Feeding the “real work”

Sometimes I look at my life and think, There’s a reason why you’re not further along with your work. By “work” these days I generally mean “writing my second book.”

That’s when the little voice in my head takes off:

You have too many interests.

You take on too many projects.

You are too scattered.

(I can get pretty judgmental with myself.)

There is plenty of evidence to support each of these judgments, by the way. But when I stop and drill down into them, the question that bubbles up is, what’s with that word, “too”?

Am I too curious? Too divergent-thinking? Too people-oriented?

Well, I’m 100 percent OK with all that.

And the truth is, the other interests, projects and people always end up feeding my so-called “work.”

An example: Yesterday, instead of opening up my manuscript file, I spent time on my yoga mat preparing a devotional.

Several years ago, I found Holy Yoga and did my yoga teacher training with that organization. I was surprised at the satisfaction I found taking my longtime love of yoga and centering it around my lifelong Christian faith.

People at our then-church in Vancouver, Washington — Columbia Presbyterian — got excited about the idea and encouraged me to start a yoga ministry there. Which I did, in addition to my then-“real work” in school public relations. It was a fantastic experience!

After moving to Minnesota in 2020, I thought, Maybe I should just let that yoga teaching part of my life go … refocus on my writing.

Now I am in my second summer of teaching outdoor yoga at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Moorhead.

Did I cave in? Did I fail, once again, to focus?

Leo surveys the aftermath of yesterday’s yoga class and wonders, Why don’t I get invited to yoga? I do the best upward facing dog …

I don’t think so. When I’m teaching yoga, I take time each week to craft a faith-focused message. Yes, this effort takes me away from writing my manuscript. But it also is teaching me a skill I need for my “real work.”

My faith journey is a key element in the manuscript I’m working on, and this yoga teaching habit, well, it’s helping me put that challenging topic into words.

I’m curious. What activity or interest feeds your “real work”?

For more about the yoga part of my life, please see my Yoga Selah page.


8 thoughts on “Feeding the “real work”

  1. Hi My most important work, and has been for the last few years, is to promote my healing and health. It takes a lot of my time and usually influences what I do each day. I am so much improved that I think it has been worth the time. After all, I tell myself, I have to feel good to do the other work. Right now, the other work is my garden. The spring weather in Oregon has helped my garden grow to a magical height but the weeds are also high and not so magical. So my daily work, while the weather has suddenly, as usual in Oregon, turned warm, is to pull out the weeds and get the garden back into its former form.
    I’m not writing a book but I am taking two writing classes. both free and led by the same woman—a published poet and long time college writing teacher—and I totally enjoy the classes, the other participants and the prompts, but this is not daily work right now. I find the classes and the gardening keeps me calm and involved so my mind does not wander to the horrible and distressing happenings in our country and our world. thanks for the opportunity to share. carolann

    1. I’m so happy to hear from you, Carolann, and to know you are gardening AND writing! Both sound as if they are joy-giving for you. I remember you sharing last year about tulips — or was it daffodils? — in your neighborhood. Didn’t you go out and read poetry to them? Such a beautiful blending of your interests! ❤

  2. Interestingly enough my ” real work” is what feeds me…my career has been my playground. For 53 + years my clients are the ones who feed my soul,, every morning & every night I say THANK YOU to my God for guiding me to follow my heart & do what brings me Joy❤️

  3. Sarah, I love this! I happened to click on it literally WHILE thinking about what I WANT to be working on this morning instead of what I SHOULD be working on for my 9-5 job. Serendipity. Chasing adventure — backpacking on the coast or sailing or whatever is next — is my work. Pursuing authenticity and connection is my work. Unshackling myself from stories of the past is my work. Advocating for marginalized people is my work.

    1. Jhana, your work sounds wonderful and important! I’m so happy to hear our thought processes intersected at this very moment — yes, serendipity! All best wishes to you as you follow your passions.

  4. I don’t know if I ever feel like other things feed my real work (which I classify as my fiction). Maybe watching movies help. And reading. Because they give me ideas on things I can insert into my own stories. But like you, I sometimes feel like I’m stretched too thin, from trying to keep the house tidy to caring for loved ones. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    1. Thanks, Stuart! Sometimes I wonder, “Just what is the real work?” And the answer changes day to day … I’m starting to let it feel ok that sometimes the actual real work is going through the mail and vacuuming! 😉

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