Dispatch from the Doldrums

This week my inner energizer bunny ground to a halt.

I’m typically a very driven, high-energy person. I have brainstorms like Alabama has thunderstorms–often several in one day. I go from one thing to the next, my passion keeping me from pausing for very long between each task, my mind nearly always excited about something.

But this week, due to a cocktail of sleep deprivation, a lingering cold, and, ahem, hormones, all that sizzled out. My body began sending me messages that were so unfamiliar, they nearly required a translator. Rest. Sit still. Let go of the list. 

I used to freak out when I hit these slumps–they felt so unnatural, and so terribly unproductive. I didn’t recognize myself without burning passion or at least a low level of stress (at least). Usually I thrash about, flailing desperately until I find something that makes my heart race again. Anything to avoid the dreadful doldrums.

And I admit for a little while yesterday I got a little depressed, recognizing the symptoms and worrying about writing projects that would most certainly suffer if this overcame me. (There are so, so many exciting and interesting things I want to blog about!)

But I’ve learned that these seasons are not permanent. They never last long, because I’m just not wired that way. It will pass–and it will probably just be a matter of days, so what I really ought to do is just sit back and enjoy it. Stifle the inner nag that still believes my worth is in what I produce, and just enjoy the unnatural calm happening between my ears and in my heart.

Now, that all sounds well and good, but sitting still isn’t easy for me, even when my innards are becalmed. So, I have my crutches. A good murder mystery keeps me on the couch when the couch is where I really need to be. Simple favorites that don’t require thought or special ingredients fill the menu (Spaghetti. Chicken Gravy. Meatloaf). I take care of the basics with school, then encourage the kids to go off and create and discover on their own. (Thank you Jesus they’re getting old enough to actually do this…they’re painting and reciting scraps of poetry to themselves at the kitchen table as I write–thank you, Andrew Pudewa!) Devotion to our little cleaning routine keeps the house tidy enough that I feel I really could afford to sit down and do nothing for a little while.

I think part of what has lead me to treat the doldrums like a gift is that I’ve seen a pattern emerge–a season of quiet always results in fresh inspiration for me. After a time of detaching from all my pet projects, I gain new perspective, and priorities tend to fall into line themselves, instead of me having to deliberate about it. Clarity replaces chaos in parts of my mind, and I go back to regular life with a lingering scent of stillness giving an atmosphere of peace to the busiest moments.

So, whether rest is something you’re good at fitting into your routine, or sickness is the only thing that slows you down, I wanted to remind us both to breath deep in those moments and be thankful for the gift that they are. There is more beauty, more worth in quiet rest then our finite minds will ever understand. This is me publicly committing to be grateful as I wait for the breeze to pick up again.

7 responses to “Dispatch from the Doldrums”

  1. Shannon @ GrowingSlower Avatar

    haha! I have experienced those Alabama thunderstorms! That’s nothing to mess around with 😉 I was thinking just this week what a strange gift sickness can be. It makes me so thankful for the extra snuggles from sniffles babies, and extra support from a loving husband. If these times didn’t come, how would I ever realize how blessed I truly am? I hope you’re able to enjoy your calm between the storms too. 🙂

  2. Joanna Aislinn Avatar

    So glad to know it ain’t just me. I was sick a few weeks ago and felt everything you described. Watched three hours of Law &Order tonite and had to let go of the guilt. Glad I found you, Trina!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Delighted to meet you, Joanna! Yeah, TV (or movies) is a real guilt trip for me, unless I remind myself that it’s me intentionally pursuing rest in one of the few ways that works for me. 😉 Good for you, letting go of the guilt. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

      1. Joanna Aislinn Avatar

        I like your thinking on ‘pursuing rest’. (One way of fooling myself into ‘doing’ something, effective for putting the guilt at bay, lol.

  3. Jessica Avatar

    I just loved this! Thank you! I almost scrolled past but instead I got to be encouraged. Rest is a need,not a luxury.

  4. Lauren Avatar

    Breathe in, breathe out! I’ve learned to embrace the doldrums, almost becoming excited when they hit because I know if I use them right, I’m going to be so much better on the other side :0) Love your heart here lady!

  5. MaryEllen Avatar

    Oh goodness. You’re writing about me! I have the world’s most awesome idea approximately once every 35 minutes, and I must execute it right this very minute. Sleep is highly over-rated, because when I try to sleep, all my brain does is dream about the next earth-shattering plan. Sit still? Create nothing? What will the world do without my fantabulous ideas (that hardly ever come to fruition because I’ve already started on the next three before I could finish one?) Oh dear. Thanks, Trina. I need to rest. The world really WILL continue to go ’round while I’m sleeping.

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