take what you need

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write.”
– Virginia Woolf

For about six months, my sweet husband has been saying, “Look babe, if you want me out of the office, just say the word and I’ll make space for myself in the loft.”
“It’s alright, I can make it work. Stay.” I’d reply, as I stepped over fire-fighting gear and running shoes on the way to my desk. On other days the refrain was more along the lines of, “Would you puhleeese get your shit out of here, I’m trying to write the next great inspirational bestseller! I need white space, dammit!” Ahem.

A few weeks ago, I took him up on his request. I took my space. I booted his booty and boots out. I installed a new white desk. On one of my series of four perfectly aligned magnetic white boards I hung a postcard from my favourite monastery, an old Elvis coaster, and a long pheasant feather. The others are filled with square pale yellow sticky notes of tour dates and article ideas.

The man is truly happy upstairs with his laptop and model canoe. I’m euphorically creative and the Virgo in me is giddy with productivity. What took me so long to take what I needed?

What’s right in front of you waiting to be taken, indulged, used up and embraced? Banked sick days? An offer for mentoring, free advice, or a shoulder to lean on? A rainy day account? A white canvas whispering, make me your masterpiece?

Why do we delay gratification, put off what’s rightfully ours and rebuff well-intentioned favours and offerings of support?

  • “But I can take it.”

I could write a novel in the middle of a football game, in the pouring rain, on a type writer, while eating a burrito. I think it’s a mix of being an only child raised in the country, and being innately ambitious that gives me the capacity to tune out and get stuff done. But tuning out, and rising above, and weathering the storm isn’t ideal. It’s endurance. The root of the word endure is “to bear suffering.” Be it a less-than-fulfilling relationship, or soul-sucking j-o-bs, just because you can take it, doesn’t mean you should. Stamina does not always equate to bliss.

  • “I don’t want to impose.”

Impose! Most of the people in your life want you to be happy. Assume that you’re surrounded by grown ups who actually mean what they say when they offer to take your kids, proof read your work, or lend a hand. It feels good to give. It feels good to receive. We’re all in this together.

  • “I don’t need much”

Austerity only works if it gives you the space to feed your soul. Fierce independence is life-affirming, but it’s only part of the formula for wholeness. Life is an abundant proposition – but it’s just that, a proposal. You need to say yes to all that it wants to give you. It’s a great offer.

The universe works on supply and demand. Which means it’s all yours for the taking.