As a kid, one of my favorite movies was Dr. Dolittle. I love animals, and I thought it would be so wonderful to be able to speak to them. I remember the day I went to the theater with my girl scout troop — #687, Delaware County, Pa. — to see Rex Harrison as my hero and mentor. His romantic travels around the world to meet and treat an incredible array of creatures large and small engaged my imagination and stayed with me all of my life. Little did I know that the rare and elusive Pushmepullyou — that fantastic and imaginary creature in the film — would become a pivotal metaphor for my life.
Women are pushed and pulled every moment of every day. They become quite skilled at managing a tidal wave of dueling commitments and desires because simple biology has selected them to adapt that way of being for survival. The human race would probably not be here and now and at this moment of development if women were not able to do many things with equal focus simultaneously.
As I write this, there is a half sawn sheet of metal on my bench and in my mind. The iPod is playing a song in the studio that I am actively listening to because the rhythm is insisting I feel it. I am aware of spelling, and the keys of the computer against my fingertips. The jeans are spinning in the drier, and I can hear the metal snap hit the drier drum at each revolution. There is a box of pasta on the counter for my dinner. And the sauce is bubbling gently in the crock pot. I can smell the onions, peppers and basil I sauteed an hour ago to start it. My cat is snitching a taste of my breakfast from the plate behind me on the table, and I hear her purring as she licks her paw. At the office, I know there are 2 manuscripts I need to finalize on Monday, and a stack of Design proofs to review. Somewhere between Denver and New York, my students’ tools are in a truck and scheduled to arrive at my friends house so we can teach classes next week. I can visualize my son far away in cold Montreal in his flexibility or dance class and I wonder how he is. I think of the one I love, half a world away in the middle of the Pacific, and I feel my heart quicken. I know the plumber will be here tomorrow to finish a hookup in the bathroom, and that I have freelance work to finish by Monday. And, that I am out of milk, and my new eyeglasses are ready to pick up.
As all of this is happening, my mind is engaged elsewhere. It is on an elusive idea that is swimming in the calm and dark sea of emotion just outside the edge of my subconscience. And I want to chase it. I am pushing toward it. But I am pulled by everything else. I want to push and I am pulled. Or, I want to pull and I am pushed. I want to go to the place where that idea is and capture it, and dance with it, and realize it, and bring it into being. But until I can find the space to chase it, I have to be patient and wait. Because it will come to me eventually. After I meet everyone else’s needs.
Today’s Tip: Keep a small sketch pad with you at all times. Your mind will give you gifts when you least expect them. Be ready. Document those ideas when they come.