A little over a week ago I sat down with all my little to-do lists. You know, the ones I had scribbled on post-it notes and the backs of utility bills I haven’t bothered to switch to paperless, the emails I had sent myself in the middle of a meeting or traffic jam, even all of the virtual lists that never really existed anywhere other than when they were clogging up wherever the place is in my brain that allows my creativity to pass through from idea to action. I sat down with all of them and made the most beautiful spreadsheet ever. It was two worksheets in one document (one sheet for leisure and one for life. because that’s all there is to my life, by the way… life and leisure), and in each sheet there were 7-10 sections for all of the different areas of life and leisure I am pursuing. And in each (of course: color coded) section I had three columns; one for the task, one for the due date, and one for the priority. Section by section I filled up the spreadsheet with all of my to-dos and then ranked them in order of importance. And when I was done with what I had called “Giant To-Do List” I realized that I hadn’t made a to-do list at all; I had made a planning form. I used the, now, Giant To-Do List planning form to calendar and “Reminder” app my next three weeks worth of life and leisure tasks and carried forth with little to no faith in my process.
Wait, what? Did she say little to no faith in [her] process? Yep. That’s what I said. Despite the fact that I love spreadsheets and calendars and to-do lists and the acts of making them I have never actually had a system that works for me for any longer than a few months at a time and lately it’s been more like a few days. I’ve always just gotten by with being naturally, insanely organized (read: brilliantly effective).
Almost a week and a half into my new process I can report that it’s been going tremendously well. I’ve known what I’ve needed to be doing every evening and I’ve committed to doing it (except for those times when I’ve realized that I’m doing way too much and have moved things to later dates or eliminated them all together). I’ve kept the TV off and have rested my head with pleasure reading and early bedtimes. I’ve even had a good time doing it! Still, tonight (and I’m going to blame this more on hormones than an ineffectual system that is on its way out), I am filled with doubt. I have been performing at top speed (there’s the first clue) for over a week and I am tired. It’s no wonder why: parenting a kindergartener (and I just revealed tonight at the PTA-ish meeting I attended that I am a “Project Manager” and that got a lot of attention. Oops!), holding down a full time job that is anything but mindless, writing a book, starting a business, participating in a creative workgroup, taking a writing class, being madly in love with a brilliant woman… are all wonderful, but even a lot of wonderful equals a lot.
Back to the doubt. Am I trying to do too much? Am I avoiding feeling my feelings? I’ve noticed that I’ve been eating mindlessly the last couple of days (although if I noticed it how mindless could it really be?). Is that because I’m not coping as well as I think I am with some unknown issue that is obviously plaguing my life and poisoning it with a certain brand of failure that can only be constructed by a vivid imagination combined with an extraordinarily hidden low self image? Sigh, doubt is tiring too.
That, folks, was a very long intro to what I’m really going to write about. Because as tired as I am, I am (thanks to the principles of mindfulness and relative ease with insight) able to see that I am just tired, a little hormonal (come on menstruation… any day now I’d love to experience some relief from this sudden and then continuous drop in estrogen levels), and maybe not taking as good of care of myself as I could be (note to self: two days without sitting in formal meditation is your max right now for avoiding crankiness and also, remember to bring snacks). I’m going to let go of the doubt because I have something very important on my to-do list tonight and abandoning it or the list aren’t part of the path I want to be on right now. I need to write a piece on “Why I Write” for the class I’m taking starting next week. I’m nervous about it because it’s for a class, instead of my usual blog, and in thinking about it before sitting down to write it I found myself believing that I need to take a different approach to writing it than the other things I write. Eesh, there was doubt again. I better get on with it with what few words I have left.
|by the way, this is my latest ass picture.
I’m not turning it in as part of the class assignment.
It’s just for you folks here
Why do I write? Just like most I write because I “have to.” I get an inexplicable urge (that I would be remiss to not acknowledge often comes up as inexplicable resistance more than anything else. when writing is the last thing I want to do that’s usually time to go write). I also (let’s try on all of the cliches for size, shall we?) write to find out how I really feel. Just now, both in composing this in my head before sitting down and then by putting the words on the “page” I worked myself through some doubt that could have been crippling, if not paralyzing for days on end and found out it was just a symptom of busy-ness and the presence of a very real monthly cycle. I haven’t heard this one as much, although more lately, but I also write to be read, and even more than that to be seen. When I write, I see myself first, and then myself reflected back from you. I write because when I do I get to call myself a writer and suddenly something I’ve always wanted to be is who I am. I write because I am all about the process and writing is all process. Every part about it; the thinking, the resisting, the bursting, the blathering on. It’s me.
I write because writing has given me life. By giving into the urge or pushing past the resistance, allowing myself to be seen and then seeing myself, I have been able to transform my life and (from what I hear) the lives of others. I can’t imagine a gift greater than that and so now, I write because I can.