This week is my wife's Spring Break. A 4th grade teacher with Leadership Day and Open House all on the same week before her "break," it's an understatement to say this will be a low key week.
However, I realized that it will be for me as well. The cycle of doctors appointments, physical therapy with mind numbing exercises to tame those nerves (exercises which do continue on vacation by the way), working on new projects have all taken their toll. The sciatica will not get better - I hurt all the time so I find myself weighing what I will and will not do.
I have not handled my trifecta of diseases well. Maybe in my own hubris I neglected the warning signs until each one followed the other finally with limiting effects. In many ways it has humbled me. The surprise was the willingness of some to help. You expect the loss of friends...you know, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. That sort of thing. What we find hard to accept is that hidden in the shadows are those who want to help and enjoy you as you are. As many can probably attest, accepting that is hard. To be hardy, robust and perfectly capable is the norm. We never plan for the day when you are no longer hardy or robust or find caring for yourself is difficult. Where each step shoots pain from top to bottom in ways you never thought possible.
There is another side though that has surprised me as well. By limiting my mobility, I have found that my creativity level has climbed. It seems that a bit of stillness makes you more contemplative, better able to solve design problems there on the edge of cognizance.
The perfect example was the rocket birdhouses. Tall, wood, relatively ugly birdhouses I picked up at Michael's no doubt on sale. They've been around a few years at least. Maybe I envisioned a flower power motif but looking at them recently I cringed at that thought. Waking up one morning after a particularly rough night, I saw in minds eye clearly what I wanted. A rocket going through space. Not just any space either. With planets, solar systems, stars, galaxies, you know the works. The question was how do you do that?
I'm sure few people think of artists, particularly, as problem solvers but we are. Every time you pick up a brush, pastel, pencil or pen, you're attempting to solve how you will get what you see inside your mind onto something that anyone can see. As I started to sketch the outlines of the rocket, captains windows, portholes, the idea of the rocket and space merging made sense. Saturn below as the rocket barreled on into stars and galaxies became a metaphor for mans yearning to break free. See what's out there.
There comes a time though when we need to unclutter our minds. Read a few good books, travel, see long put off movies or recorded TV shows, visit museums even see old friends. Activities that allow our minds to rest, absorb new ideas, chill.
I have to admit it's not easy but I realize I have plenty to do when I return home. There is nothing I can do about it before so why not chill? Which reminds me, my murder mystery is due is a few days so I better get back to see who "done" it!
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