Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recharging Me

"Not everyone is as mono-maniacal as you." ~ Donatello Moss

Before we go any further, I should tell you, Donatello Moss aka Donna, is not a real person, but she ought to be and in some world, she probably is. In ours, she's Dr. Watson to Josh Lyman's Sherlock Holmes in the syndicated program The West Wing, which you can still see on Bravo. If I was in Maine, my dog and I would be munching breakfast together while getting our daily dose.

The line I've quoted comes from the opening scene of one of the final episodes in which Josh is suddenly becoming aware of all the romantic pairings that have developed during the presidential campaign he has been directing. Enter Donna, who has a gift for remaining human when Josh has become so hyper-focused that he misses the details of daily life. Every now and then he has a meltdown and it takes someone else to remind him to take a vacation once in a while.

I hate to admit it, but I'm very much the same way and maybe you are, too. Perhaps that's one reason I love The West Wing so much: Josh's character is a mirror of my own proclivity to overlook the obvious. For instance, lately I've gotten so engrossed in what I'm attempting to do out here that I haven't permitted myself the pleasure of sitting on the patio with the computer and writing about the experience -- at least on anything resembling a regular basis. I've treated my sanity-saver as a luxury and the truth is, as the demands on us increase, the more things like this become necessities.

But it's hard to see them as such, especially when we regard every moment devoted to self-nurturing as one taken away from the task at hand. Sooner or later, however, the inner well runs dry and we become touchy, irritable, and resentful. Even those of us in the helping professions have limited reserves and that's oh-too-easy to forget when the stakes are high and we're under the gun.

Unfortunately, in the same way we can't make up for several days of sleep deprivation by getting a single good night's sleep, making up for self-deprivation can't be done in one fell swoop. It takes time and that's just the way the universe works. I know, it sucks. We'd all like to believe our internal battery recharges automatically, but there has to be a power source. Even when a person has a spiritual connection, they can't assume it will do for them what they can only do for themselves.

So, here I am, it's 40 degrees in the shade, but like my cat who is no doubt sitting on his window ledge at this very instant, watching the squirrels scamper for late-season acorns, I've found a warm spot in the sun. An hour ago I was feeling pretty anemic, but now there's a little tingle down inside. I'm betting even the Ever-Ready Bunny needs an occasional carrot and today, this one is mine.

(Creative Commons image by Ben+Sam via Flickr)

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