What to Do When Life Forces You to Slow Down

by Lisa Rothstein on 03/08/2013

Making room for myselfIn the area of life balance, we DaVinci types are even more likely than “normal” folk to burn the candle at both ends. Add to that the fact that I am from New York, an inveterate multi-tasker and lightening-fast-talker, and I get people suggesting (begging) that I “slow down” at least once or twice a day.

I always dismiss them with a smile that says, “Thanks…now get out of my way — I’m BUSY.”

Until now. Life is about to force me to slow down, but good. Suffice it to say I’ve got to have a medical “procedure” (at least that’s what people my age start to call it) that will lay me up for a month or more.

My first order of business when i got the news was, of course, to panic. I practically faint when I get a paper cut.

Then, I realized — what an opportunity. To have time to think. To explore my dormant creative projects. To concentrate on myself without apology instead of scrambling to keep up with the deadlines and demands of clients and others.

I’ve decided to make my downtime my “DaVinci time”. Here’s what I’ve got planned:

  1. Finally finish a month’s worth of comic strips I promised to Lynn Johnston, whom I met at Comic-Con last summer and who generously offered to look at my work and even show it to her own editor.
  2. Finally noodle and craft the pieces I’ve been wanting to create for my own business (including posts for this blog and products for YOU, dear fellow DaVinci) while my clients take a back seat for once.
  3. Finally read the books I’ve bought and consume the exciting courses I’ve purchased.
  4. Finally reconnect with long-lost friends who support me in my creative pursuits and I in theirs.

The operative word is “finally.” I wish it didn’t take a major medical crisis for me to give myself permission to focus on and enjoy my own passions and creative longings. I’ve noticed before that I don’t allow myself to rest, “goof off” or even step off the hamster wheel unless I’m physically unable to get out of bed, which is almost never.

Yes, it it not lost on me that this way of living may well be what got me to where I find myself now in the first place. (Hmm…something to think about.)

So…I’m looking to reframe this event and downtime as a time of renewal and transformation. I’m also looking to find a way to make this a regular thing, even when I have no innards that need fixing or removing. (One only has so many non-essential organs, after all.)

Activity: What about you? Are you willing to make the time to slow down and focus on what you love…or are you waiting for “permission” from the universe to STOP? Look at a talent you have long wished to pursue but “just don’t have the time.”  Can you make 15 minutes a day for it, just for a while? Or are you willing to give yourself the gift of a creative retreat?


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