NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

Stopping In Order to Continue

September 26, 2016

 

I have been deep into the writing of my non-fiction book, a mid-November deadline lurking at the edge of things. Time has been speaking to me. Some days hours are spent at the computer, words flowing, my mind able to dance among the moving narrative that more often than not sways away from the outline and toward its own internal rhythm. 

 

Other days, like yesterday, I came to my desk late afternoon after a slow start to the day, the flow surprising me with its energy. Today, errands and a pile of “must-do-by-this-date” sort of details have eaten up the hours, leaving me frustrated and bereft of inspiration. Then I remembered: it’s blog time. I remembered the day long ago when I wrote this poem. I breathe in. I breathe out. The wind is blowing through the bamboo, a crystalline rustling accompanying barking dogs and the cooing of mourning doves. 

 

Mexico time has finally begun to soak into my bones. Not my birth country’s demands: be on time, time is money, you’re wasting time, I don’t have the time. Rather this invitation: time is infinite, an internal sensation, mutable, relational, something to stretch and bend and somehow include everything. Ni modo. I just borrowed these last three lines from the book. It said it was okay. There is time.

 

The Book

 

In answer / to Naomi's question / What would that say about the person you’ve become? / I cling to the challenge that her words awake / errands undone / what seemed imperative / now laundered of importance /

 

and her poems are read in the shade / on a Saturday morning / toes spread in the sun / the small circle of water from an orange metal sprinkler / forcing me to move it every thirty minutes or so /

 

and I take the time. / I take the day in my hand / and inscribe on it / necessary / turn it over and write / special / and feel a great easiness crawl up my spine / slow like a turtle making its way through the garden.

 

 

*Translation: oh well, nothing to be done, that’s just how it is. Thank you, Adriana Aristizábel Miniño—www.mincor.net

 

Note: Question in my poem is from a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye; unfortunately, I can't find or recall the poem or the book I was reading that long-ago day. 

 

 

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Calming Practice: Take a Break

 

This is a short suggestion. Stop. Yes, take a break—not by walking the dogs or going to the gym or writing all those overdue emails to friends. 

 

Stop. Re-imagine time as something that will allow, even encourage sitting in a chair or on a park bench or on a rock somewhere. Without an agenda to do anything.

 

Let me know how it goes. It's not the easiest thing to do. It is, however, a necessity. 

 

 

 

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