Margin, Margin, Margin
All of this talk about hustle and rest has reminded me to create more space in my life these past few weeks. Not only was it needed, but it made way for some fresh insights to surface. The result? I've been further considering how rhythms of rest free us into connection and how connection creates room for inspiration in our lives and our work. Once this cycle is complete, it seems to begin again.
When I noticed my marked weariness, the first decision I made was to widen the margins of my mornings. Depending on my schedule for the day, I got up earlier or took more time later into the morning to listen and reflect. I made sure my phone was set to silent, then set a timer so I could rest into the quiet without concerning myself with how many minutes had ticked away. There were days when I was ushered into grief and anger. Other days, I experienced moments when I felt such a deep sense of peace and care; and others still, when I didn't think or feel much of anything. Those days, in particular, were sweet in a way because I just felt the goodness of my choice to "be." It didn't have to look or feel a certain way. I was present and that's all that seemed to matter.
I read more during the past few weeks. Everything from fiction to online articles to Scripture. I found myself craving connection to bigger picture ideas and people. I translated that into spending time sharing ideas and meeting with people. Work meetings turned into places for sweet relational sharing. I noticed that I was less "on agenda" and more focused on how the other person was doing in those settings.
The connection spurred my creativity. I noticed my surroundings more. The extended time spent being available to people in their stories actually produced fresh inspiration in my work. I gained ideas on new approaches and tweaks I need to make in some of the tools I'm creating. I began to see my own work through new lenses which encouraged me to stay the course. And, the work itself seemed to go faster because I had more clarity on what I was doing.
Truth be told, I had a minor meltdown a few days ago in the midst of all of this, though. I called my Mom and she heard me out, but I also felt shame for the anxiety I felt that day. Minutes after we hung up, she called me back and the first words out of her mouth were, "CALM DOWN..." (Oh, mommas and their way with words to their almost 40-year-old daughters! Ha.) She proceeded to offer tangible help and a solution I badly needed. Why do I share this blurb? Because even in the midst of all of the good that came in the margin, I still faced a struggle. I found myself living in the tension of this "building season" and felt the pressure to hustle my way out of it—even to the extreme of abandoning my course for a safer path. I know better now, but it doesn't mean the temptation doesn't rear its ugly head from time to time.
I think this is why creating margin is so critical. We can rest well and work hard and connect and be inspired, and we will still have needs. But, we're better equipped to deal with those needs when we've created space in our lives. We become more resilient as we cycle through and recognize what's most important for our thriving on a particular day or during a specific moment. When I felt overwhelmed, I needed connection and tangible help. I was able to reach out and ask for it because I was in touch with my feelings, silly as they seemed at the time.
- How would you describe how you're doing in this cycle of rest, hard work, connection, and inspiration right now?
- Where will you create margin this week to be present with yourself?
- Who will you invite into the process to help you with any needs you notice?
- Who will you choose to be present with this week, even if it means you maneuver off of the agenda?