Monday’s Meditation: On Simplifying Our Schedules
Most weeks I feel like I’m barely scraping by time-wise. The days are a blur of working out, working with clients, writing the blog, posting to social media, and on.
I love it all, and it’s a lot.
A couple of months ago, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea: to sign myself up for pottery classes. A form of creative expression that had absolutely nothing to do with business–how great did that sound?
I researched the options around the city, and settled, very nearly, on a three month course at a studio way, way across town, that met weekly for three hour classes. There were several options for timing: Wednesday evenings, Friday mid-morning…I scrolled up and down reviewing the options and considering where I could most reliably fit a 3-hour weekly class into my schedule for the next 3 months. I was almost ready to pull the trigger, too.
I imagined myself sitting at a wheel, the feeling of wet clay in my hands, blissed out in the act of creating. Sure, I tend towards perfectionism, hold myself to ridiculously high standards, and would likely feel added stress were I not able, as a complete novice, to immediately produce the gorgeous ceramic pieces I envisioned.
And then I realized: signing myself up for a 3-hour weekly class for the next 3 months was approximately the last thing I needed.
I need more free time, not less. I need to take on fewer commitments, not more. And maybe I could benefit from a somewhat mindless form of creative expression, but maybe there was a way to incorporate that into my life without giving over the next twelve consecutive Fridays.
It wasn’t that incorporating a form of non-business related creativity was a misguided inclination. It was as well intentioned an idea as having your kid join a sports team, start taking music lessons, and enroll in hip hop dance classes. It was as well-intentioned as you signing up to serve on the PTA, volunteering yourself to plan your friend’s baby shower, and embarking on a large project, like a home renovation.
In theory, these are all wonderful, character-developing, life-enhancing activities.
But that still doesn’t mean they’re what we really need most.
Your kid probably doesn’t need another scheduled activity in his or her life. They probably need more time during which the only expectation is for them to play, independently, and without screens. You likely don’t need to stretch yourself thinner by adding to your list of responsibilities when you can barely managing to carve out enough time to get a pedicure.
Could they? Could you? Could I?
But adding more into life, onto one’s plate, into one’s day when a feeling of overwhelm is already the daily norm is not always the most balanced, beneficial choice. We would all be better off if we began to understand that the feeling of overwhelm is a sign of our need to Simplify.
To cancel the plans, RSVP no thank you to the party, delegate, and be still. Breathe. Sit outside. Look up at the sky. Look our loved ones in the eyes. Listen.
See where our energy is best directed, and where it is being spent without benefit. Remember the world (thankfully) never stops, but we may need to, occasionally. And that makes us not weak or unproductive or ineffectual, but human, and responsible humans at that.
P.S. In case you were wondering, I found an alternative to pottery. Turns out embroidery requires about $10 to get started, and you can do it anywhere, anytime, like in bed, on a weekly schedule of Whenever You Feel Like It.
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