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

Monday, January 24, 2011

Done for the Week: Finally, First Things First

Once again, I am struggling to get this post up by my personal deadline.  Monday morning in the blogging world.  And too many others mornings of the week for me lately, as life continues to speed out of control.  And I continue to hang on for dear life.

While clinging to the handrails, here's what I got done last week.

Done for the Week:  Jan. 17-23
  1. Continued off-season race training, while fighting a bad cold; biked twice; ran once
  2. Succeeded in getting husband to gym with me once
  3. Finished Find More Time: How to Get Things Done at Home, Organize Your Life, and Feel Great About It, by Laura Stack; Bleeding Kansasby Sara Paretsky; Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way:  Creating Happiness with Meditation, Yoga, and Ayurveda, by Nancy Liebler and Sandra Moss
  4. Continued providing minimal volunteer support to transitioning nonprofit
  5. Worked my two part-time jobs, with continuing schedule changes
  6. Published 5 blog posts
  7. Wrote 7 Gratitude Journal entries
  8. Wrote 3 Morning Pages
  9. Meditated 6 times
  10. Watched our two favorite basketball teams play 4 games, with son and husband
  11. Foraged for food at the grocery store several times
  12. Attended two yoga classes
  13. Attended Transitional Jobs Collaborative meeting
  14. Provided more TLC for sick son and grandson; eventually succumbed myself; took a sick day
  15. Attended birthday brunch for friend
  16. Babysat my grandson, holding Polar Express party reprise
  17. Got back to work on novel, in midst of continuing schedule challenges
  18. Finally took down Christmas tree
  19. Communicated with fellow bloggers
  20. Communicated with long-distance friends
  21. Started to work on scheduling Ireland trip with my family 
  22. Cooked more nutritious dinners than in recent past
  23. Watched episode of Treme with my husband
My focus goal for last week was "meditating at least 15 minutes, on at least six days." I made it, as you can see in the green-highlighted item above--but only by cheating.  Although maybe I shouldn't call sitting twice in one day "cheating."  In fact, that almost certainly runs against the whole compassion-for-self-and-others grain, don't you think?  The urge to "cheat" reveals the strength of my desire to meet the goal, which is a good thing.  And the other good thing is that the "action trigger" I implemented midweek seems to be working.  I am beginning to associate the end of breakfast with reporting to the cushion, which means that the whole issue of meditation is becoming less of a stressor.  I am not spending whole days trying to figure out where to fit it in, and then either meditating grudgingly and groggily at the end of the evening, or crawling off to bed guilty for having skipped it altogether.  It also means that I experience the benefits of having meditated over the course of the day.  All good.

In my view, the most important thing I did last week--though far from perfectly--was to get back to writing my novel, in red text above.  Life isn't really cooperating with this enterprise.  I have had an endless stream of schedule disruptions which have broken the routine that supports my writing.  I realize now that I had effectively set up an action trigger for writing, which generally works well.  The problem is that this trigger--the time between dropping my grandson off at preschool and picking him up--is too frangible.  With every school holiday, conference week schedule change, change in my daughter's idiosyncratic work schedule, and childhood illness, my action trigger recedes.  But now that I have recognized its function, I can do some creative thinking about a backup.  This week should be a "normal" one, at least as far as I can ever tell ahead.  But it's a good time to come up with a plan for handling the departures.

My focus goal for this week, half of which will be spent traveling to and attending a leadership training event, is to practice serenity in the face of change and unfamiliarity.  That will mean getting laundry and packing done ahead, and finalizing travel arrangements, and managing the unexpected with equanimity--while remembering to breathe.  Oh, and remembering to enjoy what there is to enjoy.

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