Today I stared at my blank word processor page for several minutes. No words, no particular bent, no juicy news event on my mind. Just thinking about the many topics I could write about.
Suddenly, some judgmental statements came to mind. What if I can’t think of anything great to say? What if I’ve lost interest in writing? What if I say something that doesn’t mean very much…and it stinks, too? What if I still can’t think of anything to write?
I quickly settled back into the blank page. By this time, it was a calm comfort. I had a sheet of cookies in the oven and had checked the time just before bringing up my blank page. Six minutes. No big deal – I’ll just sit here for a while longer until something comes. After all the staring and thinking, the timer went off. Seemed like hardly a minute had passed, at most.
Had I really just sat there for six minutes without really doing anything? Yes, but I also did something – something I hadn’t expected. I redirected my worrisome thoughts back to a more peaceful place. At first, the blank sheet had seemed intimidating. By the time the buzzer went off, I was startled and didn’t want to leave it. I had redefined what was right in front of me.
Maybe that was meditation. Maybe it was relaxation. Maybe I just relearned an important message about managing stress in a family household. Even a small in-the-moment event became an important bookmark in my day.
I have been reminded that I can redirect my thoughts, even bothersome ones that ring with some truth. I don’t have to drown in them. I can sit quietly for just a few minutes without being productive, and that experience itself can help me be more productive. My fears and irrational worries don’t own me. A few moments of uncertainty don’t define my success as a person (or parent).
Maybe this sounds like a blog post about writer’s block, but it really applies to parenting quite well. As parents, we are always having to think on our toes. Things don’t always go as planned. Stress can mount. Futures can seem uncertain.
And then, in a quiet moment of personal study, you can not really have an answer and be OK with it. You can accept that it’s a work in progress and you’ll keep going forward. A bad day/afternoon/minute as a parent doesn’t make you a bad parent.
You can come back to the calm place, the fresh blank page, the open opportunity for being yourself and starting over in that minute. And that is a good thing.