the audacity of productivity

Every few months, I'm reminded of rhythms.

Usually the reminder looks like me staring at the computer while the cursor taunts me. Only then do I blink and think, "oh yeah. Rhythms. It's about that time, isn't it?"

Here's the thing — as creatives we all experience dry spells where our words feel as if they're falling on fallow ground. We can't ever be always on — always producing. Yet, every single time we brush up against our own humanity, we see those limitations as weaknesses.

"It's just writer's block," we reason. "It'll pass if I just have more discipline." And sure, there's some truth to the beauty of discipline and what it can mean for our creativity. But sometimes — most times — the pause in our breath is just that: a pause. We're filling our lungs with air in order to breathe again.

I call this relentless pursuit the audacity of productivity. We get so focused on continued creation despite exhaustion and rhythms that we fail to see what we're finishing around us. There's no gratitude. No letting things go completely before moving on to the next project. No allowing white space to rejuvenate us. In fact, a few months ago, as one of my best friends worked on my back and wrestled with the knots firmly tangled in my muscles. she asked me this question —

I'm wondering if you have any idea just how much you've produced lately. 


I breathed through the release of tension and chuckled. But then I took a breath of surprise because somewhere inside, somewhere deep, something clicked into place. I squeezed my eyes shut and let the tears fall as I remembered everything I've built and completed this year. "There's something to that question," I said. "I don't — I don't think I have any idea. I don't think I've let myself rest in those accomplishments."

And isn't this the way? Don't we always want to work-work-work and produce-create-write-produce until we're breathing our last? I wonder what would happen if we breathe. I wonder what would happen if we flipped that audacity on its head and thumbed our noses at expectation and said instead, "I know my worth. I know my creativity. And right now, in this moment, I rest in that." 

Posted on November 3, 2015 and filed under Soul Care.