Pie Hole Shutting Time at The Green Study

The Green Study will return on July 1, 2018.

I’ve been writing my ass off the last few weeks, both here and offline. It’s time to take a breather from everything. I have a stack of books, my bird-watching binoculars, and a false sense of limitless time. Perfect for a vacation of sorts.

canstockphoto24883850This is when I go off the rails. And wow, is it exciting. I drink caffeinated drinks, eat a lot of cheese, stay up past 8, and think about how I should probably move in order to get rid of the numbness in my lower limbs. And then don’t, because I want to read one more chapter.

I’ve been writing pretty intensely about civic participation, the current state of politics, and mental health issues. Which means I’ve been writing whichever way the news blows. And boy, does it blow.

The volunteer gigs seem to be pausing for a bit. The Minnesota legislative session ended with a whimper, with anything progressive shot down when they tried to shove everything into a last minute omnibus bill. Honestly, they seem like writers sometimes, or at least this writer, waiting until the last minute to get work done.

canstockphoto19562I sat last night in a coffee shop listening to a live string quartet and felt my eyes well up when they played Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. For all my stalwart conversation, a part of me feels like having a good blubber a lot of the time. It’s usually an indicator that I need to take a break, re-group, and get back to my personal mission. Which is not, I hope, to turn into a humorless git.

It’s easy to do – to forget how to laugh. To forget that there is love and joy and justice in the world. To forget those who took nonviolent action and succeeded. It’s easy to lose that full spectrum way of seeing the world, because you’re so focused on fixing what’s wrong.

As an introvert, with an out-sized, narcissistic sense of firstborn responsibility, I have to force myself to sit down, shut up, and to stop raising my hand every time someone asks for help. I’ll schlep into a meeting, find a seat near the exit, and hope I can stay awake. An hour later I’m heading a committee, writing a newsletter, adopting children, and rescuing house pets with social anxiety disorders. If I stay long enough, I’ll have donated a kidney – both of them. This would be some lovely virtue signalling if it weren’t so pathological.

Eventually, I feel hollowed out and detached from my life and start disappearing, making excuses, oh, I must have missed that email, sorry, my phone died (as if my phone is a metaphor for ambition), because it feels like I cannot breathe. I’m trying to learn to sit on my hands, stay quiet, and pace myself.

Sometimes taking a break means shutting up. When my internal monologue starts snapping back at me, shut up already. Criminy. Give it a rest, I know it’s time to go dark, stick my nose in a book, and let things marinate. Right now, my brain is shouting shut yer pie hole!

In the interest of pie holes and maybe pie, I’m going to take a break and leave you with some unwanted thoughts.


Havana, sung by Camilo Cabello, is plaguing my brain. The video is even goofier. Try saying “banana” after listening to this song – it will likely have several extra syllables.

I caught the song Chainsmoking by Jacob Banks being piped in somewhere and desperately tried to remember phrases to Google later. He’s got one of those voices that reaches down into your soul and sets off a dirge of melancholy.

I want to read all the books

32508266I h36479876ave three ridiculously high stacks of books that I’m working through. For my break, though, I’m indulging myself with The Virago Book of Women Gardeners edited by Deborah Kellaway and Betwixt and Between: Essays on the Writing Life by Jenny Boully.

Lately I’ve been doing so much reading for research and knowledge, that I’d just like to sink into something that doesn’t require a lot of me, except to turn the page.

The voice of the rising tide

When your mind is liberated your heart floods with compassion: compassion for yourself, for having undergone countless sufferings because you were not yet able to relieve yourself of false views, hatred, ignorance, and anger; and compassion for others because they do not yet see and so are still imprisoned by false views, hatred, and ignorance and continue to create suffering for themselves and others.

The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh

And I leave you with a song for the weary:

Have a lovely week!

19 thoughts on “Pie Hole Shutting Time at The Green Study

  1. Enjoy your downtime, Michelle, and return refreshed. You have been on fire lately, producing, IMO, some really strong, good work. It’s got to be taxing, I realise. Commitment over the long haul requires it, that you, justice fighter, remember you are a member of human-kind. I applaud your wisdom and look forward to your return! (And I love that Thich Nhat Hahn quote!)


    1. Thanks for your kind words. I think that quote is a great reminder – our ignorance, whatever our beliefs are, levels the playing field and speak to the fact that we are all humans bumbling through this world. Some of us are more wrongheaded than others, but we can be fierce and still have compassion.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just started following you, so I look forward to your return. You have a gift in writing, which I so enjoy.


  3. Enjoy your time off. It rained here all weekend and I did nothing but read. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve done that and it felt so good.


  4. Your words always resonate so much with me. I appreciate all of your dedication and effort to be the change. I also appreciate your honest words here in this space. I’ll be waiting for more upon your return. I, too, am needing some distance from it all. It’s a balance I struggle with. Have a peaceful week, Michelle.


    1. Thanks, Cheryl. Whenever I say I need a break, I immediately lash out at myself – the people who are in dire situations don’t get a break. But we are no good depleted, especially for the long haul. It’s a long journey and I fight best when I am rested and refreshed. There’s just no way around that self-care issue!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rest! Birdwatching! Pie! Leonard Cohen and Thich Nhat Hanh! Excellent and most wise. The restorative value of not speaking is under recognized and certainly underappreciated. Recently I have begun to ask myself two questions: Do I need to say anything? (Is my input required?) More often than not, it isn’t. Also: Is what I have to offer likely to be helpful (whether or not my input is solicited)? Sometimes it is, but often not. It’s really nice to be quiet. 🙂 Have a wonderful week, and take more if you need it. Be kind to your weary self. We will gladly welcome your return when you deem it timely.


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