Archives for posts with tag: patience

On this crisp and spitting Wednesday morning in Queens I find myself immobilized by the snail’s pace at which my writing progresses. You see, I can see the progress. I can feel it. In fact, I am apt to embrace the slowness. To cherish it. When are we afforded such opportunities to move slowly? No, it is not my own impatience with immobility that frustrates me. In my artistic work I relish slowness, and even stillness for that matter. I love choreographing still bodies on stage to illustrate how even still bodies are still moving. It is in stillness that we heighten our senses to notice the minute; the twinge of a toe or the flaring of the nostrils on a breath in become perceptible when everything around them is left still. These details heighten our perception of the world around us, and give us access into a part of our experience that we might not otherwise notice. I think the same is true with writing slowly, and therefore I would like to embrace the fact that I am slowly writing my dissertation. Not quickly. Not in a rush. But with patience and practice, so that that the details of my arguments can reveal themselves amidst the relative stillness of the words on the page. The twinges of toes and the flaring of nostrils can be included in my argument, rather than left out in the face of flying fingers and careless argumentation. But it is the temporalities that surround me that make me anxious about slowness, or even stillness. What happens to my own minutia when those around me grand jete through the dissertation? I think I will find out, because the writing is slow whether I like it or not.

Sometimes, it’s okay to let a deadline pass. Especially a self imposed deadline. I continue to work on my dissertation and try desperately to produce chapters at a lightning clip to finish my degree by May. Still, sometimes writing just isn’t ready to be shared. This doesn’t mean that the deadline hasn’t served its purpose. The yellow highlighter on my calendar reminding me that it’s time to send the baby on its merry way has still pressed me to work toward completion. Just because the chapter isn’t done by the (randomly determined) deadline doesn’t mean that I didn’t make the progress that I intended to make when I set the deadline. And, generally speaking, I will still finish the chapter sooner than I would have without any deadline at all. So make deadlines, and, sometimes, when it seems right, let them pass. It doesn’t mean that the deadline didn’t serve its purpose, nor does it mean that you’ve failed to accomplish your goal. It might just happen a few days, or even a week behind schedule. The most important thing is to keep working. Don’t feel defeated and give up. Instead, feel empowered by the progress that you did make and remember that with a final push you’ll still meet your end goal. Patience is key.

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Lately, my mind and body are most free to think through complex theoretical conundra during moving moments at this tiny stove that.

It has been a week and a half since I last uploaded an entry to this very new blog. It’s funny, it was as if the moment I wrote down my anxieties about merging my home and work lives – or better yet how to deal with the fact that they are necessarily one and the same for me – I was able to move forward without preoccupations.

So what is it about the writing process that leads to these moments of crisis, or of upheaval, and then of letting go? For me, it is about impatience. I have impatience when I read, when I write academically, when I think. I have impatience for the future, finishing current projects and for wanting to know what is to come when this or that project is complete.  The interesting thing about impatience, though, is that it doesn’t work in dance. Dancing is precisely about moving between moments and focusing on the movements between as the content themselves. If you are rushing to a next “position,” your focus is not on movement at all.

The thing about writing personal thoughts and feelings down on a page is that it in some ways forces an exercise in patience. Rather than worrying about future preoccupations, writing down a current concern is giving it license to exist in whatever state it is currently. This, I think, is why, like dance, sometimes writing down can lead to moving forward. It’s a moment for reflection, but also for laying to rest. So, whatever counts as your “writing down,” whether it is dancing, or cooking, or writing, may we all find ease in spending moments moving through rather than racing ahead. We may find, in fact, that this propels us “forward” – whatever that might look like.