Feeling, Living, Reading, Working

In The Muck

August 17, 2015


Today starts another week, one that I could say will be “busy”, but I’ve been saying that for 3 months. It seems that this place of revved-up energy, ToDos, early mornings and my complete lack of energy is just how it is right now. I’ve tried to find ease, focus on my priority and even do things that give me joy, but the fact remains, the list of things that need doing is enormous and I am fainting under the weight.

Somehow, my own energy is returning, thank goodness. This last moon cycle was a doozey, no? But increased energy brings anxiety and requires it’s own sort of attention to direct it in a useful way.

I snapped this picture last night as the heatwave rose into the night air, as Carter lay exhausted from a weekend with a pet sitter, as I thought about blog posts. It reminded me of a book that shifted my life a few years ago Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions For An Ordinary Life. Pulling the book off the shelf, I turned to this passage:

How can you master time? Time management is self-management. Accord yourself with what needs to be done – the very thing that appears before you. What appears before you is not only the most important thing; it is the only thing, all other things existing only in your imagination, for the time being.

Of course, what appears before me might well be what I judge to be unworthy of my time: the work with no visible end, no redeeming value, and no apparent urgency. Is there wisdom in doing the work that we night rather overlook? Yes; it’s called the wisdom of telling time.

Tell me, while I’m hauling (tree) leaves ’til kingdom come, is it getting in the way of my life? Is it interfering with my life? Keeping me from my life? Only my imaginary life, that life of what-ifs and how-comes: the life I’m dreaming of. I am unable to accept my MacArthur Genius Award at the present time because I am scooping leaves from the pond.

At the moment when I’m in the muck, at the moment when I’m doing anything, it is my life, it is all of the time, and it is all of me.

And that is what I am going to focus on this week friends. When I’m doing anything, it is my life. The giant ToDo list, a colleague who drives me crazy, the 7am meetings, the social commitments at night, the groceries that need to be picked up, the dog that needs to be walked, the 5am alarm clock and the heat wave hitting the city… these are not in the way of my life, this is my life. Like the poem I love about obstacles by Alison Luterman that says “because if something is in your way / it is going your way / the way of all beings; / towards darkness, towards light.”

These obstacles going your way, the muck you feel you’re sinking in, the moment-to-moment movements of your hands and your heart and your lips, all make up your life. And they make up mine as well.

Have a lovely week xo

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Lindsey August 17, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Yes. Yes yes yes yes. This muck IS our life. xox

    • Reply jtao21 August 18, 2015 at 7:31 am

      I thought of you & your writings while I was writing this 🙂 xo

  • Reply Renee August 17, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    And there goes yet another book on my reading list! 🙂

  • Reply Flea-bottom – Allowing Myself August 18, 2015 at 8:14 am

    […] We’re back in the throes of flea season and back to school. Seriously, not my favorite time of year, but we’ll pull through. I always feel like I need to knuckle down between August and Halloween – there’s a grit-your-teeth, deal with the heat/bugs/changing routine aspect to it all. But I’m also trying to remember what it means to be in the muck. […]

  • Leave a Reply