Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Soirée - AAARRRHHHGGG!

I try not to let them, but some little things (and they are little things in the grand scheme of my life) frustrate me. Like sharp little knives they poke and jab.


But the things that twist in my side and hurt the most are those things: chores, interruptions, people, un-intentioned procrastinations and crazy unproductive thoughts that run rampant over my best well-laid plans, my writing time and even the very motivation to write.

Don't you just hate when that happens?

The worst part is that some days, my attempts (to calm my scattered thoughts, smooth out my frayed emotional anxieties and soothe the cry in my heart for silence and solitude) go awry. Then by the time the busy day is over, I am so mentally drained, physically spent and emotionally whip-lashed that I stare at the computer screen or a blank page in my journal with a mind that is just as blank.

Contrary to how my days end, my mornings are usually relaxed, contemplative, mindful. In the blissful pre-dawn moments I pray, I read, I meditate and most mornings, I write in my journal. Oh joy!

However, from the moment, I switch to daily-duties-mode, it is an all-day struggle to remember and maintain the essence of the early morning ritual. In fact that essence fades the further I venture into the realities of my day.

By noon I'm into ARRRHHHHGGGG-mode and it doesn't let up until the sun goes down around 6PM. By that time of course, I'm too tired to appreciate the gift of silence and solitude that darkness brings.

I have been building a new practice of writing at night. It was going so well and I was so proud of my progress but it is waning. These days, my life resembles the days when I was a fulltime frustrated, overwhelmed, disillusioned, depressed and stressed employee (it was so bad that each of those words, though similar in meaning, deserve to be individually noted). I didn't have time for much else and my tired mind shut down from the moment I left the office at 5PM.

Like my friend Jan at Awake is Good and so many others, I have a bedtime ritual. However, mine runs a three - five day dash and frizzles out into a few mindless activities before crashing into bed. Somehow in the first few days after my bedtime ritual crashes and falls into a neglected heap, I still manage to sleep. It is not the most restful sleep but enough so that the next morning, I awake bright-eyed and bushy-tail. Eventually, my nighttime sleep (if you can call it that), begins to mirror the mental anxieties of my day - busy, conflicting and converging thoughts jostling for attention and action.

In between tossing and turn, when I am aware of what's happening, I groan,


Maybe I am not mining my morning moments for enough of its sustaining properties. Maybe I need to get up earlier, dig deeper and see what I can find. Yes. That's what I'll do beginning Monday morning. I'll let you know how that goes.

How do you cope with the realities of your day which may run contrary to your ideas, your efforts, your dream? Do you scream or groan "ARRRHHHHHGGGGG! " like I do? If you could begin a new practice or shift to a new mindset to improve your day, your life, your writing, what would it be? When will you begin? Would you be willing to share your progress with us?


Anonymous said...

Cheryl, I am a stay at home mom, so I don't have to get to a 9 to 5 each day. But my duties as a mom and founder of my family's mission and my blog and podcast to boot I stay pretty busy.

Within the past year I have started meditating (which is awesome) and on the advice of Jan I give myself 30 minutes of me time in the morning and before bed. I have also incorporated meta prayer meditation into my life after reading about it through Jan.

I find reciting affirmations at the very moment chaos begins brings me back to focus and enables me to control the chatter.

I wish you many blessings on your journey.

Jan said...

What a perfect post for today. I can so resonate, my sister. Often, I start out well, then the pace picks up and the hamster wheel feeling in my body begins. I am getting better at noticing it and honoring what it is telling me. So I stop. I move away from my tasks. I take my lunch outside. I fill the bird feeders. Pull a few weeds. Ponder my garden. Look at the sky. I sit and take a break, even for 5 minutes to watch the birds.

I always loved Jesus' parable about the birds. That they do not worry. They trust that all is well; all will be well. That they will be fed and cared for. I think so much of our daily striving is focused on getting everything done so all will be well (or the perception of that) in our lives.

I also am more gentle with myself than I've ever been. I say, "oh, well" a lot and let things go. My writing, of which I spoke to you earlier, is so stalled. I figure now it is the time of year. Summer calls for busyness with friends and family. I remember to surrender my feelings of guilt about not getting a lot done or matching my hopes with my efforts.

I am learning to let go with love and compassion for myself.

As a result, I am not "producing" as much as I thought I would, but I am deepening my understand of my sacred self...and honoring it.

Does this help?

Love to you this day.

P.s. I say, "Believe, breathe, and be well to myself" -- often!

p.s.s. I love your ARRRGGGHHH. I reminds me of Lucy in the Charlie Brown comic strip. :-) She was so adorably neurotic. Rest assured, we all feel that way now and then.

Cheryl Wright said...


Thanks for understanding, identifying and sharing your process to un-aaarrrhhhggg-ness (smile). What a word huh?

That's it right there. You hit the nail on the head with:

" much of our daily striving is focused on getting everything done so all will be well (or the perception of that) in our lives."

I too am learning to recognize the early signs. For me it is "AAARRRHHHGGG!"

My problem exists in just letting things go, leaving them be, walking away, closing my eyes to the exterior and opening them to the interior - what my body and my heart aches for.

Chores other tasks have a way - let me correct that. I have a way of allowing chores and other tasks to engage my undivided attention and I want to get everything done just right (obsessive perfectionism). Then overwhelm sets in and, well, you know, "AAARRRHHHGGG"

After I wrote the post early this morning, I grabbed my journal and began writing. It was an feverish
record of the blessings in my life. Reading the 9-page entry afterward, opened my eyes to the fact that some of the very things that cause me some frustration because they seem to be eating up my time for writing and those precious daily and weekly rituals, are laced with blessings and lessons.

Once again journaling has proven its healing power.

I am so much better now - showered, fresh from having a light, healthy lunch, updating my laptop, using my desktop and about to crawl into bed (it's raining cats and dogs and cows)with a book and my journal. Reading in bed puts me to sleep so I'm going for that. When I awake I'll write in my journal and if weather holds up, I just might head out to the mall with my husband - just to walk around and savor the sights and sounds of the usual Saturday crowd.

I got the AAARRRHHHGGG off my chest and I'm being well with myself day.

Cheryl Wright said...

Hi Tabitha,

Often it is the non-9to5ers who have the busiest lives. So, I applaud you on your dedication to finding and using the most productive practices to get your "stuff" done.

Blessings to you too.

Terri Tiffany said...

I don't have many of those days and I wish for them! I spend much of my days alone and so I have the luxury to write when I want to but often other things do call and so I make myself a schedule and try to follow it.

Magnolia said...

Well, let's do I cope? Movies. Lots of movies. I surf mindlessly on the Internet. I eat brie and crackers. I eat Ruffles bar-b-que potato chips. I go out to eat Mexican food......hmmm, I'm beginning to see a pattern revolves around eating.

Sometimes sitting outside on my front porch with a glass of tea and a good book calms me. Cleaning my house calms me.

Long walks (which I haven't taken in weeks) calm me. My sweet, loving, little Jack Russell makes me reeeeally happy with her unconditional affections.

But, the biggest thing I'm doing these days is putting ALL of my children in public school. That will free me up dramtically.

After that? I dunno. Once I get a new routine down, I'll letcha know.

Ruffles? Anyone?

Cheryl Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl Wright said...


I used to have days like yours and they were a dream come true. But that was pre-grand-daughter.

Now I have to learn the tricks moms with babies use to get through their days and still make and enjoy time to write and be well with myself.

Those are hard lesson/tricks but despite the aaarrrhhhggg days, I'm hanging in there. After all, she won;t be a babe-in-arms forever.

Cheryl Wright said...

Hey Mags,

I envy you with those times on your front porch. That used to be my favorite way too. It was a daily routine until the rainy season began. Drizzle and paper don;t mix too well.

I am trying to get comfortable with my bed and my favorite arm chair in the living room. And they are not too shabby when it is raining. Talk about cozy!

I'll be looking out for the report on that new routine.

And yes, yes, I'll have some ruffles.

Jan said...

Cheryl, I am so glad to hear that you tended to yourself in such a potent way. It's amazing what we can release when we give ourselves permission and the TLC we need in that very moment. I hope your nap was lovely. Isn't it great to nap while it rains? Such beautiful sleep...

As always, I appreciate your candor and your faithfulness to your path. You inspire!

And to Tabitha, I am so happy that you are incorporating gentle practices for yourself. The "me time" is so important for us as women because we do give soooo much to others. I worked this weekend so tomorrow (Monday) will be my "me day." I will post on my blog in the morning, go to lunch with a friend. Return home after a stop at the garden store because I am loving replanting my garden with perennials and the whole process is very nurturing for me. Maybe a nap, too! Or a bit of sunning on the beach.

I used to push myself each and every day to get a certain amount of work done (professional and housework) and now I take days where I will let as much of that go as I can to be extra good to myself. It is paying off. I am happier and healthier than ever--and more creative than ever. Self-care is spirit-care in my book!

Hugs all around!

(Cheryl, pardon my rant to Tabitha. I just couldn't stop myself. LOL!)

Cheryl Wright said...

Hi Jan,

You can rant anytime you want. We're friends here.

I like what you said about self-care being spirit-care and you are leading the way with your own efforts to make it a reality in your life. I'm learning so much more about the whole concept from you - when you succeed at it, when you stumble and more importantly, when you pull yourself back up and get on with it again.

I thought I was taking care of myself until I got to know you through your blog. Even when I fail in my efforts to adequately care for myself, I don't stay in the doldrums about it for too long. I know I can share my frustrations here, confident that my blogging friends will chip in with advice, stories of their own struggles and inspiration to help me return to my own self-care/spirit-care practice.

Life Potentials Network said...

This is such a wonderful and rich conversation I don't believe I can add much to it. I love how we are learning to care for ourselves, letting go of the rigid perfectionism so many of us have, and bringing in practices that support rather than drag down.

How many years I spent in self flaggelation, what you are calling AAARRRHHHGGG moments! I always made it my fault. Thanks to years of learning and studying and reading I can now safely say my AAARRRHHHGGG days are few and far between. But I remember them well and reading your post, Cheryl, I was reminded how I don't want to go back there and how far I have come!

Here is one of my main realignment practices and it takes just a minute: Breathing. It is so key for me. I step back, take some deep, relaxing, focused breaths. I look outside and focus on nature. Even if I can only see the sky. I remember that I am a spiritual being having a human experience and that sometimes that is hard. And sometimes I can forgive myself for not being perfect. And that sometimes it is just fine to stop what I am doing and go back to it later. Releasing the strict guidelines I have given myself.

As you know from my blog I am into the Tao and there is a lot of letting go in there. Letting go and just being. Back to a human being, not a human doing.

I just saw this last week as a comment on someone's blog:

All shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well
-- Christian mystic Julian of Norwich

It certainly applies here!

This was a great post, Cheryl. Thank you for being so honest and soul baring. You are so dear.

MaryAnn Diorio, Ph.D. said...

Dear Cheryl,

Yours is a struggle we all face at one time or another. A couple of things that have helped me is to ask the Lord each morning what it is He wants me to do. He once told me that I always have enough time to do what He wants me to do. If I'm frazzled, it's that I'm either disorganized or that I'm doing things He never asked me to do.

As for "opening your eyes to the interior", we can do that in the midst of even great external chaos. Christ lives on the interior, and He is always there. One of the ways I maintain my peace is by continually turning my eyes inward throughout the day and communing with Jesus. He is our Peace in the midst of every storm.

I hope this helps.:)



Anonymous said...

For years I've started my writing in the morning -- first thing -- when I'm freshest. It started out of routine, after I got my son off to school before 8:00 each morning. I hurried back to the desk and got to work, stopping by noon for lunch, then working again until my boy got home from school. Having a routine really helps. Like Jan Lundy wrote, I find it helps to shift to another routine -- cleaning, cooking, gardening -- at moments when I get stuck or frustrated.

Cheryl Wright said...


There is always room for one more thought from one more friend/one more kindred spirit. So you are welcome to jump up repeat our stories, our questions, our answers and share new insights.

I love Julian Norwich’s words and have printed them on a small card and taped it to the tile backsplash above my kitchen sink. That is where I usually feel the exasperation of rushing through tasks, doing too much and stressing over little things.
Thank you.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your own practice with this issue. Finite human that I am I sometimes forget that my strength comes from God but only as I do His will. I’m sure God must say, “Oh foolish, foolish child, you’ve taken your eyes off me again. Look here; look this way – inward and upward.

Whenever I do, my mental fog clears, my heart grows peaceful, and my eyes open to the blessings that reside in unexpected circumstances and mundane tasks.

Hey Cindy,

I’m a morning girl myself and no matter how I try, I keep coming back to those early pre-dawn hours for the peaceful preparation to face the new day and the peaceful practice of writing in the early morning.

Thankfully, I’ve made some progress working/writing at night between 6pm and 9pm.

Waking up at 4am for my personal spiritual morning devotions and after, going straight to writing is a practice I am working to develop into a full-fledged habit. I certainly need it at this time when my daylight hours are swallowed up by the sweetest little baby girl.

angela said...

Hi Cheryl,
I am still a "frustrated, overwhelmed, disillusioned and stressed" (but not depressed) part-time employee, so I can more than relate to what you are saying. I have very little time at my disposal and yes, my mind shuts down when I leave the hospital, plus, my days are very long - I get home around eight each night - so the most time creative thing at that time is to select my outfit for the next day. But I am easing my way into retirement, so hopefully come next year I'll be able to do what I want to do.
But meanwhile, I can give you some advice from my writing coach. She recommends making a marketing plan on Sunday night and sticking to it during the week. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds like a good idea.

Cheryl Wright said...

Hi Angela,

I try to set up a plan for the week but it is a challenge to stick to it with my 1 yr 2 mth old granddaughter. I just seem to be pooped all the time.

Even when her mother/my daughter picks her up at 5.30/6.00 in the evening, I can barely focus on my writing. But I try to get in at least 1 hour of work and 1 hour of study for my two courses (Comprehensive Writing and Proofreading & Copy Editing).

I hold to belief of better little than none. That's my mantra.

I've merged my blogs in one Cheryl Wright - Perspectives at

Come on over sometime for a visit.

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