productively wandering. Bits and pieces of my days were knitting themselves into coherent stories as I drove quietly along.

Breast feeding, healing and silent driving. Less tweeting, less laundry, simpler dinners. Soon I may be positively Zen-like sitting here watching them all run around. Hopefully I will at least, synthesize a few blog ideas while I watch.

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8 thoughts on “Learning to Sit Still on a Spinning World

  1. Mindfulness is my greatest challenge. Thank you for sharing this insight – offers a new way of looking at a transient disability.

    And great minds think alike. My copy of The Creative Habit is dogeared.

  2. I happened across your post while “tag-surfing”. I really understand what you mean about breastfeeding being enforced inactivity and I’ll admit–i had the same bored feelings you did! I prepped myself the 2nd time around for it and BFing twins didn’t turn out to be boring at all (haha, nothing about twins is boring). But I had to give myself a mental slap and then permission to sit still when I went back to work and had to pump. It is nice to be FORCED to sit still and do basically nothing. I think I might turn the radio off on my next drive… and maybe I”ll check out that book!

    1. At times it is nice to be forced to take a break from the crazed pace many of us lead…. I think now I’d be really happy to be up and running again though! Twins must have been such a challenge – strong work breastfeeding them; many find that too overwhelming. How did turning off the radio go?

  3. I hope your leg heals soon, but certainly enjoy the peace and stillness. I love your analogy to breastfeeding and having a torn hamstring. I struggled with breastfeeding and truly wish I had those peaceful/bored memories.
    What a lovely post. So glad I found you through a mutual “friend” on twitter.

    1. Thanks for your warm response! Now that I am even deeper into the enforced sitting still (one week postop repair) I am finding the stillness even more challenging. Time to start trying to write again!

  4. I’m ashamed to say that when I did turn off the radio it was because I was dealing with my son in the back seat 😉

    I’m between careers all of a sudden and completely thrown off balance (going from being a teacher to being a stay-at-home-mom!). I’m going to need to sit still for a while and figure out where I now stand. Phew, this whole grown-up thing is hard!

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