In the midst of considerable stress, I’m taking steps to protect myself. Up until the past three weeks, I’ve thought of the demands of this master’s program as requiring organization, creativity, flexibility, dependability, warmth, and scholarship. Unfortunately, a bad situation has also required me to institute self-protective measures. Disheartened and sick, I am writing to think my way through to the end. If I am to continue, I have to find a way to feel happy and healthy while I do it.
Build in white space—Rethinking white space goes a long way for me. A long walk can serve as white space. On Friday after school, I walked from the high school to Pier 52, and the rain lashing my face never felt so welcome. A 30-minute lunch break means I eat quickly in order to walk twice around the track—fresh air and quiet for 10 minutes is precious white space in the middle of the day.
Rely on routine Start of day, end of day. These are my encaustic teacher Richard’s words. Start of day in an encaustic studio means opening the windows, warming the pans, laying fresh paper on the workspace, etc. In the classroom, I’m still figuring this out. (Right now, this takes some sleuthing and some trial and error on my part.)
Get enough sleep I am doing better at going to bed early, but still cannot figure out how to overcome insomnia. Five a.m. waking time is brutal on a couple hours of deep sleep.
Distance yourself Watch the raging river from above. Be the dual creature Whitman wrote of, “Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it.”
Practice non-attachment I am still trying to crack this nut.
Eat healthy food Also, keep a travel mug of hot tea close at hand. In disheartening times, it is a comfort.
Take sick days –Yes, I am writing this on a Monday morning from my sickbed at home, sweet home.