I was in New York City when stay-at-home orders started going into effect last year. I lived in Midtown, a whole world away from the Uptown neighborhood I’d grown up in. Our apartment touched the sky and made breathing easier as long as you looked up. If you looked down, the city’s footprint reminded you that everyone’s blanket suggestion to “go for a walk” just didn’t fit New York City’s neighborhoods as much.
In lieu of walks, that suffocated me out of fear of bumping into someone and contracting the virus, I learned to nap.
Since then I’ve napped my way through creative blocks, brain fog, and days full of grief. I wake up on the other end of them feeling more able to work my way through the hard patch or the creative project.
I know we live in a world that encourages painful sprints as the answer to working through problems, but whether we’re talking about relationships or our careers, sometimes the best thing you can do is pause.
This week, with Mother’s Day ahead of me and a lot of life changes on the horizon, I’ve only been able to write after a nap. I could punish myself for not being able to push through the brain fog and just get the words out or I could not. I’ve worked for years to leave self-punishing tendencies behind because it feels much better to simply celebrate how good it feels to find something that does work for you and makes it easier to breathe.
Pain isn’t the only barometer of how alive you are or how capable you can be. Ease of being can measure life and creativity just as much.