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Archive for June, 2011

Busy Being Busy

I recently came across a site called The 99 Percent, and awhile ago the feed linked to a blog called Don’t confuse overwhelmed with busy (found on 365 Less Things).  The title got me thinking about what I find overwhelming and when I feel busiest.  What I discovered is that these two can sometimes be one and the same.  In fact, I often find myself overwhelmed by my sense of ‘busy-ness’.

It starts off innocently enough.  A couple of projects at work, one to-do list with a few things on it at home. No problem! But before I know it, the few projects at work have become ten projects with immediate deadlines and the to-do list at home is getting longer and longer. It’s official: I am busy! But more than that, I feel overwhelmed with how busy I’ve become, and I am no longer busy with work but I am busy feeling overwhelmed. Consequently, no work gets done… and you can see the cycle that can ensue.

When this happens, I sometimes find it hard to get back down to business and regain control of my life. Sometimes, I try to tackle a few quick projects so I can see tangible results quickly and feel encouraged that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes, I go for a run to clear my head and shut off all the noise, even if only for a little while, so that when I come back to ‘real’ life I can refocus and re-prioritize on the tasks at hand.

But sometimes, when things get really interesting, I do the most counter-intuitive thing I can think of: I stop and take one giant step back. Completely. For one whole day, I try very hard not to do any projects  and not to make any additions to my to-do list.  It’s almost like a tiny vacation or a little out-of-mind experience – I just take a step back and force myself to stop being busy…being busy.

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The List

In every relationship, there is a list (figuratively, of course). A list of reasons why the relationship works, and what makes it tick.  And for each couple, that list is unique to them and their situation. It takes into account how personalities mesh and why souls connect. And while I can guarantee that there will always be things on the list that are not understood or agreed upon by others, quite frankly, the list is no one’s business but your own.

I know couples who have handled infidelity, money problems, or differences of culture, race, or religion. I know couples where one person is widely liked while the other person is not. But the one thing that all of these couples have in common is that they make a conscious choice to be together because of what they have with each other. They are good together, they know that, and that is what matters.

From the outside, some of these issues appear may insurmountable. Comments like ‘I would never deal with that’ or ‘I don’t know why they stay together’ tend to fly freely when others learn of the trouble. But honestly, when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter. As long as they are truly happy, with who they are and who they are with, that is what is important.

We’ve all heard expressions about walking miles in other people’s shoes – these instances are no different. Until you are there, with that person, in that scenario – you never know.

The next time you look at another person and judge their relationship (either with approval or with condemnation) remember that you don’t know what’s on their list. Instead, look at and after the things on your own list, in your relationship.  Keep your own list current, up to date, and relevant.

But remember – the only one to whom your list matters, is you.

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The Value of White

Despite the lack of sun so far this growing season, my garden is starting to bloom. I have three mounds of fragrant violet lilacs, sunshiney yellow poppies, some red fuchsias, and a few orange and purple pansies to round out my colors. I am also fortunate to have a sea of new, green growth, and a background of brown mulch to round out the picture.

As I was out this evening, enjoying the view, I took a few minutes to drink in the sight of my brand new, stark white lily.

Don’t get me wrong – there is something to be said for my violet lilacs and my orange pansies, but these lilies really take my breath away. The white color is so clean, so quiet, and so simple. I love it.

There is something to be said for the value of a white flower.

Some gardens have so much going on, with punches of color here and there, some vegetables popping up, and even a garden ornament or two to make things interesting.

But my eyes can get tired jumping around, from spot to spot, trying to take it all in.  A simple, clean white flower just slows it all down, and helps me appreciate the colors that I do have even more.

To me, a white flower is needed in both a garden and a life. We all need a quiet and clean space – somewhere we can go to slow it all down. Many people, myself included, get caught up looking for the next best thing, the next gadget or gizmo to cram one more thing into our already jam-packed days. What about slowing it all down? What about just taking a moment to appreciate the clean, simple value of what we already have and who we already are?

There is something to be said for the value of white.

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