I used to be a totally type A person because that’s how I made things work for me. And they DID work. Really well. Except for a whole bunch of things I didn’t really understand well, like relationships and trust and forgiveness.
As those got more important, or my failures in those departments grew more conspicuous and problematic, I changed. It was a pretty big pendulum swing. The main problem then became that my efforts to be “relaxed” and to let life do its thing meant that I wasn’t honoring my basic desire for structure, planning, and organization.
So I’ve been working these last few years on learning how to bring the right set of tools to the right task. But it’s really hard because these approaches seem far more all-encompassing than just tool-boxes. It seems like the transition from structured and planful to present-in-the-moment requires time and energy and attention that I’m not yet in the habit of cultivating.
Today is a good example. It was a gorgeous day, a break-the-bank golden, bottomless blue day, enhanced by the crisp breeze and hot sunshine and occasional drift of leaves to the grass. I awoke with seven hundred plans (yes, at 4 am): scrape and paint the exterior windows that need it; ditto for the old bench I want to repaint; pot up the cuttings of lemon basil that have rooted; mulch and edge garden beds; transplant the cedars, elderberries, and maybe even cherry trees that have been lounging in the “nursery bed” for years. There were Ambitions. But entering Ezra’s room this morning, in the dark, after he called out for me, I had that wonderful sense of Christmas. Here is this sweet, precious gift with all his ideas and behaviors and wants and I get to be with him! Every person in my house is a stunningly perfect blessing, and sometimes I can actually SEE that and KNOW it. Today was one such day. So how does anything else really matter that much? We made pancakes and smoothies and played outside for a while and then the day got ahold of us, and we ended up doing only one actual Thing. (Well, two, but one was a mandatory grocery-store run, so that doesn’t count.)
I look at this month almost gone and I feel much the same way: where are the plans I had for building my consulting practice? For finalizing my public humanities discussion series? For advancing the other ongoing projects? Nothing has languished, exactly, but nothing is taking on new momentum. Perhaps that’s not a problem; perhaps it’s not time. But I wish I had more faith in my skill at managing these competing priorities of my life: intentionally shaping and designing it vs mindfully living in it.