"It took me a month to get over the shock of having life possibilities." So said Lily, Sue Monk Kidd's protaganist in The Secret Life Of Bees. This is only one of the great lines in a book I enjoyed very much. Because I liked it, I went to Kidd's website and signed up for her e-zine, which lately, among other things, has been giving updates about the coming release of her new book, The Mermaid Chair.
Today her latest issue of the e-zine arrived in my e-mail inbox. In her characteristicly gracious letter to her readers, she described her recent bone weariness. "I’d been working at a pretty high pitch for several years, writing, speaking and traveling, and I’d loved every moment of it, but honestly, now I felt tired down in my bones, in the wrinkles of gray matter in my brain. I was what you call spent. In an audacious act of letting go, I decided to give myself over to a lapse of time. I would, I told myself, take the whole winter to rest. Three months of doing nothing."
Three months of doing nothing. Wow. Just imagine. She then shares how they found a place on an island off the coast of Florida and how she listens to the waves and the pelicans and sits on the lania (porch in Florida-ese) and watches the sunsets. She also shares with her readers that she is writing that very newsletter long-hand on a legal pad as she sits on the lania by the light of the setting sun.
It all sounds glorious, right? Absolutely! And I so hope that all her creative juices are sent soaring by the end of her winter break so that she will continue to write fabulous books (I also like very much When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Questions). I feel compelled to admit, however, that for all my years of supposed maturity I couldn't stop myself from thinking--with a slight pout--by the time I got to the end of the letter: But I want to be wintering on a Florida island, sitting on a lanai watching the setting sun and doing nothing! Let me be clear, I don't begrudge her the opportunity, I'd just like to be on a neighboring island.
Island time for me, however, is a long time away if it ever comes. And once I got a few minutes of covetousness out of my system, followed by appropriate confession and repentence, I got back to being okay with that. I also got to thinking about how much I need little breaks during a day, mini-vacations so to speak, and like many of you, how often I forget to take them. Maybe it's when the little breaks are forgotten over a period of time is when Island Time can appear to be a medical or mental health emergency.
What little breaks do you sometimes work into your routine days that have a mini-vacation feel to them? For me, I like to walk to a nearby coffee shop without bringing work with me, or go for a walk but try to look at what I pass as if I've never seen it before, or read a few minutes of a good novel, or stand or sit outside with my face toward the sun. It doesn't happen often, but going to a movie matinee is a great mini-vacation because it feels so much more a splurge and escape than an evening movie. If you'd like, won't you share an idea or two for what we can do in lieu of Island Time?
Many thanks to Sue Monk Kidd for her e-zine newsletter and the reminder of taking a break. She ends her letter with, "How beautiful nothing can be."