Tag Archives: break

I Need A Muffin

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” 
– Jack Kornfield

Well, if you’ve noticed, I haven’t been posting on here as much as I used to.  Things have been a bit busy.

As most of you know from previous posts, in addition to being a writer, I am also an actor with community theatre.  For the past month, I’ve actually been working on two shows at the same time.  One just wrapped up last week, and I’m currently in the last weeks of rehearsal for the next one.  In other words, it’s crunch time.

Again.

I seem to live my life in this way, I’ve noticed.  It always seems like I’m on the go.  Training for a race, rehearsing for a show, writing a novel (that’s the new one on the list).  Always busy.  Always working my butt off while inching towards something.  Never seeming to slow down.

Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing.  As Maya Angelou is quoted as saying:

“It has been said that we need just three things in life:  Something to do, Something to look forward to, and Someone to love.”

I’m so blessed to have every single one of those things at any given moment.  Honestly, I’m just an overall happy person, with very few problems.  I forget that fact from time to time, of course (like I think we all are guilty of), but it’s always true.

However, the other day, something humorous – and important – caught my attention.  I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, so I thought I’d share it here with you.  Maybe it might mean something to you, too.  You never know.

My boyfriend Richard and our kids go to church on Sundays as often as we can.  And since the kids adore the Sunday school portion of church, Richard and I have found our way to an adult class that we have come to love as much as they do.  Our wonderful instructor, Teresa, does a sweet thing each and every Sunday morning – she bakes muffins and brings them in to share with us.  Well, word has gotten around (or maybe that wonderful smell has gotten around!) that there are muffins on the premises, and some of the kids have started wandering into our class to get themselves one or two.  And this past Sunday, one of these kids who was doing just that very thing, made quite an impression on me.

There we sat in class, engrossed in the powerful words that Teresa always has to share with us, when we heard the church bells ring signaling the end of class.  Since we weren’t quite done with our discussion, we sat for a few extra minutes sharing some final words before packing up to head out.  Once the discussion was complete, we all started fumbling for our things as Teresa walked over to open the classroom door.  She opened the door, and there stood the cutest little girl you’ve ever seen.  She just stood there, waiting quietly and patiently for the door to be open, and once it was, she made her presence known with this statement:

“I need a muffin.”

That’s all she said.  Just four little words to state her purpose.  And in she walked, got her muffin, and went about her business.

muffinWell, of course, we all laughed and laughed over that.  The hilarity behind this little girl just standing there waiting patiently for the door to open so she could state her purpose and get what she needed led to some serious giggles from the adults.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there is actually a lot I could learn from that little girl.

1.  Don’t be in a hurry.   She knew the muffin would be there when the door was open, so she was patient. She didn’t bust in the room and interrupt class, no matter how much that little tummy was growling.  She just waited her turn.  She knew when muffin time would be and didn’t try to make it happen a second sooner.

2. Decide what you need, and go get it.  There was no question what Little Miss wanted.  A muffin.  And she didn’t just want it.  She needed it.  So, by gosh, she made it happen.

3. Indulge every now and then.  Ok, so muffins aren’t the healthiest things in the world?  So what!  When you need a muffin, you need a muffin.  That’s just all there is to it.  There is a time for meat and potatoes; there is a time for fruit and vegetables; and then….then there is a time for muffins.  Recognize that time and savor it.  Everything doesn’t have to be done ‘right’ all the time.  Sometimes, it’s ok to take a muffin break.  It just is.

So, there ya have it.  Some “food for thought” for us all from a little girl who needed a muffin.

*giggle*

Maybe I’m seeing too much in this?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  It wouldn’t be the first time that’s ever happened.

But then again – maybe that little girl just taught us all a few lessons that we needed to hear.  Maybe sometimes I need to sit back and take a quick break before proceeding on with the pursuit of all these goals.  Maybe sometimes I need to stop working on my novel, and throw in a short blog again now and then.  Maybe sometimes I need to stop studying my lines, and watch a TV show with my kids.  Maybe sometimes I need to stop training for a race, and just leave my GPS tracking device at home and run a few miles for fun.

You see where I’m going with that?  Eh, I don’t know.  Are you with me?  Could you use a muffin break yourself?

With that said, please excuse me.  I better wrap this blog up for the moment.  There’s something very important and yummy calling my name….

***

“The really idle man gets nowhere. The perpetually busy man does not get much further.” 
– Sir Heneage Ogilvie

 

Remember me?

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
– Henry David Thoreau

Well, hello there, Big Bad Blog World!  I haven’t seen you in a while.  Allow me to re-introduce myself.  My name is Melissa Halsey Caudill and I have not written a blog post in ELEVEN DAYS.  What?!  Eleven days??  Well, let me tell ya – these have been some busy eleven days.  I sure do miss writing on here…and I’ll be back to posting regularly pretty soon.  But, for now, I just wanted to pop back on here and give a quick update explaining my recent absence.

IAWLblog1Last week, I was involved in a play called It’s a Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Show.  This was the George Bailey story we all know and love, but with a slight twist in that it’s performed entirely as a radio show.  Set in the 1940s, a group of four actors, a radio host, and a sound effects guy all meet together to vocally perform this timeless classic while “live” on the air in front of a studio audience.  I was blessed to work with an extremely talented cast and crew to put this together in a very short amount of time.  I was blown away by the talent that surrounded me on that stage, and the ability of everyone to put together such a fantastic show in less than two weeks.

Well, as part of this unique theatre experience, an offer was presented to local businesses.  Rather than our performing the scripted fake commercial ads that are included with the show, we offered businesses the chance to purchase an ad spot in our show and we (as in I”) would write them their own personalized skit and jingle to be sung to a popular Christmas tune.  Much to our surprise, many businesses took us up on the offer and I found myself with about 20 commercial spots to fill in a matter of days.  Much to my relief, my female costar and theatre company owner, Kim-Noel, picked up the slack and, between the two of us, we met the deadline.  And, even if I do say so myself, they were actually pretty good!  Making sure to include lots of humor, yet keeping with the 40s theme while marketing current-day products and services, turned out to be a challenge – but one that we rose to and met.  I was so incredibly proud of the end result.  Watching my co-stars sing the words that I had written, and hearing the laughter from the audience because of it, was a thrill like no other.

So, while I have in fact been absent from the blog, I have not been absent from writing.  I hope my regular followers will stay tuned and keep checking back in for more work soon.  For now, I’m basking in the glow of the end to my week of furious deadline-driven writing and enjoying a much-needed respite.  But no worries – you can’t keep this mouth shut for long.  As said in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice, “I’ll be baaack.”

I just had to take a page from Mr. Thoreau as he so eloquently put it in that quote I posted at the beginning of this blog.  It was time to stand up and live for a bit.  But you can bet your patootie that I’ll be sitting back down again here soon to write about it.

See you soon!

***

“Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” 
– Benjamin Franklin

Instigator

in·sti·ga·tor: a person who brings about or initiates something.

instigator

I’m an instigator.

Now, I know that the first thought that pops into your head when you hear that word is a negative one.  And it’s true – that word can be, and usually is, seen in a negative light.  I’m well aware that I probably fit a lot of the characteristics of the negative aspects of this word (as many people in my life will tell you – well, assuming those people are still in my life at all after this blog….), but I don’t really want to concentrate on the negative connotation of the word right now.

Look at the definition I posted above.  An instigator is not necessarily someone who starts “problems” per se.  No, it’s someone who ‘brings about something.’  While yes, that can be something negative, I don’t think that’s all that it means.  It just means the person who gets the ball rolling.  Who makes things start.  Not just bad things – any ‘things.’

Well, by golly, that’s me.

As the oldest of six (yes, six) kids, it has always sort of fallen on my shoulders to be the ‘leader,’ so to speak.  I was substantially older than my next sibling, so I was always somewhat of a second mom to them more than just an older sister.  There was no one to baby me, or do things for me – I was the one doing things for everyone else.  Unfortunately, that trait has followed me into adulthood.  As a mother, of course, that trait is necessary.  You have to do things for others – it’s your job.  But as my kids are starting to get older, I have a confession to make.

I’m sick of this.

I am.  I’m just flat out sick of it.  I no longer “have” to do things for them anymore, but I still do.  Because it’s ingrained in my brain.  And sadly, it doesn’t just stay at home in the areas of motherhood.  It spills out into all of my life.

A friend get-together?  You betcha I’m the one who arranged it.  A family outing with the boyfriend and kids?  Yep, my idea.  An email checking on a friend you hadn’t heard from in a while?  Never the recipient, always the sender.

I picture in my mind all of the little spirits or souls or whatever you call them, all standing in line waiting to be placed into bodies.  God (or whoever) calls out, “Ok, listen up!  All of you who want to be ‘go getters’ stay where you are. If you want to be the one who is always in control of everything – who always does all the work as far as emotional relationships are concerned – and who never gets to just relax and let someone else take the reigns – you’re in the right line.  Now, the rest of you – the ones who want to just kick back and relax all through life and know that someone else will take care of everything and you won’t have to lift a finger to make it happen – yeah, you guys move over into a line to the left.  But, hurry – spaces are limited.”  You know what happened to my little spirit/soul thingy?  It had every intention of running over the line at the left, but someone behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Did you hear that?  I wasn’t listening.”  And while I took the time to explain to the little irresponsible soul thingy what had been said, I missed my spot in line.  And you know who got it?  The little twerp who wasn’t listening.

Story. Of. My. Life.

So, here I am.  The one who does everything.

Am I feeling sorry for myself by writing this blog?  Am I whining?  Am I complaining?

You bet your ass I am.

Why?  Because I’m tired.  So incredibly tired.

How late is too late to switch teams?  Can I get a do-over?  Hey, keeper of the soul thingies, can we go back and try again??  Can I have another chance?

I know, without a doubt, that there are relationships in my life (I can count a bunch of them right now) that would fizzle and disappear if I stopped making them happen.  If I just decided that I’m going to kick back and let someone else do all the work with regards to communication and plans for get-togethers and all of that other relationship ‘maintenance,’ those people would disappear from my life completely.  There’s not a doubt in my mind.

I was speaking to someone about this very topic and they commented with an interesting story.  She said she had a friend that would fall in this category I just described.  Once, they had somewhat of a disagreement.  After the disagreement, she decided that for just this once, she was going to let the friend be the one to make the call to try to mend things.  And you know what?

Seven years later, she’s still waiting on that call.

I don’t want to play this game anymore.  I’m so tired of making things happen.  I need a change.

Yes, I know I generally try to keep these blogs positive.  But someone forgot to put her Happy Pants on today.  Sorry about that.  It’s just that sometimes – you really need to step back and take stock.  Realize that all of this one-sidedness isn’t fair.

Realize that enough is enough.

That time has come.  I need a break.

***

“There comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t jump puddles for you.”
– Anonymous

Nothing

“We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing.  We worry too much.  We don’t allow our bodies to heal, and we don’t allow our minds and hearts to heal.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

So, I’ve recently discovered something about myself.

I don’t do enough of Nothing.

(Hush up, grammar police, that was NOT a double negative.  I capitalized Nothing, so therefore it becomes a something.  See?  Seeeee?  Ok, now if you will let me continue….)

I have always been someone who is continuously on the go.  Sometimes by choice, sometimes not.  My life is one of constant movement.  I have a job that is over an hour’s drive (one way) from my home, so work alone keeps me on the move for much of the day.  Then, in the few hours that I have remaining of the day, I spend my time trying to squeeze in picking up one child from dance, one from cross-country practice, and even…(gasp!) making time for my own activities.  I know, right?  A mom with her own activities?  Trust me, I know how unheard of that is.  I have gotten the lecture from strangers and family alike.  I get it.

But that’s a blog for another day.

The point is this – I’m busy.  And I like it that way.

Well, until I don’t anymore.

Lately, I’ve been noticing that I’m not handling stress well.  It’s like I’m in constant “chaos” mode.  Whenever anything negative happens – no matter how small said something may be – my brain signals the “catastrophe” alarm.  All hands on deck!  Snap to attention!  This problem MUST be solved. Now!  It’s HUGE.  The world itself will stop spinning on its axis if this problem is not attended to RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND.  Even if said problem is…oh, say maybe I’ve run out of milk at the house?  MY CHILDREN ARE GOING TO STARVE, PEOPLE!!  Milk must be procured IMMEDIATELY!

Good grief, I’m tired just reading that paragraph.

As a friend of mine posted on Facebook recently:

mess

Yeah.  That.

I think it’s finally starting to catch up to me.  So, I’ve made a conscious decision to stop.

Yep.  That’s it.  Just stop.

Now, I’m not going to stop everything of course.  Some of the things I do can’t be stopped.  (There would be some angry, hungry teenagers sitting outside dance studios and cross-country tracks if that were the case.)  And some things I do, I don’t want to stop.  My hobbies are more than just “hobbies” really.  They define me.  I’m a writer – so yes,  I want to keep writing.  I’m an actor, I want to keep acting.  I’m a runner, I’m going to keep running (I’m even training for my second half marathon right now).

But here’s the difference….

I’m going to chill out a little bit.  Or rather, I should say, I’m going to allow myself to chill out a little bit.

I have started to cut back quite a bit on my blogging.  If you’re a regular follower and you’ve noticed, please allow me to apologize.  (Oh, and if this fictitious regular follower person exists, let me extend my deepest gratitude for reading my stuff so often that you actually noticed I was gone.  How cool are you!?)  Being a writer, I never really stop writing exactly.  Phrases and ideas are constantly going through my head.  And when they do, I write them down somewhere.  But the difference now is that I’m not in such a hurry to get to a computer (or a notebook – yep, I still handwrite things sometimes, can you believe that!?) and put those words and phrases into a story or blog entry.  They’ll still be there when I’m ready – when I have time.  There’s no deadline.  There’s no need to push myself to the point of exhaustion to keep up with some imaginary quota that I’ve invented in my head.  That’s ridiculous.

As for acting – I mentioned in a previous blog that it’s time to take a break.  Auditions came and went for the next show at my theatre and I didn’t attend.  That alone was a source of pride for me – I was actually taking a stand for my own sanity and health and forcing myself to rest a little.

But then something happened that made me really have to put my money where my mouth is.  I received a message asking me to consider a role.

Whoa.  Ok, now that’s different.

I didn’t even go to auditions…I did what I said I was going to do, right?  I stuck to my guns and tried to take a break. But to be asked to play a role?  How flattering, right?  Acting is what I do.  And this role – man, it sounds perfect for me.  Right up my alley.  It would be ok to accept it just this once and rest later, right?

Nope.

I politely declined and thanked them for the consideration.  Wow.  I turned down a role.  I can honestly say that as an actor, this was a first for me.  Acting is so important to me – I would jump at any chance I got to play a role like this in the past.  But now?   Well.  Right now I’m tired.  Bone tired.  I don’t want to see something I love turn to something that I feel like I have to do.  I just can’t let that happen.  There will be other shows.  When I’m ready.

Now, as for running….yes, I know I just mentioned that I’m training for my next half marathon.  I know what you’re thinking.  That’s not “stopping,” right?  What the heck is up with that??  I thought this chick said she was going to chill out.  How is training for a half marathon chilling out?  Well, you’re right.  It’s not.  Not really, anyway.  But see – this is something that I really want.  Yes, it’s hard work, but the feeling I get when I finish a run – no matter how slow the run happened to be or if I met any ‘goals’ or not – is one that is hard to beat.  It is a relaxation in itself.  It’s a purging of all that’s wrong with the world.  If you’re a runner, I know you know what I mean.  Before a run, you can be weighted down with all the worries you can possibly carry – and then after the run, you feel lighter.  You feel free.  I need that right now.  I need to create a better me.  A calmer me.  A more controlled me.

A me I can live with.

Yesterday, my daughter and I were sitting in the living room at home.  The errands were done, homework finished, work and school day complete – and there we were.  Just sitting.  I looked over at her and said, “Is there something we’re forgetting?”  She replied, “What do you mean?” and I said, “Well, I just feel like there’s something we should be doing.”  Her response?  “I guess it’s all done.”

“I guess it’s all done.”

Yeah.

At that moment, I’m sure there were other things that could have been done.  I could have went over my sad budget one more time.  I could have washed another load of clothes.  I could have exercised, I could have laid out my clothes for the next day, I could have forced myself to start on my next blog.  But I didn’t do any of that.  At that moment, sitting in my living room in the silence with my daughter, it really was “all done.”  Everything else would be there when it was time.  But for right then, I allowed myself to bask in the nothingness.

There’s an Italian phrase that comes to mind: dolce far niente.  This means, the sweetness of doing nothing.

And it was perfection.

Time to start creating more moments like that in my life.

More dolce far niente?  Why, yes, thank you.  Don’t mind if I do.

***

The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room, not try to be or do anything whatever.”
– May Sarton

Burnout

“Take a rest.  A field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”
– Ovid

I just remembered something.

I’m a runner.

Did you remember that?  Because I didn’t.  I’m tellin’ ya – I seriously think I forgot about that for a while.

I have these little ‘categories’ set up on my blog.  Not sure if anyone ever notices that you can search for writings under the categories, but I thought it was a cool option when I was designing this thing, so I went with it.  I set up four categories – Freestyle Writings, Poetic Musings, Running, and Songs.  When I first started out, I was afraid that the “running” category would be jam packed, and that my readers who were non-runners would be bored senseless.  I was at the peak of my running ‘career’ at that point – training my tail off for my first half-marathon (which I successfully completed in May, by the way).  I was full of wit and wisdom for new runners and amateur runners like myself – hoping to show everyone that anyone can do this running thing and that you just have to push through and believe in yourself and persevere through the obstacles…..yada yada.  So on and so forth.

But then – well, I don’t know.

I just kinda just stopped that.

I just clicked on my own “Running” tab to see the last thing I had written about running.  It was this:  https://missyspublicjunk.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/time-to-chill/  Oh.  An article called “Time to Chill.”  Well, that explains it.

At that time, I was all prepared to purchase this t-shirt and hang up my running shoes:

runningsucks

Yep.  I was done for a while.

In other words, I had been….

running-on-empty

Hehe.  Get it?  Running on empty?  Oh, the wit.

But I digress.

So, yeah.  I had achieved what many of us have achieved in many different areas of our lives at some point.   Anytime you’re passionate about something; you spend all your time doing said something; you dedicate your heart and soul and spirit to the something – there exists the risk of running into that little devil who is always waiting just around the corner to put a stop to it all.  What is this little devil, you ask?

Burnout.

“Burnout is nature’s way of telling you, you’ve been going through the motions – your soul has departed; you’re a zombie, a member of the walking dead, a sleepwalker.”
– Sam Keen

That’s just it.  I had become a sleepwalker.

So, you know what I did?  I took a break.  And I think that’s the smartest thing I could have done for myself.

In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that I’ve started feeling the pull again.  I started with a few short runs – a mile or two here and there.  And slowly, I find myself inching my way back up.  A 4-miler here.  A 5-miler there.  And yesterday – I did my own little 10K just to prove I could.  Little by little,  I’m making my way back.  I saw a post yesterday for a 7-mile run up and down a mountain road here locally.  Hmmmm.  I have two months to train….

My point is this.  Burnout is real.  No matter how much you love something, no matter how much a part of your life it becomes, overdoing it can be problematic.  It really can.  It’s ok to take a break.  You know?  Chill out a little bit.  Let things settle.  Let yourself remember why you love this thing so much and why you ever started it in the first place.

Are you a runner?  Well, there.  Apply this lesson literally.  But if you’re not?  Well then, I’m sure there’s something you can apply it to.

Maybe even someone?  Now, there’s some food for thought.

But see, here’s the thing.  When you want it bad enough, when it has become a part of you, it won’t disappear.  I promise.  Taking a break is not going to un-do any progress you made.  This thing you love is not going to go away.  Not when it’s real.

Rest easy.  Stop worrying.  It will be back.  You’ll see.

***

“”Sometimes in sports there are times when it is best to wait for another day and try again, at least for me. I see life as the race and I see no honor in reaching the finish and passing out or crawling across the finishing line. In Costa Rica, we have a saying: It’s not about being the first to finish, it’s about how you get there.”
-Roman Urbina

Time to Chill

takeabreak

I’m about to do something that I have never done so far in my “career” as a runner.

I’m backing out of a race.

I was scheduled to run the Bear in July.  For those who missed my blog about it, this is a 5-mile race straight up a mountain.  When I signed up for this thing back in February, I knew it was going to be quite a challenge.  I was prepared to put in the training and do what it took to be able to run this bear of a race and be able to say that I did it.  Nothing was going to stop me.

Well.  February was four months ago.  A lot has happened since then.

I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses.  But frankly, I am.  Since February, I have

  • trained for and ran a half marathon.  (Go me!)
  • My daughter has been cast as the lead in a local theatre production (and I have been cast as a chorus member), which means the theatre is our second home.  It takes a great deal of our time and attention.
  • I have made the decision to move into a new home and have had to tackle the stresses that come along with any move.
  • I have hurt my foot in some phantom way (no clue how it happened – but it’s definitely getting better!), which has slowed my running down a great deal.

Oh, I could keep listing things, but honestly, it doesn’t matter.  Because basically?

Well.  Basically, I’m just tired.

I’ve noticed that ever since my half marathon has been over, my thoughts keep going back to this dreaded Bear race in July.  It has been a constant worry in the back of my mind.  Through everything else I’m doing in my life, there’s the undercurrent of, “I should be training for the Bear.  I should be training for the Bear. I should be training for the Bear.”  To be quite honest, it has become a nuisance.  So, after some soul searching, I have decided to back out of the race.

For a while, I struggled with that decision.  I called myself a quitter.  Told myself that, whether I realize it or not, other people are watching me through this process because of my blog articles and my Facebook posts.  By quitting, I am sending a message to my readers that giving up is ok.  That running is not the awesome thing that it is and that you shouldn’t push yourself to try bigger and better things.  I didn’t want this to be the message I conveyed.

But finally, I just decided to stop beating myself up.

I decided to look at it a different way.

Here’s what I want this decision to show you.  No one is perfect.  NO ONE.  If you’re a beginner runner (or maybe even just someone thinking about running), I know how intimidating it is to see these “experienced” runners do all the things they’re doing – the half marathons, the 5Ks, the 10Ks, the mountain-climbs.  Believe me, I know.  I was you just a little over a year ago.  I didn’t think that these runners were human.  I thought they weren’t like me – they didn’t have life stresses that get in the way, or days when they just felt too tired to run.  They were machines, not a flawed, tired human being like me.  Well, guess what?  I was wrong.  They were just like me.  And I’m just like you.  We all need a break sometimes.  We all need to go easy on ourselves and not push ourselves to the brink of exhaustion.

I mean, after all, when it ceases to be fun – then what’s the point?

I enjoy running.  I enjoy appreciating the new, healthier person that I have become because of it.  Nothing will ever stop me from being a runner.  But for a little while, I think I might hold off on pushing myself to the next limit.  I’m just going to enjoy where I am now, maybe enter a few local 5Ks here and there, and just relax for a while.  No pressure, no training, no pushing – just running.

I’m taking a little break from the stress.

And that’s perfectly okay.

***

“It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination. We have a better chance of seeing where we are when we stop trying to get somewhere else. We can enjoy every moment of movement, as long as where we are is as good as where we’d like to be. That’s not to say that you need to be satisfied  forever with where you are today. But you need to honor what you’ve accomplished, rather than thinking of what’s left to be done.”
– John Bingham