I signed up to receive daily writing prompts from Lisa Romeo, one per day for the month of October as a way to keep myself honest and make sure that, even as I work on selling my manuscript, I am continuing to write every day.
Generally, the things I write about are very much present in my daily life and they come to the forefront of my consciousness when I walk the dog or shower in the morning or meditate. But sometimes, I find myself in need of some new inspiration and since I've also signed up to take a writing class from Lisa, I decided that maybe this would be fun.
When I checked my email this morning before dashing off to yoga, I saw that today's prompt was "past the halfway point." Instantly, my mind went to thoughts of traveling a difficult road and the relief that comes when you know you're more than halfway there, but I was having trouble crystallizing a moment from my life that felt compelling enough to write about. I closed down my inbox and gathered my yoga things, figuring something would either come to me or it wouldn't.
Much to my chagrin, but not altogether unexpected, in the few quiet moments before class started when the instructor asks that we focus our attention away from the mind and into our bodies, letting ourselves come squarely into the yoga practice, my mind honed in on the writing prompt like a laser targeting device.
I've been struggling with anxiety over the past couple of days and I asked myself whether I could safely say that I felt as though I was more than half of the way back from that to my "normal" self. Nope. But this anxiety is different. Not because of its nature - it still has that impending doom flavor to it and it threatens to swipe the rug out from under me - but because of what exists in its void.
Thanks in large part to the Positive Intentions class I took in September with Kristine Leon, the bulk of my recent days have been spent in a state of quiet calm and happiness. I have found myself smiling spontaneously for no good reason at all multiple times per day. Really, authentically smiling - the kind that leads to crow's feet around your eyes and accentuates your cheekbones until friends begin to wonder if you have had some sort of plastic surgery. I am able to shrug off most of the small annoyances that pelt into my skin on a daily basis and spend a few minutes bookending my days by experiencing one quiet, intentional moment and grounding myself.
As I closed my eyes and waited for class to begin, the picture in my mind was of myself sitting in the middle. Half in and half out. Straddling a balance beam with one leg immersed in Anxiety Soup and the other bathed in the golden glow of peace. From time to time over the past several days, I have certainly found myself "past the halfway point," leaning much farther into one realm or the other and I found it interesting to note that my goal seemed to be on the side of peace. There was a huge part of me that really wanted to hop off that beam, turn my back on the feelings I don't like and sprint for the finish line. I suppose that isn't surprising, but I think I need to spend a little longer sitting here and examining this dichotomy.
Generally, when I think of a mid-point, the words that come to my mind are 'medium,' and 'middle.' Neither here nor there. The dead point in the swing of a pendulum where it hits the bottom of the curve and is centered. Not exciting, not extreme, just existing. This is a new kind of "halfway" for me. Existing between and simultaneously in two extremes. I'm fairly certain that this isn't exactly what Lisa had in mind when she came up with this prompt, but then, neither did I when I first saw it. I guess I owe her a big THANK YOU!