Saturday, June 14, 2014

Living Purposefully

The sun has come out and melted the snowballs

This is a Flashback post from one year ago with an introduction.  Reporting in that the "Aha Moment" has actually changed how I am living my life a year later.  I am more aware and more authentic and more happy as I have stopped doing this snowball thing described below with myself quite a bit.  It has helped me to be more of who I was meant to be and less of what everyone else's perceived notion of who we all should be.

We are busy creatures, constantly running to an imaginary finish line victory ribbon in a race.  Just as you approach the ribbon of winning and being finished, it keeps moving farther away as you dash towards it.  It is elusive and nearly untouchable.  You can never plough through it and break it.

There is always something that needs to be done, people to serve, projects to complete, duties, obligations, and sociality and the like.  That is life but we need to slow in down, pause and reflect on what we do. And for crying out loud, enjoy life a little more!  We have got to stop glorifying busyness.  Busyness does not equate to being more important.  It is more the case that the busyness distracts us from the more important.

 Do I have a gillion things I should and could be doing today?  Yep.  Am I doing them right this second...actually yes.  I am doing something for my soul.  Like a steaming kettle I am releasing some of my creativity into cyber space via this blog post.  Is it earth shattering and important?  Not terribly.  And I am OK with that.  That would not have been the case years ago.  First we work and then we play was the adage we lived by. Guess what? We didn't play much.

Remember the old saying "Stop the world, I want to get off?"  Well just for the record...I'm off.  And guess what else?  I am actually more productive than before.  Why?  Because I don't feel trapped or coerced by a vicious cycle I cannot break.  Because I get to make choices about how I live instead of letting a frenetic schedule choke me and my enthusiasm with the " Have To Do's.  I make the things I feel are most important my priority now.  Most of those include serving someone else in a particular way.  They do not include a bunch of obligations (mostly social) when I feel I should do something or be someplace just because it is expected by someone else.  If I want to go someplace I do because I actually want to...what a concept!

Don't get me wrong.  Some people love that type of living and that is fine for them.  But not for me. Truth be told most of my most beloved people are highly wired, super busy brilliant people.   If you love that life style you live it happily.  Jim says the trick is to not necessarily do everything you want, but being happy in everything you do.  If you are not, you stop and tweak it.  That is being authentic, it is knowing who you are.  It does not mean you are lazy if you cut some things out anymore than being an introvert means being shy.

 It means you know how you work best, you embrace it and you are happier.  I feel so much more healthy and purposeful in what I do because I examined my life and made it work better for me. Well, that was longer than I anticipated when I began, but here the post from last year.


Snowball AKA Project Deadline
I was talking with my friend last night at work.  We were bemoaning all the things that always seem to be pressing down on us, turning up the pressure and stress levels.  She was saying how she just needs a day to relax and have nothing to do.  Paraphrasing here...then she added but when I actually get one it, it is not that great.  That made me think about how that happens to me too.

It seems we have become so accustomed to the running that we don't know what to do with a slow day.  It is almost incomprehensible that there is not something that must be done today or that someone doesn't want something!  Surely that cannot be!

I started to think about how we live...there is one project to complete after another.  It is how most of us roll.  Have our lives become To Do Lists and Projects and Deadlines?  Kinda! As I work I am usually thinking... I am half done, almost done...done!  My brain is always running the calendar of events in my head and how I need to do XYZ to be ready.  And I always know what time it is.

So this morning I realized I really only have today to work on my family history!  I was so overwhelmed with; where to start what to do first, how I need to buy more folders as my paper files are getting way too full, I need to write some lessons for my classes, and I want to work on my own genealogy and organize the papers that have been piling up about the Mayflower and get all that in its place....yada, yada yada.  Oh and I want to blog, and research some things on Wikipedia and I have to try hard to finish up on the vacation adventure posts in my spare time.  Oh yeah, and there are all the things I have around the house.  The never-ending watering flowers (ugh!)  cleaning, cooking, you know how it is. 

Then came my AHA!  "Bonnie life is more than just project after endless project."  Life is not a project marathon.  Life is a process.  It is a process of accomplishing things a little at a time while not killing yourself in the process.  It is working on something and finding the joy, not the time clock.  It is balancing the 'have to' moments with the 'want to' moments.   It is having those days we call the "days with nothing to do" be the days of doing plenty, but just what we want to do...not just what we have to do.

 I am not suggesting never doing what we need to do, that would be very irresponsible.  But rather balancing that with the special want to do days.  May I be so bold as to suggest the kind of day when you do something just for you?  That can even include doing for others but on your terms.

In some ways I have been conscious of this feeling since leaving the workplace and that is what I love most about it.   The freedom to choose.  That is what I had the least of when I worked many hours a week for someone else.  Having my own business for six years was so much better because of the flexibility.  Doing what you want does not eliminate work, it just allows you to work at something you like to do...or even PLAY, heaven forbid.

I had a lot of feelings about that not being able to choose how I spent my time phenomenon.  But the Aha of "process not projects" really articulates it for me.  I understood this on a certain level before, but just hadn't attached language to yet.  That tends to make concepts more useful.  Until something moves from the feeling stages to the articulated stage it is hard to make changes.  (That is one reason I love writing so much.)  I want to accomplish things but with a different emphasis and paradigm. 

Nipping at one's heels...

It will help me (I'm hoping) in removing that feeling that there is a big snowball chasing me down a hill that is about to over take me and flatten me completely.  It will also make me face the fact squarely that I am the one putting that snowball on my heels.  I either make that happen or let it happen.

I want to stop putting unrealistic exceptions upon myself and life, in general, because as we all know...the projects just keep coming like beads dropped on a string with no knot at the end.

 I am going to put more emphasis on the process of living well and enjoying all that I do. I seem to use the word "savor" a lot lately.  That is living life as a process not a project.

Me pushing back at the snowball...

You are going to see me chilling (but not on a snowball) a little more and being more realistic.  Man is that he might have JOY.  (Woman too.)  And pushing unrealistically all the time robs me of that.  Some people are much more capable of it than I am.  So anyway...that was my big "Aha" moment today.  As you can see...I am blogging in the middle of all these papers all over my desk that I was reorganizing and decided that instead I needed a little joy... and that always brings me back to my keyboard and you.

Letting the snowball melt all alone...without me!

Are you enjoying your life as a project-oriented person or a person in the process of living your life to the fullest and savoring it?  It doesn't mean being lazy, it means living with a different mindset and more purposefully.  Something to think about.