THE BURNING QUESTION: Today’s Exercise in Gratitude

I’ve been running around like the proverbial chicken without a head lately. As my surgery date nears (one week!), I find myself awash in frantic, circular thinking. It hits me hardest in the wee hours of the morning, when I wake up to find my brain a-spinning from wild, crazed anxiety. (Warning: You can skip this part, I assure you it makes very little sense.)

“OMG, OMG, my studio is a mess and I haven’t shipped new stock to my galleries and I don’t have enough materials for that new project I’ve been dreaming about for so long, and where am I going to find X, and Y, and Z supplies, I can’t do my summer show, I’m going to run out of money, I should be writing my next article, the dogs are driving me crazy, my house is a mess, that surgery is gonna hurt like HELL and I’ve changed my mind, what if I die or something?? What should I do first? Clean the studio, no, clean the house! NO, I don’t want to spend my last few days cleaning, for God’s sake!! I’m so tired, my knee hurts, my leg hurts, my back hurts, I should get some exercise, but everything hurts, and besides it’s raining, and I still have to take the dogs out, those dogs are driving me CRAZY, my house is a mess and in one week I won’t even be able to wriggle a toe without pain, I’ve changed my mind, I want my life back, no, I want my knee back, no, no, OMG, what should I DOOOOO??? I could take a nap, no, that’s a waste of time, I should go for a walk, no wait, it’s raining, I can’t take the dogs out, OMG, OMG.”

You read that? I warned you not to. I told you it would make no sense.

Why?

Because everything I’m whining about in that crazed spin-y place comes from a majorly amazing blessing in my life.

My studio is a mess? I HAVE a studio. A beautiful, spacious studio that I love being in, working in, writing in. The space–an antique barn we renovated for the purpose–is the reason we bought this house. It’s a mess because…well, frankly, I’m a very messy person when I’m working. And I’d rather spend my time making and writing than cleaning. (Although I HAVE managed to clear up some floor space and reorganize some stuff in here the last few weeks.)

My beautiful studio.

I haven’t shipped work to my galleries? Well, I still have time to do that. But even if I don’t, the work isn’t going anywhere. It will still be here when I’m up and around after my surgery. Maybe I’ll even have some new work ready when the time comes.

I can’t find enough materials for my new body of work? That’s just me trying to have total control of a project at the outset. The truth is, I have enough materials to start the series, and play, and experiment. I don’t have to have everything figured out, and materials for a hundred pieces, in order to get started.

I can’t do my summer show? My main income builder, and the only way I see most of my customers and collectors? Actually, it’s kind of a relief to take a sabbatical this year. It’s a wicked hard show to do. Nine days of retail sales, outside, in the August heat. Weather-dependent–if it rains, I’m toast. Plus set-up and break-down. I’ll miss my customers–they inspire me and support me. But they won’t forget me overnight. I’ll invite them to my open studio in the fall. And I’m also curious to find out what will appear this year, when I make room for it. I’ve been given the gift of time–time to think. Time to be open to new possibilities. Time to make new work. Time to (gasp!) truly relax and enjoy summer in New England, for the first time in fifteen years.

Long days. Man, do I really look that grumpy??

Scary surgery? 500,000 people a year have total knee replacement surgery. Some of them have complications, but most of them don’t. And a lot of pain for a few months may mean a lot LESS pain for the next 20 years. Not a bad trade. And I’m not going to be able to clean the house OR the studio for awhile. I have the perfect excuse to have a messy house and a messy studio!

The crazy dogs? We currently have three dogs in house. All were Turks & Caicos rescue pups. Tuck we brought home with us from our vacation there three years ago. One we fostered last fall, and adopted out to a young woman. We are babysitting her for a few weeks. And Nick was adopted out to a family in Boston last year, but they can’t keep him. We thought we had a home for him, but it’s beginning to look like he’s already home. HERE. He’s a goof, and he’s still a pup (9 months old.) But he’s also sweet-tempered, cuddly, and loving. He and Tuck are already best friends. Yes, dogs are a lot of work. Any pet adds to your daily chores. So do kids. And spouses. Yep, everything would be so much easier if we didn’t have all those other people and critters in our lives. Easier. Definitely cleaner. More calm.

And terribly, unbearably lonely.

Good dogs.

So what’s the burning question?

Today, one of my favorite bloggers, Danielle LaPorte asked, “What do you want… that you already have?”

It was the perfect question for me to ask myself, today.

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10 Comments

Filed under art, dogs, gratitude, mental attitude, to do list

10 responses to “THE BURNING QUESTION: Today’s Exercise in Gratitude

  1. Nancy

    Good luck w/ your surgery, Lu.

  2. You will be fine, and everything will be waiting for you.. I understand your feelings completely! I have a friend that had both knees done at once, and another one, lost on purpose, 100 lbs before her surgery and is doing amazing. They are all inspirations and you will be also. Just quiet your mind and think beautiful color and patience. Not easy eh?

  3. Good luck in your upcoming surgery, you have a lot of people who will keep you in their thoughts and prayers.

  4. And here I am, wakingup in the night stressing over an epidural I am having on Thursday. A needle for heavens sakes. I wake up with the same crazy thoughts as you are having. Except the dogs. No dogs here. Just a cat. And a husband. And a grandson.
    Good luck with your surgery………….try not to stress too much. Hard I know.

  5. Linda

    Best of luck with your surgery, Luann. I wish you an excellent surgeon, a successful outcome, and a painless recovery. I hope you make good use of your healing time and… don’t try to do too much too soon!

  6. I will wait patiently for your healing, and know that you will return creatively renewed. I wish you a speedy recovery so my wait is not long :-) Dogs are wonderful companions when you need comfort during your recovery. Let them help you.

  7. Take some deep breaths. Think positive thoughts. (that is important. it can speed healing) Solve design problems in your mind, instead of worry. Post surgical pain is real, but you will have medication for it. Don’t worry. You will be able to control it, while you rest. The time will pass slowly, and quickly, at the same time. Tell yourself it will be OK, better than it is now. If someone offers help, like a meal, or to do anything, accept the offer. Have them do laundry, vacuum the floor, grocery shop, etc. A day will come when you can return the favor. You will do well. I believe that.

  8. Loved this…the way you address the ramblings in your head. For you I look forward to reading about the long walks you take with your dogs pain free.

  9. Rosanne Moore

    Please update us when you can, else we’ll be worrying about you! I might be facing this procedure myself, so once again you’re a role model. But not too much pressure—I’ll think of you resting and healing while you roam the Cave of Forgotten Dreams with Werner Herzog.

  10. Luann, I enjoy following your blog and identified with your overflowing panicky thoughts. I had a total knee replacement one year ago and am so glad I did. Yes, it was painful and I worried about what I could not do while I healed, but it is amazing what lots of rest and sleep and therapy and faith and family and friends can do! You are wise to recognize your blessings! God bless you; give yourself permission to take as much time off as you need.

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