Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Chaos of My Thought Board

A while ago, in an unusually introspective moment, I made an aspirational thought board. My thought board is like a little collection of life lesson bumper stickers.  Soundbites. Wisdom in easily digestible pieces.  It's also kinda vague. 

I haven't really looked at my thought board in a while.  I made it as a touchstone of sorts and then- I promptly lost touch with it.  It was tucked in a niche in my meditation space; a space I haven't been in much lately.

Ah.  Now comes the point in the conversation where I explain how crazy my past year has been. I must plead stress, exhaustion, the sheer mental madness of living my life.  Where I explain dropping out of life with the blanket "I've been SO busy..."

I've. Been. So. Busy. How many times do we use this flimsy excuse to not live fully?  To not connect, to not engage, to not Just. Sit. And. Think.  I didn't call when you were going through that rough patch- because I've been so busy.  I haven't sent you a letter, a card or even a 3-line email- because I've been so busy.  I haven't exercised- because I've been so busy

I'm saying this with the full realization of what it feels like to think that you really don't have one extra minute in your day for anything.  I'm typing this while the not-so-distant memory of desperately needing to clone myself lurks in my psyche.  It's a very real feeling- overwhelming, all-consuming.  It's also a BIG FAT LIE- that we perpetuate every single day.

Looking at this thought board really made me think about the way I set goals- too big, too lofty, not enough working pieces. No wonder I feel overwhelmed.  It also made me think about the way I process information. 

1. Take it all in.  
2. Panic, wail, gnash teeth, rend garments.  
3. Get talked off ledge by someone wiser or saner.  
4. Think wiser, saner person is totally whacked.
5. Break everything into smaller, digestible chunks.  
6. Feel like idiot for being so hysterical.

I need to look at my thought board a little differently.  As a board of individual, actionable affirmations.  We all have time to do one more thing everyday.  We all have time to lift one person up. To return that phone call.  To send that "thinking of you" email.  To ask, sincerely, how someone is doing.  To exercise.  To stop and listen.

I'll leave you with one thought from my board that hopefully will inspire you like it inspired me-

"Most transformational moments involve a sequence of intense effort, frustration, and then letting go" 

So, this is transformational?  Right?


Flowersbyfarha said...

I'd leave a more thoughtfully worked out comment--but I'm too busy.

Yes, indeed, this makes me pause about how I think/feel/say I'm too busy yet never seem to get as much accomplished as I think should be possible--perhaps because I'm too busy feeling I'm too busy.

Reminds me of arguments about chores with our sons throughout their adolescences that they could have done the chore in the time we spent arguing about their (not)doing the chores.

So, perhaps the inspirational thought could be, "I give myself permission to do what I need to do when I need to do it."

Connie Reece said...

Pam, I've had this post open in a browser tab for several days. Finally read it ... at exactly the right moment. Excuse me but I have to go write a short email to a friend whose call I have missed twice and I've been, ahem, too busy to call her back. Bed will wait just a few more minutes.

Lisa said...

I love your thought board.

Kat said...

I can totally relate to this. In my case, I like to create multiple projects that all cry out for my attention. I just decided last week (thanks to a friend's suggestion) that for the month of Feb, I'm only working on ONE business and letting the the client-based biz sit on the back burner. Then I'll give that one a couple weeks, then switch it up again.

I just realized that there's no way to give 100% to something if you have to split your time. I have to say, so far, it's working out quite well.

Rusty Southwick said...

Very nicely said, Pam. Isn't it curious how quick we as humans are to invent excuses for not accomplishing a decent portion of the things that we know in our hearts are important for us to do? As if having a crammed agenda gets us off the hook somehow. Rationalization and procrastination are talents we've developed to avoid responsibility.

It seems to be the "need a written excused absence from home" mentality. Going through school, we learn that once we secure that note, we're home free for that moment in time, and whatever follows right after, it's not something we feel the need to be accountable for. But you're right — it's just a cop-out. It could be due to a lot of things, such as laziness, apathy, or a myriad of conditions. Ultimately, we try to convince ourselves that we can play the busy card without consequence.

I know very few people who are truly mega-busy, and those who are often seem to go out of their way to make everything busy so they apparently don't have to answer to any other cause. Most people, however, are just poor managers of time and may even be content at being that. It doesn't fly that a few moments in the day can't be found to make the call, write the thoughts down, meditate, run the errand, drop by somewhere, do a favor, or whatever might carry some real value in our situation and of those around us. Much to think about, and thanks for that reminder.