Discover more from Meg’s Musings
on stilling the noise and remembering to breathe as I head into an at-home retreat
I’m going quiet this week. I’ve got a deadline to finish this next draft of my manuscript by Sunday week to resubmit it for the Publishable program (check my last newsletter to read more about that). I’ve taken the week off work to get it done and I considered going away to get it done, but instead I am retreating at home.
On Friday I received feedback on the manuscript from the Publishable program readers and it filled me with thrills that consumed me for the day. But I have had to calm those thrills down to do the work I had set out to do.
It has made me think about how we can create quiet spaces in our minds and lives. We become so caught up in the to-dos (oh, I love a list) and catching what is flying in the wind around us that our every breathe is often sharp and fast.
Since starting my sleep therapy, I have become even more aware of my breathe. The machine forces the air into me and as I lie in that liminal space between sleep and wake, it sounds like it is breathing with me, slow in, out, like a being.
In yoga we move with our breathe, exhale, inhale. At the gym, I push the machines with my exhale, release with the inhale.
When my mum was dying, someone said to me that if you are breathing, there is more right than wrong with you. It’s a line that I have told myself when my nervous system is spiralling: hey, Meg, there is more right than wrong…you are still breathing…take a long slow breath in, hold, release. It helps in so many ways.
So this week, I will be breathing through the pages as I weave storylines together and make all the edits needed. What will my days look like? My husband always asks questions like this. He likes to know structure, and while I resist the idea of creativity being constrained by structure, it does help me and, when retreating at home, it helps everyone around me. It helps me to work out what I actually need to do (Goal) and how long I have (Timeframe) and how I will make it work.
Yesterday I broke this down by working backwards to understand what was achievable and factored in things like yoga, gym and social events. This has allowed me to understand the time I have to write new scenes, time to weave them into the existing scenes, time to review, time to edit and time to do the last pass on it.
My days will also include things like yoga, gym, walks and communing with the family. I am putting my out-of-office on my email to help manage other’s expectations and my phone is going on silent and out of reach. I am also going to limit my social media interaction (probably one of the hardest things due to its dopamine-grabbing ways). I will knit, read, listen to podcasts and books, have baths, lie on my yoga bolster, nap and sit in my yard and stare at my tree. All of these things are part of creativity.
My mate Kate Mildenhall launched her amazing book The Hummingbird Effect, which you should read because it will blow your mind and it is a book that everyone will be talking about for a while. Her launch was like a huge party of love and it was wonderful to be with so many writer friends but especially to gather with our writing group.
I’ve recently finished reading (and loved!) Inconceivable: Heartbreak, bad dates and finding solo motherhood by Alexandra Collier, Where Light Meets Water by Susan Paterson, and listened to Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and The Murder Rule by Dervla McTeirnan. I love having a few books on the go and also love audiobooks.
My migraines are tracking downwards and for the first time in my adult life, I am beginning to imagine what my life may be to be more well than unwell. This has been a long and slow approach to chipping away at the edges of things that have put my brain into such a state that it began creating daily migraine attacks. The whole process has made me deeply thankful to have such a wonderful neurologist on my side.
I think I have conquered the aphids. Thanks to all who reached out with fantastic advice. In the end I went with squishing and spraying with soapy water. Surprisingly meditative thing to do.
Hot air balloons! I’m like a child when I hear the burst of fire in a hot air balloon and this morning two floated by
Until next time