I Am Not A Wind Up Toy!

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IMG_0070 (1)For the past month or so I’ve felt like a wind-up toy. I’ve gone from one thing to another just trying to keep up with everything that needed doing. Part of the problem is that in early January, my husband had knee surgery. I spent a good deal of time taking care of him, making sure that his ice machine was at the ready to keep the swollen surgical site comfortable, and preparing meals for someone who normally cooks half of them. I also had deadlines to meet with my publisher and a blog and newsletter to maintain.

Taking care of some one else is not always an easy task, and can result in exhaustion and speeding around like a tiny wind up car. If you’ve ever played with one, you know they move fast. They don’t see what’s ahead of them and crash head-on into walls and furniture. They don’t really cause any damage, but if they were much bigger, say the size of a human, they could. I want to stop crashing into things and causing havoc.

My studio has stacks of old receipts and brochures taking up residence on my work table. I can’t work on my visual journal if I can’t spread out. I need my paints, rubber stamps, hand-made papers and magazine clippings where I can see them, so that I can go to work the moment inspiration strikes. I need to clean it up!

The same thing goes for my head. If I don’t let go of the clutter taking up so much space in my brain, I won’t be able to think clearly and make room for any artistic notions that my muse slings my way. I’ve been spinning my wheels trying to get some traction so that I can move forward, but I haven’t had much luck. And just like my work table, my head needs to be cleared out.

The patient is almost completely healed now. He’s cooking dinner again, doesn’t need to be checked-up on constantly, and in just over a week, he’ll be able to drive himself around again, leaving me with more time. We’re both very tired of it all and will be happy to see the end of this little adventure.

IMG_0049I’m starting to take more time for myself. I went to yoga last week and because I had dental surgery yesterday, Pilates will have to wait until next week. I’m taking afternoon naps and moments to simply stare into space. I’m planning on cleaning up my studio this week so that I can get back to work without feeling squeezed out of my space. But most important of all I will begin honoring the word I chose to guide me this new year … MINDFUL. In my overwhelm over the past month or so, it never had a chance. My mind did not stop to notice what was happening around me. Someone just kept winding me up and kept me going, crashing in to things. Mostly myself.

Today I’m throwing the key away and switching gears.  I’m starting my year over and I’m already noticing how much better I feel.

Have you ever felt like a wind up toy?


  1. Joan —Good for you. No. Make that GREAT for you! You’ve drawn the line in the sand (established a boundary), and now you’re going to kick butt and take names (maintain said boundary). You’re a rock star!

  2. Joan Rough says:

    Laurie, Thanks! Yes, I’m doing it! Boundaries are awesome!!

  3. A wind-up toy, what a rich metaphor for overload. Cute photos too!

    Dani Shapiro in Still Writing has two names for such bugaboos: fleas for the little things that bug us and elephants for big, persistent time-suckers. It sounds to me as though you’ve swatted the fleas and tamed the elephant of distraction at least for now.

    • I like that: “fleas for the little things that bug us and elephants for big, persistent time-suckers.” I have both. The fleas itch like hell and the elephants leaves me stuck in a corner! I’m trying my damnedest to get rid of them all!

  4. Hi Joan, it’s that boundary -listen- to -our -bodies thing and you have nailed it again. Stopping long enough to assess our own needs is the first step. I went to a women’s retreat last weekend and the one big takeaway for me was de-clutter so you can fill your life with life-affirming activities. Now you have just seconded the notion of stepping back and clearing the clutter. Thank you!

  5. Kathy, I may have nailed it, but why does it all come back the minute I look away? Your treat sounds good. I’m doing A Year To Clear What’s Holding You back, with Stephanie Bennett Vogt, Through DailyOM. just started it. I get daily reminders about decluttering both my physical and mental spaces. So far, so good.