Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

When the Muse Speaks

Life can come at us at warp speed sometimes. I just had six non-work days in a row and had planned a lovely stay-cation with lots of books, wine and naps. I needed it. Since early last fall, every day off from my day job found me in some sort of class, tending to a family member’s health, at various appointments, etc. I really needed some true down time. You know the kind – where you don’t have anywhere to be or anything to check off your to-do list.

Unfortunately, the stress levels got too high before I scheduled that kind of time off. So I spent the first four days trying to “relax” and make the heart palpitations stop. I had trouble sleeping. I didn’t even really have good naps! I didn’t feel restored.

The last two days off, I started working on a new quilt project. I let myself wallow in my fabric stash. I managed to find about 80% of the necessary fabric right in my own sewing room. I allowed myself a trip to the fabric store in the rain to buy a few yards of accent fabric, muslin for backing and batting.

I spent hours bonding with my pile of scraps, a cutting mat and a rotary cutter and just listened to the rain on the roof. No music or TV in the background, just the rain and some chortling from one of the cats.

It felt like coming home.

Why do we let our lives get so busy and stressful before we allow ourselves deep quiet? Do we not realize how much the added stress compounds our daily issues? It makes trying to relax and carving out some much-needed alone time a very complicated process.

The night before I came back to work, I didn’t sleep well. I tossed and turned for hours. When I did finally fall asleep, I had very strange and vivid dreams filled with people from work. Obviously, my subconscious was trying to process the fact that the vacation was drawing to a close.

I need to promise myself to not wait for my next vacation day to find this quiet mind that I rediscovered. I need to go to that peaceful place on a weekly if not daily basis. Maybe then, my creativity will blossom and I will find the energy to work on my next book…

My muse has spoken.


  1. It’s hard to unplug from the daily stress but it is beyond necessary. I have trouble with it myself. We should try and try…

    • I think the world we live in rewards busy. As artists and writers and just people trying to find peace, we need to turn off that need to be busy.

  2. Everyone thinks I’m crazy for getting up at 4am every morning. But it’s my deep quiet time. From 4am until my husband wakes up to leave for work at 6:30 there is absolutely no sound except for my fingers on the keyboard. It’s wonderful. Glad you found that moment!

    • I am finding too that I put so much pressure on myself to write…especially when I can’t find the time and energy to write. I beat myself up. So to find that peace and quiet, I find myself turning to other outlets. Sometimes I guess we need to step away from our work, even if it’s our passion.

  3. Rosemary Reader and Writer

    You obviously enjoyed your last two days off, Cheryl. How often to we arrange time off for ourselves, meaning to write like mad for every second of it and drive ourselves into the ground. Sewing, on the other hand, is quiet and restful, even mending. Do let us see your quilt when you finish it.

    (Quilting is such a North American thing. We don’t do it in the UK, at all. I expect you’ve seen the quilts at the Anne of Green Gables Museum at Silver Bush, PEI?)

    • I have never had the opportunity to visit PEI, though I would LOVE to!! Not only am I a quilter, but I am an adult beginner to violin and have discovered that I absolutely love fiddle tunes. PEI would be heaven!!

  4. Daphne Shadows

    Why indeed, is it so hard for us to keep this in mind? Ugh. Good post. 🙂

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