• Malynda Hale

It's okay to be still right now.

The other day, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I sat at the piano. I started playing and writing a new melody. It was exciting. It had been forever since I had been motivated to write new music and I felt something weighing heavily on my heart.  But within 15 minutes, those heavy feelings dissipated and I closed the piano lid and just sighed. It was a frustrating feeling not knowing how to even write a song anymore, something that has always come so naturally to me.

The truth of the matter is that lately I haven’t been motivated to do much of anything, and because of that I’ve felt like I’m wasting time not being creative when all I have right now IS time. But the time I’ve been given currently isn’t time I want to use to create. Even though I miss music, I miss performing, I miss pouring my soul out into a song. Sadly, no part of me feels motivated to capitalize on this time right now. And I finally got to the point where I realized that it’s okay to have those feelings.

The whole world is in an unprecedented state right now and fear, sadness and worry have taken up residence in a lot of us. Normally one would think as creative human beings we might channel those feelings into unique pieces of art: writing a script, recording an album from home, performing in your own live-streamed concert.

But it’s okay to take some time and just be still. It’s okay to feel uncertain. It’s okay to not want to do anything. It’s okay to not pressure yourself to be productive. It’s a bizarre feeling knowing that everyone in the world is going through the exact same thing that you are at the exact same time, and the last thing anyone needs right now is to feel pressure.  I remember reading a post from someone saying that if you come out of this quarantine without a new skill or side hustle or you didn’t catch up on things you’ve been putting off, time is not your problem, discipline was. And my immediate thought was to feel shame: shame that I hadn’t spent more time over this last month focusing on how to build my brand, create more music, collaborate with other people, expand my business, write more blogs and plan for the future; shame that once quarantine was over I wouldn’t be any different than who I was when it started. But the bottom line is that we will all be different.

Our lives have been upended in a way we never thought possible. People have lost their jobs and lives. We are being forced to stay home and figure out how to survive in a time that makes no sense to any of us. The one thing we should be allowed to do is just be still. I’ve never been a person that has wanted or been able to stay still. I thrive when my calendar is full, when I’m starting a new project or when I’m submerging myself in my work. But having this time has allowed me to reflect and focus on other things like my relationship with my husband and our daughter, keeping in touch with family and friends, and being in tune with myself and my emotions.

It feels like there’s an incessant need in our society to overachieve and always have our ‘Go’ buttons switched on, that if we aren’t consistently moving, creating and doing something of substance we’ll be left behind and forgotten. I know this because I often feel that way. I started to feel that way during my pregnancy, and now being stuck at home those feelings have crept up often. It’s hard not to judge yourself and compare how you’re choosing to deal with this moment in time. But we are all doing what feels right for us.

If you choose to use this time to create something great, get caught up on work or invent something, then that’s what’s right for you. But I also know that even under normal circumstances, it’s difficult to stay productive. Given where we are now, if you decide to stay in bed, binge Netflix, FaceTime with friends and not focus constantly on work, that’s okay too. Because in this moment, it’s okay to be still.

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