Have you ever been in a conversation where you each have a differing opinion? Of course you have, that’s a large reason for conversation! And while you know that you’re having a civil, perhaps even pleasant, discussion, you increasingly feel that you’re getting further and further apart? Despite the fact that you’re really listening to each other?
It’s because really, you’re not.
“Allowing each other to talk” is not the same as “listening.”
There’s a pattern of discussion that we believe fosters listening, when in reality it sneakily hinders it.
I’ve been spending a lot of time on a creative project. When I’m not working directly on it, I’m mulling it over in my head. I even continue working on it in my sleep, considering next moves and possible results regularly in my dreams. It’s the kind of immersion where I figure I’ll cook tomorrow, I’ll save housecleaning for the weekend, and suddenly it’s two (okay, three!) weeks later with neither having occurred.
As great as my project is going and as much as I love working on it, being this focused also has it’s shadow. As an empty-nester, lapses in domestic upkeep have actually been liberating — but diminished eye contact and lack of regular connection with my husband does not make me feel fabulous.
Also, in being so deeply attuned to only one glorious aspect of myself I have discovered that I actually miss — the rest of me.
I really, really enjoyed one of Robert Holden’s recent daily messages. He talks about how Monty Python’s sketch about the 100-yard dash for people with no sense of direction is a wonderful metaphor for our mad-dash world.
I am a list-maker. This is partly because I enjoy physically writing things out on notepaper, partly because it nourishes my organizational nature, and mostly because it tames the incessant tornado in my brain. If I get it out and on paper, then it stops swirling in my head.
However, in loving to write out lists, my To-Do’s can get overwhelming. And downright impossible, even if I am a wonder woman at times.
In my attempt at sustainable sanity, I have stumbled onto a process that truly helps me honor my to-do lists — from both a creation and an action standpoint. I call it my Ta-Daa List:
Get a piece of paper, or ten. Write “Things I Want To Do” at the top.
List out everything that you would like to get around to doing, uncensored. Now is not the time to concern yourself with logistics or reality.
When you’ve run out of ink, gently review your list.
Highlight the items you must do today. Keep these as few as possible.
Highlight the items you want to do, today. Again, be discerning.
Allow the rest to sit, undisturbed and in play.
Cross items off as completed, if that brings you joy!
You will find both work-related and personal items. You will discover perspective. You will uncover answers to questions you don’t fully realize that you are stuck on.
It’s perfectly okay for items to be repeated and untouched, day after day on your list. That’s neither failing nor slacking. This is not about accomplishing everything on your list, it’s about discovering yourself underneath, and in the midst of, your busy.
For example, I’m learning to complete my work projects in a way that purposefully leaves me energy to attend to my personal pursuits as well. (I pace myself, and peacefully produce even greater results than when I power through.) I’m discovering that some things are much better delegated to another day. (I really can do laundry tomorrow, when I’m more able to truly attend to it.) And I’m learning how I feel about seemingly passing topics. (I really do want to go on that weekend ladies’ wellness retreat! Now I know to recognize the next opportunity, no matter what it presents itself as — such as a women’s curling bonspiel!)
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, I encourage you to give this a try. For me, I went from chasing balance to enjoying what’s dynamic. I had no idea I could have so much fun in the process, I thought that was only a possibility as a finished outcome!
Please share in the comments below how your own process uplifts you. And remember, you are totally rocking that tiara!