You work your fabulous job. You put nourishing meals in your body. You’re connected with and contributing to others — whether it’s a partner, children, a pet, a darn good friend, or an online community.
When was the last time you truly let go, just for a moment, just for fun?
Think of yourself when you were little, and when fun just oozed out of your pores. Likely this is before you began school, when your days then turned more regimented by default. Find a memory of a moment when you were completely, totally, 100% in the present, having fun. That’s what play feels like.
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 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!
I recently ran across a quote that I kept during a very difficult time.
Over ten years ago I was a single mom raising two young boys, working full time while going back to school. It was hard. But it was right. It was my Truth, so I knew that I could get through it. The situation itself was temporary, but at the same time a path to permanent improvement for all of us.
Although I don’t recall who this story is attributed to, I suspect it was Mae West or Marilyn Monroe? (If anyone can help me out with that, and get further with Google than I was able to, please comment below! I would be grateful!)
When (this woman) was asked by a reporter, “How did you enjoy yourself?” she replied, “Magnificently. But not at the time.”
I’m sure you have similar seasons you can look back upon, too. When your direct line to God was a constant, surrendered plea.
I prayed a lot for courage. (Thank you, Dad! <3) It became my new favorite word. I collected images, stories, and quotes, Here’s one in particular that was helpful:
And it worked.
I gained the courage to face my challenges, and with grace. In fact, I became so confident in being able to rise to the occasion that I began to say “Bring it on!” I repeatedly spoke aloud that Life could throw me all the curve balls it wanted to, and I would simply knock them out of the park again and again and again. Bring it on! I got this. Bring it on! Bring it on. Bring it on.
And it worked.
More and increasingly challenging situations — more curve balls– came into my life. Court subpoenas, leaking roof, health issues. I finally was stunned into awareness: my request was, “Bring it on.” And that’s exactly what I was receiving.
So I immediately changed my language and declared out loud, “I want to learn about joy.”
(And then I quickly amended it to, “I want to learn more about joy.” I didn’t want the Universe to think I was ungrateful, hadn’t been paying attention, or knew nothing about it at all!)
And holy cow, that worked, too.
Right away, I began to receive situations in which my only appropriate response was joy! Again and again and again. Manipulations no longer had power over me. A crew of new friends created a roof-repair weekend. I let go of health fears. We all began laughing more at home. The gift of finding my true partner.
I am still learning more about joy. Again, and again, and again. To this day, a decade later.
Does this sound good to you? Have courage, and bring on joy. Ask directly for it, daily.