I walk into the coffee shop with a pristine 3 hours before me. Computer in hand, notes aboard, I waltz in and discover…no seats. Nada. And this is a big place! I set my things down, order my coffee and low and behold, someone gets up and offers me her seat. She is leaving. It is nice comfy chair. Kind of private and out of the way. There is even an electrical outlet to fire me up. Perfect. I’ll take it.
Two hours later I have trudged through a couple paragraphs. Cut and pasted some sections. Pulled out my notes to see what I had planned. Discontent, almost anxiety is building in me. Here I was gonna be so diligent this afternoon and look, nearly nada.
Now there are several empty tables and I wonder…Okay. I pick up all my stuff and haul it over to the crumb-covered deuce. Not the one with the playing board on it but the other one. No outlet here but not a problem. Now I only have about 30 minutes before I really should be heading out to my next activity. I sit, plunk the computer before me, pull up the screen to a nearly new chapter, (It has a working title only) and my hands fly across the keyboard. Ideas are flooding in. Thirty minutes are an instant. I check my watch and consider whether to bypass my next appointment to continue writing.
I, ever the diligent and obedient one, pack up my stuff and move on, making it with about 30 seconds to spare. While I wait, I wonder. What just happened? Did my brain really just respond to the position my body was in? Off, when I was “comfy” and on when I was stiff?
Well, this has possibilities! I always thought my brain controlled my body. But I am wondering if there isn’t some reverse psychology going on. What if my body facilitates my brain? What if putting myself in writing posture opens the door to creative writing?
I know it may just be a conditioned thing. I am used to sitting and writing like that. But later my daughter tells me she can write anywhere. And I have seen this in action – the couch, the bed, the floor. She can probably hang upside down and write. But, apparently, not me.
I am created kinesthetic. Not only do I do things by feel, but apparently I think things by feel. Or at least tune into creative thinking when I am feeling just right, physically. So perhaps it’s not about waiting for inspiration to descend on me; it may be I just need to sit and put hands on the keyboard. Just so. And let the rest take care of itself.
Let me just set something straight. Kinesthetic does not mean kinetic.
Kinetic means constantly in motion. Something like an electron orbiting a nucleus or ants on an ant hill or small children on a playground. I find great joy in all those images, but that is not how I experience the Christian life. It is how, on some days, life feels imposed on me. But I extract myself from those situations as quickly as I can. I don’t like crowds or pushing or hurry.
I do however like motion. At my own pace. Give and take. Motion I consider and then take action on. Decided motion. This is how I experience kinesthesis in my life and in my faith. Call me cautious or shy or deliberate. You wouldn’t say I’m stalled; I am a do-er. But don’t call me impulsive; I’m a thinker. Ha! I guess you could call me maybe. 🙂 Thanks Carly Rae Jepsen. I like living in the state of maybe. Readying for what’s next. Attending to the now in anticipation of the what’s next.
I am sometimes guilty of doing a bit too much preparing. Digging in with my head down with no intention of moving on until I’m sure I have everything just so. And on impulse, I have made a snap decision to two. Not quite sure which is the right way, but doggonit, someone has to do something so let’s just do it.
But on my best days I am the middle voice – think/do, ponder/do, research/do, pray/do – in each thing I do. And honestly, you can take that forward-slash out of each of those. I’m not aware of a particular moment where I move from ‘now I’m thinking’ to ‘now I’m doing,’ it’s more of a swaying. More like a jumping-the-waves feeling. Forward and back. In and out.
This seems to be part of my created nature, this operating from the middle ground. I find myself in the middle on lots of things. the moderator. the facilitator. the…peace-maker. And frankly, that middle place is often not that comfortable. You’ve got things, or people, bearing down on you from both sides. Threatening to crush you or perhaps trying to tear you limb from limb to get at the ones on the other side. But, from where I stand I can see something to love about both sides. I truly want them to hear each other and to see each other’s hearts. Perhaps if they’ll come close enough to me, the other will overhear.
For years I complained about being caught in the middle – all that crushing and wrenching. Until God changed just one word. “Wendy, you’re not caught in the middle, you’re placed in the middle.” And everything changed. If I was placed here, then I must have the resources to operate here. The waffling and uncertainty were all part of the territory. They were a package deal with the ‘hear everyone out.’
It does get exhausting. But it’s not my way to retreat to rejuvenate and then re-enter the fray. I can’t sit behind my dais to hear both sides and then retire to my chambers to make a firm and final decision. I need to be in the thick of it. So where does one find Sabbath?
I read today, Sabbath is not just a rest from work,
“Sabbath is also an experience of rest in the midst of work, contemplation in the midst of action, and receptivity in the midst of giving and serving.” ~ Kenneth H Carter, Jr.
It’s intended for us in the middle of things. Available to us in the midst. All I need to do is to remember to call on it then. Perhaps it’s the forward-slash I can’t quite describe – which seems to separate mind from body yet animates my transition from one to the other and back again.