Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Monday, May 3, 2010

Done for the Week: Time to Ease Up

Another week gone.  Another month "put to bed."  The counter in this blog's right-hand column tells me that 2010 is "34% complete."   I don't have a scheme for measuring my accomplishments against this yardstick, nor do I want to develop one.  The counter is just meant to remind us of the passing of time.  As if we could forget!

Here is this week's "done list."

Done List--Week of Apr. 26-May 2
  1. Continued 5K training
  2. Finished Death in Summer, by William Trevor; Dark Alchemy, by Sarah Lovett
  3. Took my blood pressure daily
  4. Attended one meeting--my proposal to combine functions for greater efficiency and effectiveness was accepted by group
  5. Attended Faith & Justice Reception, May 1st Immigration Reform March, Reception for new public school superintendent
  6. Published 5 blog posts
  7. Meditated 5 times
  8. Walked my dog most days
  9. Rooted for my two teams in the NBA playoffs--one eliminated, one going on to Round 2
  10. Completed 2 noxious FAFSA applications
  11. Was taken out to eat one day, separately, by three different men (my husband, and two sons)
  12. Continued trying to distinguish positive mothering from useless nagging and fretting--succeeded some, failed some
  13. Made significant dent in piled up laundry
  14. Wrote Morning Page 4 days
  15. Accepted two long-distance party invitations
  16. Called my mom
  17. Caught up on email and facebook correspondence
  18. Put in many hours at two part-time jobs
  19. Came up with plan to alter morning schedule
Last week's focus goal was to do more writing, which I decided would best be fostered, at this point, by writing my  version of Julia Cameron's Morning Pages, abbreviated to one long page, taking approximately 15 minutes.  I had some trouble with the "morning" part of this assignment, since on any given day, I face a variable schedule of early meetings and other work commitments, as well as occasional intentional late starts in service of more sleep.  But I did manage to produce the promised lines on four of the five days following my decision.  This, along with the previous weeks' focus goal results, and my continued adherence to a reestablished meditation routine, tells me that I am likely to give priority to an identified goal, and to meet it reasonably successfully.  So highlighting something I want to work on appears to be a powerful tool for conquering laxness.

In red above is what seems to me this morning to be the most important thing I did last week.  I have been continuing to struggle with stress, and have been waking feeling tense.  In the past, this has been a symptom of my over-organized states, which have alternated with my giving-up states.  I am keen to continue being more "productive," in terms of doing things I care about, but equally concerned to be more relaxed about it.  A useful conversation with my husband helped me to articulate the problem, and to observe that I have abandoned a morning ritual that has given me pleasure, and something to look forward to on waking for many years.  So this week, I am going to return to the habit of tackling the New York Times Crossword Puzzle, and both KenKens, and eating breakfast in the backyard, before beginning work on my blog.  The Morning Page can wait, and can become, if need be, the Afternoon Page, the Evening Page, the Middle of the Night Page. . . .

This week's focus goal will be to use the new morning routine to signal commitment to better self-care, and to look for other opportunities to treat myself like the valuable human I suspect I might be.

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