August 24, 2016
“You don't always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens.”
While growing up in Indiana, August signaled the end of summer. School would soon begin. September would inevitably give way to cooler temperatures. The freedom that summertime brought every year would soon be gone.
Here in southern California, August and September are our hot months. Summer is usually just getting revved up. The saving grace is that it’s dry heat that doesn’t carry the weight of boiling humidity.
I’m deep in the trenches of working on new material. It feels a lot like caring for something planted in the earth. I’ve been tilling the soil. Some ideas are sprouting; some are not. Some are intertwining and spreading like vines; some are not. Some are maturing to full growth; some are not.
Creating teaches something new every time. It’s a practice that’s filled with sign posts and messages, and from time to time I’ve got my head so focused on what I’m making, too wrapped up with the task at hand, that I’m missing the messages being sent to me.
One of my favorites, which comes back around again and again, is this: sometimes the best way to induce growth is to put things down and walk away.
It’s as true for creating as it is for everyday life. And yet, we have trouble letting something alone if we know it’s not exactly right. We want to push and pull, nudge it left then right, make a new hole and fill it in. If only it were a foolproof method to perfect by constantly trying harder.
Another lesson I’m continually reminded of is that in order to describe life, we have to live it. Living is as much a part of success as a dedicated work ethic. The car does not run without fuel, and the only fuel that really works is the kind that comes from true experience.
With that in mind, I’m putting things down today. My mission is to love, hope, dream, chase, lose, and cry. Enjoy the sunshine. Have a glass of wine. Upon completion, shake, stir, and do it all over again.
Mary Chapin Carpenter performs "Something Tamed, Something Wild" from her 2016 album The Things That We Are Made Of on CBS This Morning.