After my week of stillness in Santa Cruz, I’ve been swallowed by the busyness of daily life.  Work has been hectic.  R has been demanding and emotional while he’s getting over a cold.  There’s been grocery shopping, dish washing, picking up toys, getting rid of toys [because there are too many and I can’t take it anymore!!!], phone calls and visits to people I care about, dry cleaning, laundry, lunches to pack, a therapy appointment and I started an evening writing class.  Life, right?!?  

It’s been feeling like too many things.  And because this isn’t my first rodeo, I’m noticing what my brain is telling me about this.  Scarcity.  That’s the message from my brain in blinking neon lights.  It’s always some iteration of you are not enough or there is not enough [insert noun here—money, time, energy].  

I have a print on my fridge from Courtney Casper that reads as follows: 

The Spirit: 

  • Stills
  • Leads
  • Reassures
  • Enlightens
  • Encourages
  • Comforts
  • Calms
  • Convicts

The Dark: 

  • Rushes
  • Pushes
  • Frightens
  • Confuses
  • Discourages
  • Worries
  • Obsesses 
  • Condemns

I’ve been looking at these two lists for about a year now and I realize that most of the stress and struggle in my life comes from the dark, which is fear and scarcity.  And opposite of this is abundance.  I am enough.  There is enough.  Just notice how you feel as you read the first list.  All of these words are open and light.  

One of the ways I frequently feel scarcity is related to time. Anyone with kids understands the frustration of trying to get a tiny, unmotivated human out the door!  Something that’s been really helpful for me is to pause when I’m feeling stressed this way.  I stop and assess what I’m doing and the amount of time I have. Maybe I decide to cut something out, or maybe I decide to be late.  Giving myself this level of consciousness soothes my psyche, because whatever I decide—skipping washing my hair or showing up 15 minutes late because I didn’t want to skip it—I’m less frantic, less rushed, less frightened, less confused.   

But often, it’s possible to do everything I want to do in the time I have—it’s just tight.  In these moments, I decide to believe I have the perfect amount of time.  Surprise! It often turns out to be true.  And skipping that rushed, angry, obsessive feeling, makes life sooooo much better.  

This is my favorite time management technique. 

But here’s another thing I’ve been contemplating this week—after a week of stillness, my normal life feels cluttered.  Thank goodness I have travel and quiet to teach me what I do and don’t want in my life!  So I’m about to do another Marie Kondo round on ways I’m spending my time.  

Things I want to devote more energy to: 

  • Creativity (writing, art, music)
  • Quality time with family and friends
  • Exercise/Yoga

Things I want to devote less energy to: 

  • Psychiatry work
  • Housework
  • Cooking/Grocery Shopping/Meal Planning

What are your most helpful thoughts about time management?  Where do you feel scarcity in your life?  

“What I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled—to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world.” 

Mary Oliver