Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help. Several times a month, we'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be just like my mother. I’d dress in her heels and click-clack on hardwood floors in a hustle. I’d tuck my tiny body into her stretchy leotards and tights, lifting my arms and legs to a Jane Fonda workout video in the living room. My mother was always on the move, and so, in eagerness, was I.
She no longer wears leotards, nor do it. Her heels are now a bit lower, but still ever-present – no longer carrying her to work meetings, but to fancy restaurants filled with exotic wines and foods. Her pace is still as fast as ever, even in her sixties. Though her knees try to slow her down or an aching wrist whispers, “do less,” her aging body continues to move as fast as her mind, and so she doesn't settle.
From my mother I’ve learned to move. It’s something I’ve battled all my life. A free hour of relaxation is an invitation to work on a house project; a nap is switched for sweeping dusty floors. There is organization to be done, dishes to sort and stack, goals to plan. I am grateful it resulted in a Bachelor's degree, then a Master's, several months traveling to and living in other countries; it resulted in performing in the super bowl, leaping across cleat-packed fields. Yes, it resulted in many things – a list of accomplishments to share – but it too has mounted into exhaustion.
What is it about endless productivity that has taken over my own humanness, that I must try, with effort to do nothing? To be, in my life, is an unlearned trait. I can lie on a sticky mat and breath slowly, I can cross my legs and close my eyes, I can shut down my computer for days and step away from my cell phone, but even with these drastic measures, just as my mother, I’m on the move.
I think of this now, with my 8-month-old, what the importance of slowing down means, the importance of being and not doing each moment of the day. It feels uncomfortable. Foreign. I am reminded this morning especially as my son looks up detecting the clamor of two sparrows just outside our window. It's as if his tiny emerald eyes are murmuring, “Stop mama! Put down your lists. Stop everything. Just sit with me and enjoy the sound.”
In your journal today, write about the difficulty you find in slowing down. Was there a time you stopped your busyness, even when there was much more to be done? How did it feel?
Do YOU have a writing prompt to share with Literary Mama readers? Send your 150- to 300-word narrative and associated writing prompt to lmblogeditor (at) literarymama (dot) com. We'd love to read your ideas!