I'm in my final two weeks of graduate school. That means, by this time mid-April, I can clean my room.
Recently I learned to term "avalanche season," when a friend and colleague received that as a single line response, having asked a semi-famous writer for content in our school's magazine, Mission at Tenth. We both found that to be a perfect answer for when things get to be too much.
I'm feeling avalanche season now. This is the time my brain tells me I have to do all the things all the time, which leaves me wanting to do none of the things (all the time). Except sleep. And wash dishes. And play with a kitten named Elliot(t).
To combat this reaction, I have to go step by step. Even though my schedule and deadlines tell me now is the worst time to pace myself, I know now is the time I need to be most steady in my actions. Otherwise, I'll get sick, overwhelmed, or otherwise trapped under a snow bank moving at impossible speeds.
Once I'm stuck under that oppressive, cold weight, not only will I get nothing done, but mentally I'll fall to the bottom of a well. Then it will take me three times as long to recover and get back to the sane place where I am now, three times longer than taking each task one at a time, breathing with kindness as I go. By then, school is over, I've missed crucial assignments, and I'll have another semester to go instead of two weeks.
As I've heard from some great minds, if you don't have time to meditate ten minutes a day, you should do so for an hour instead. I'm trying to apply that to pacing myself, especially this week and next. I can't answer all the emails. I can't go above and beyond in every job. I can't clean my room. Not right now.
I can finish this major section of my academic life, and well. I will.
Then, the other things.
My biggest goal of the next two weeks is to get through with my head screwed on tight and straight, with few leaks. To do that, I'm making sure every day I know my biggest priority. With a ton of assignments and projects on the line, both work, school and art related, it can be hard to pick that, but I'll make the choice. And the other to-dos I'll work away at best I can, picking at each grain of ice with a shovel, bit by bit climbing closer to air.
Process notes on a work in progress. This page serves to invite you into the way I work, with weekly posts to show you the hows and whys on the whats I make.