Recognizing and Honoring My Limits


Yesterday afternoon as I drove the four-and-a-half hours home from Santa Fe and the Hillerman Writing Conference, I said to myself, “It’s Sunday. You need to write a blog post.”


But by the time I crested Poncha Pass, half an hour from Salida, I was exhausted. At home, I unpacked and made myself a simple dinner. I opened my laptop, wrote in expanses from my trip, read the news, and dealt with emails and messages. That was all my brain could manage; I had no writing in me. 


(The photo above is the view from the top of the pass, with “my” mountains, the Sawatch Range, in the distance over the ridge.)


As I returned from my regular Monday run tonight, a four-and-a-half-mile route that included a lovely sunset on the return leg, I said to myself, “You didn’t write a blog post last night. You’ve got to do it tonight.”



Sunset from the Monarch Spur Trail tonight, with the Arkansas River Canyon in the distance. 


So after harvesting the last broccoli florets from the frost-nipped plants in my front-deck kitchen garden, I came inside, cooled down and changed, and made myself dinner including that uber-local broccoli steamed and tossed with butter and toasted pecans, plus half a baked yam, and a quesadilla featuring a fresh tortilla from the San Luis Valley and Rocking W Cheese’s smoked gouda from western Colorado. 


While I ate, I tried to think of what to write about. Nothing came to mind, probably because I’m still worn out from heading to Colorado Springs Wednesday afternoon to teach my Memoir 101 workshop, driving home Thursday night, and then hitting the road for Santa Fe and the Hillerman Conference Friday morning, and not getting home until yesterday evening. Plus a full day of work today, followed by my run. 


Thinking about that brought my Aha! moment. I am doing precisely what I’ve promised myself I won’t do: Ignore my limits. Just because I “should” write a blog post each week doesn’t mean I can.


In the past five weeks, I’ve driven over 5,000 miles, presented at writers conferences in three cities, taught workshops in two more, and spent time in six states. Both my long road-trip in October and this shorter one have been fruitful times to think, enjoy a lot of gorgeous western landscape, hang out with various clans of my writing tribe, to teach and be inspired by workshop participants, and to visit friends and family. 



Bighorn Sheep Canyon on the Arkansas River last Friday evening–seen through Red’s windshield, of course…


And the combined trips have worn me out. All of that driving–what my friend Terry Carwile calls “windshield time”–and all of that stimulation and interaction have taken their toll. I’m tired. 


It’s time to notice my limits and honor them. Not to mindlessly press onward just because I should do something. 


Of course, here I am writing a blog post. But as I do it, I’m understanding and recognizing my limits.


And honoring them by keeping it short. So I can practice not pushing myself.


Once I post this, I’m going to to smell the mini-roses in the fair-trade bouquet I bought yesterday to brighten my drive home. Then I’ll toss on a jacket and go outside to admire the spangle of stars in the moonless night sky.


Because I am grateful for the gift of this life. Because I want to remember to love my moments, and live them with my heart outstretched as if it were my hand… 


 

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