Focus

A Bit of Reframing

Today is One of Those Days when my schedule is packed with activity. 

One thing . . . 
after another thing . . . 
followed by another thing . . . 
with another thing right after that.

I'll be running around.  Away for most of the day.

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When I looked at my schedule last night, I sighed a big sigh and lamented my busyness.

But, then, it occured to me. . .  

I'm in charge of my own schedule!  
I put this day together myself!

And I did a little reflecting.

So, yes.  My day today is "busy."  And I can choose to look at it that way, and feel overwhelmed and cheated, somehow, that I don't have any "time for myself."

OR . . . 

I can choose to reframe the whole thing.  After all, my schedule today is full of things I rather enjoy doing or being part of.  It's not like I've schedule unpleasant tasks or meetings with people I don't like.  

I'm choosing to see my day as "full" instead of "busy."

It feels better that way.

Full . . . not busy!
(And there's wine at the end of it, besides.)

 

 


Next Up: Adventure

Last month I told you about Jen Tulson's Sacred Invitation Deck -- a set of beautiful cards I won in a random drawing -- that I'm using as a tool in creating an "area of refuge" for myself.

The first card I chose was . . . savor.  And the card did its magical work!  Every time I glanced at it, I found myself thinking about simple things that I savored in my life (looking out the window at the snow, being able to throw a hand knit shawl over my legs when I was chilly, the smell of food cooking in the kitchen . . . that kind of thing).

I liked the savor card!  It brought me comfort and a daily gentle reminder to notice the little things.  I was in no hurry to switch it out with another.  And so it remained, sitting on my desk (in a little stand-up card holder I had stashed away in my junk drawer) for nearly a month.

Until it wasn't.

Over the weekend, it must have fallen to the floor under my desk.  And this pup . . . 

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normally so well-behaved - but with a strange penchant for cardstock (and only cardstock) that she finds lying on the floor - decided to, well . . . savor it herself!

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I decided, then, that the time had come for me to choose another card!  

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But I'm gonna be honest here.  When I saw my new card - adventure - I was disappointed.

Adventure?

In the middle of February?

I mean, seriously?  Adventure . . . conjures excitement and new and plans and going somewhere.  Not . . . exactly what my life looks like right now, y'know?

But I stuck the card in the little holder on my desk anyway.  I'm going to live with it for awhile and see where it takes me.
Because hmmmm.  
You never know.

 


Paring Down: Another Focus Post

"Focus is a matter of deciding what things you're not going to do."
                                                            -- John Carmack

About this time of year - when my garden is somewhere under inches of snow and the temperatures barely reach freezing - I really start to think about gardening.  I dream and scheme and plan.  I get that "itch" to dig in the dirt again.  I want to look out my windows and see . . . color.

I satisfy myself with my amaryllis, here in the meantime.  But the pull of the garden is getting stronger each day.

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(View from the top.  A very hard-working amaryllis putting on a most-welcome show right now.)

And it's been this way for a long time -- this pull of the garden.  

In fact, 14 years ago this pull led me to seek out the Master Gardener program.  It seemed like a natural extension of my interests at the time.  I loved to garden, and I was interested in learning more about "real" gardening and maybe even garden design.  I wanted to become a more knowledgeable gardener.  Besides, we had recently moved to Kalamazoo, and I thought it would be a great way to get to know other gardeners and connect with my new community.  (There is a strong volunteer component to the Master Gardener program.)

So I did it.  I signed up for the program.  I sat through months of horticulture lectures, did my assignments, passed the test.  I worked hard as a volunteer in gardens all around the community.  And in 2006, I became a certified Master Gardener.

Which, in turn . . . introduced me to gardening friends.  Who got me involved in "ancillary" garden groups like the Hosta Society and Garden Club.

And, of course . . . there were requirements (both educational and volunteer) to re-certifiy each year.  Which led to MORE classes and new certifications and tours and conferences and events.

And here I am.  12 years later.
Smarter.
Certified.
And WAY overcommitted -- and grumpier every year about the time I'm NOT spending in my own garden.

Last summer, when the notion that maybe it was time to let the Master Gardener thing GO . . . first crossed my mind, I was horrified.  Because I loved the program, really.  And I have so many gardening pals who are also involved.  And I had made a huge investment of time and money and passion for so many years!

But I started shedding those ancillary groups.  (It was easy to say good-bye to the Hosta Society and the Garden Club.)  And I decided to pack my Master Gardener commitment into one of those "maybe" boxes of closet cleaning fame . . . to just see if I could live without it.  I stopped attending conferences and meetings.  I cut way back on my volunteer hours.  I unsubscribed from the email alerts and newsletters.

And I discovered I didn't miss it at all.

In fact, it made me feel free!

My gardening friends think I'm nuts to quit.  And the program director is taking it personally.  But I'm very much at peace.

The Master Gardener program was great for me when I first started out.  It "fit" me then.  I was energized and excited.  But, over the years, it's just gotten a little tight and itchy.  

It's time for me to let it go. 

And now that I've decided to let it go, I'm amazed that it was such a hard decision at all.  Why was it that my personal "investment" and a sense of obligation kept me involved . . . even when I knew my heart wasn't in it anymore?  Whatever the reason, getting rid of this huge commitment in my life will make it easier to pare down even more.

(I'm looking forward to more time in my own garden this spring, y'know?)

 

 

 


On Cleaning Out More Than Just Closets: A Focus Post

"You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks."
                                        --- Winston Churchill

Over the last few years, I've written many a blog post about clearing out my closet -- carefully culling through my collection of clothes, figuring out what to keep, what to give away, and trying not to feel bad about past shopping decisions.

Well.  That process is never-ending, I've decided.  I'm still culling.  Every once in a while, I add something new.  But for the most part, it's a whittling down.

But that's not what this blog post is about.

No.  This blog post is about a quite different collection.  But let's stay with the closet metaphor for a bit.

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You see, I am a Great Chaser of Shiny Objects.

I have many commitments and interests, and I enjoy pursuing them in a rather deep way from time to time.   Gardening, for example.  Or art.  Various fiber crafts.  Photography.  Community volunteering. (I'm sure you get the idea.)  I tend to keep . . . adding things.  But rarely subtracting.  

But . . . pursuing too many things means you don't have time to pursue anything well.  It's like the Churchill quote at the top of this post.  If I keep spreading myself too thin, I'll never get anywhere.  And it's actually kind of stressful -- to have all these things I want to DO, but never have time to actually do them.

So, I've decided that it's time to do some culling . . . in this, my year of Focus.  Like my closet.  Only not with clothes.

I expect that this will be a challenging process.  Because I like All the Things.  But, realistically, I can't DO All the Things.  Now that I've admitted and accepted this, it's time to deal with it.

If I can KonMari my closet, why not the rest of my life?

Take everything out.
Really look at it.
Touch it; try it on again.
Does it bring you joy????
Sort:  Keep - Toss - Maybe
Repeat.

It's time to begin.

 

 


Focus. Or . . . Ferris Was Right

When I try to explain why I chose FOCUS as my one little word for 2018, I start here.  With Ferris Bueller. 

And that's it, really, in a nutshell. 

Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

I want to stop and look around for awhile.  

I want to focus . . . on what I might be missing; what I'm not seeing . . . because I'm too busy looking at what I'm already seeing.  

I want to find out what happens if I . . . adjust my focus?

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I think it's going to be an interesting year!