Whirly Wheel

Do you know what a whirly wheel is?

I love whirly wheels, but I had no idea what they were actually called until about 30 seconds ago. I’m still not convinced ‘whirly wheel’ is the right name.

Before the appendix and the gall bladder it was the kidneys and the bladder. When I was in elementary school, during some routine hospital visit, I was introduced to the hypnotizing magic of the waiting room whirly wheel.


I think my parents bought me one for home some Christmas soon after.

Here’s the reason I bring this up:

I’m trying to determine why it is I haven’t kept up with this blog. I really do love writing. Perhaps even more than writing, I love pretending that other people enjoy reading what I write. 😉

So where have I been?

The only image I can come up with is this silly whirly wheel. Watch one. See how it buzzes, back and forth, looping up and down, hitting the end only to launch yet again?

Like a whirly wheel, I get close to the end of my to-dos, and I look for a way to spin back. At the time, it seems like productivity. By the end, it seems like pure stupidity. What was I thinking?

Case and point: At the top of the year, I directed two shows at the same time. I promised I would never do this again. Then came the fall.



I’m tired in a way that sleep won’t easily fix. I’ve learned that this type of tired is quite common. Are you feeling a little like a whirly wheel, too?

I write to you now from Seattle (!). I’m thankful to be here on multiple fronts: First, because it’s Seattle (!). Second, because this last week in the PNW has slowed my whirly-wheel routine. Physical space creates mental space. I believe in this.

Though I can’t credit miles alone. I heard Dr. Samantha Nutt talk at MEDA’s convention, the impetus for my PNW adventure. I absolutely recommend her and her work and her book and pretty much anything she’s ever touched or walked upon.

It was so humbling to be reminded of the bigness of our old world, a world that creeks and moans under our fat, smelly feet. The stories she told–ah, be still my heart.


All of a sudden my little whirly wheel felt like what a whirly wheel is: A toy. A small, nameless child’s toy used for a time, in a waiting room, perhaps, and then forgotten.

How can I live a life outside my own habits? How can my wheel spin outside the confines of my self-made to-do list, my too-many commitments, my stress and worries?

Give me some time on all those questions. 😉 Sounds like I may need a few years in the PNW to get them all answered.

But, for starters, I think I need to keep traveling. I know I need to keep reading. I need to keep listening to people smarter and wiser. And writing. I need to keep writing, not for the accolades, for the perspective.

You do it. Try summarizing your life with a toy metaphor. Try explaining your problems to the brokenhearted world.

Perspective has power. I find mine in the space between words.

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