Don’t let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.
-John Wooden –
Kirk and I, two misfits in a world where mindless conformity governs actions, have participated in trying to navigate normal. It has left us crippled mentally and physically. Slowed down, depressed, we’ve wonder, is life is just meant to be endured until something better comes along? Then I read these words.
“Don’t give away pieces of yourself to make others feel whole.”
Muses from a Mystic
“Don’t wait to live. This isn’t a rehearsal, This isn’t a dry run; this isn’t a pre-performance routine, This is real life. Don’t wait. Savor every moment.”
– Jeffery R. Holland
So for the last four months of Covid – 19 panic, I’ve watched a cazillion videos, read a cazillion articles looking for answers. I cried a LOT and I go years without crying. I prayed, and I reflected on how we got to where we were, how changing to focus more on us would impact others, and on what would happen if we didn’t? Then it dawned on me, that not taking care of ourselves was a sign of lack of respect and I could see it reflected in how others treated us.
How could we get out of the trench we’d dug for ourselves? At first we looked at what we should be doing and that didn’t change things much. So instead we began listening to how we felt when we did things. Was it peace, sense of accomplishment, fulfillment, joy, invigorating? Or was it depression, exhaustion, frustration, and discouragement? From those experiences we made a list and found common threads.
I once spent hours waiting for just that perfect shot.
Our answers were the same for both of us. Creative outlets invigorated us though the avenue was not always the same. Working together was better than apart though our usual method was “divide and conquer”. Beauty in our surroundings and in our home was extremely important in giving us a sense of peace – a refuge from the world.
Though I’d found lots of helpful advice, nothing broke things down in the way a blog called Zen Habits did in the following post.
I finally found the questions we needed to ask ourselves.
“1. Identify what’s important to you.”
“2. Eliminate all the rest.”
This is really too simplistic so he goes into 72 steps to reach what is for you simplicity.
Interestingly, his idea of simplicity means for instance renting as he found the responsibility of owning a home too stressful. We find renting confining and restrictive. He only has one car despite having two working adults and six kids but we have three vehicles and three different types of trailers and use all frequently to retain our independence. Yet as different as we are, our goal is the same, just not our path. I’d encourage you to read through his post and ask yourself “what simplifying would mean to you?”
Enjoy the simple moments.
Step number one:
What are the four or five things that are most important to us?
For some reason stating as most important and not things we want to accomplish made all the difference to coming up with an answer. Most important meant seeking peace, contentment, and feeling accomplished, not just jobs done.
Step number two:
Evaluate your commitments:
We began with a list of commitments we need to survive and moved on to thrive. It amazed us how much time was spent on things that were not important to us and really we don’t need or want to do.
Step number three:
Evaluate your time:
Mine is spent mainly recovering from doing what I should not be doing given my health and mental Autistic state. So I’ve come up with how I need to spend my time, now I’m working on managing it. I watched video after video on time blocking versus to-do-lists. Time blocking makes sense but again it is set up for city life which is far more structured due to the long list of people you pay to remove responsibilities from your plate. That’s fine. It is a choice but not one for us so how does one go by making a block schedule that is governed by the seasons and the weather? Fruit does not become ripe on demand, or snow come when it is an opportune time to plow it. Neither do livestock injuries and a myriad of things like the drought which has oppressing heat and hot dry winds that dry everything out and are destroying our crops.
Then I discovered how to use sticky notes in blocking. Now that would give me variability to restructure throughout the day and week instead of constantly rewriting a schedule. One that includes lots of free time to work around whether it is a day I’m walking or just trying to shuffle across the room. I’m going to give it a try and along the way, I hope to find the percentages between work and play we need. It’s almost all been work up until now.
Remove the difficulties from daily tasks.
Step number four:
Simplify work tasks: For me there is no separating between work and home. Something I’m contemplating though as we need additional income but my limitations are very, very restrictive.
Step number five:
Simplify home tasks:
Though I love to cook, I don’t like to do so on demand or spend a large portion of my day doing. It is a relaxing task, not a job I want. So I’m completely revamping how I look at it. So far I have decided salad, soup, and fixings for sandwiches or left-overs to choose from are for lunch. It is a serve yourself and clean-up affair in theory. We’re working with the kids on reality. I’ve already changed the way I shop, do bills, and bank. All things inspired by Covid -19 since my chemical sensitivities to cleaning products used by many businesses puts me down in bed, (sometimes for days).
Step number seven:
We have been and will be for once is nice but twice or three times is better. Then its organization to give us a sense of control and ease time expense. This is the part I love where I’m hoping to soon use the fishing pole rack I bought, the weed-eater and watering hose hooks too. Maybe not organization to the extent of my grandfather’s place was where
“A place for everything and everything in its place”
was the golden rule he lived by. He was a tinkerer but my husband’s a handyman. The tool difference is immense.
Simplifying can brings peace to a complex world.
Step number sixteen:
Create a simplicity statement:
What do we want our simple life to look like? We are comparing our ideals with reality and working on a compromise.
As we simplify our belongings, commitments, and daily tasks, it is emerging, the life we were meant to live.
Step number eighteen:
Free up time:
We badly need to rest and recover from running beyond our strength. We need to free up time to enjoy our work, enjoy our stock like this week where Honey Nut ( a juvenile hen) has come each day and sits in a grain bin next to me as she lays her egg and we chat while I milk. I love that hen! And as we’ve spent more time with our animals, their personalities have come to be something we treasure about our days.
Covid – 19 has brought out the good in people and the bad. It has changed all our lives, some much more than others. Don’t let it interfere which what you CAN do. Don’t wait to live. Today is that day. This is an opportunity to look deep within ourselves, to refine, and lift up.