I spent the last nine weeks subsumed by what I’m calling The Tyranny of the Urgent. I spent a week with my sister helping her to prepare for the birth of her second child. We put our house on the market. I helped my parents move out of and close on their house where they’ve lived for the past 30 years. Various fires popped up with various organizations where I help. My sister gave birth to my nephew. Friends call with “what would you do in this situation” problems. And an hour, or two, passes without my noticing. Chewy sends me an email and suddenly I’ve spent 30 minutes thinking through everything the cats need and the best autoship schedule for them.

Journaling, writing, thinking, reading, consistent self-care all fell to the background as “this needs to be done now” happened all over the place. As frustrating as these moments in time are, sometimes I find them exceptionally useful. Because they help clarify what I miss doing while I’m distracted by the urgent.

In late February, I had a very positive and thoughtful meeting with book-types in New York. Professional book people who have read my manuscript and heard my story and thought about my mission and helped me think through how my words could morph into a larger message. I’ve been spending the last few days literally looking around me, trying to pick up the pieces of those threads, five weeks later. Shocked that those threads stayed on the ground that long. Shocked that I can remember the conversation. Shocked that five weeks passed under the tyranny of the urgent.

I have no solution to this particular kind of tyranny other than meditation. My brain goes so fast, that when things are pending, I can easily distract myself out of focusing on non-emergency-but-important work. The only way that I’ve discovered is to spend five minutes calming my brain. It tends to give me, in return, a couple hours of peace before ramping back up again. The fact that the last nine weeks disappeared out from under me means that I’m by no means a professional at this yet, but at least I know where to turn.

In the meantime, life has calmed down a bit, so I’m back to writing and thinking. Thank god.

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