When I woke up today, I was already anxious. It was one of those days when I couldn’t stand noises and people around me early in the morning (that’s basically every day for me though) and it’s unfortunate, because my kids haven’t mastered the camouflage mode that perfectly just yet. So I woke up from my sweet, sweet bed, not ready to fight my daily battles of adulthood, so I jumped right at the coffee machine to churn some life supporting juice out of it. While the hope inducing dark water was brewing, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the thousand things I was “supposed” to do today, not knowing where to start, not even knowing what to do exactly, how I will accomplish it and the guide book for today was nowhere to be found. No order, no system, nothing. Just me and the big blank empty day ahead of me face-off style with my mile long to -do list in my hand.
Yeah, if you step out of it and look at it from the big picture’s point of you, there really wasn’t anything to worry about, because worst case scenario, I just go back to bed and hope that the kids are still alive by the time I open my eyes again…. and trust me, I was soooo tempted to do it… but instead I drank my energizer bunny and after I fed and dropped the older one off at school, I found myself at home with the 4 yr old (who is thankfully very self sufficient at capable of entertaining herself, unlike her older sis) and wasn’t sure where to start. I felt that oh-so- familiar feeling arising inside of me, that voice that is so good at panicking, spinning in circles and feeling more lost than Tom Hanks in Cast Away.
But then another, more sane voice (I would like to claim that that’s the real me) spoke in a calm manner, and said: “When in doubt, do the dishes.” 🙂 So I thought, what the heck, I gotta start somewhere, so that’s where I started. I did the dishes.
Doing the dishes manually, not putting into the dishwasher calms and slows me down, centers me and warms up my hands in cold winter days. So that’s what I did. I followed that little voice’s orders. Once I was done, the whole world didn’t look that hopeless anymore. You know, clean, empty sink is equivalent to a made bed and a vacuumed floor for me. When those are done, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. For some reason, they have this magical power that can transform the whole area all at once.
After the dishes were done, the next obvious thing popped up. The next idea, voice and order came. “Clean up the table, sweep the floor, how fun would it be to strip the beds and clean them as you saw it in that YouTube video, do the laundry, fold the laundry, call the bank and sort your things out, answer your text messages, cook this (just out of nowhere, and was such a great idea), go on a walk in the sun with kiddo while everything is drying and cooking, enjoy the sunshine and slow down, declutter the closet area, clean the guinea pigs’s crate, wash her bedding, self-clean the washing machine, take a shower, listen to good music while at it, go pick up other kid, feed them, take them to gymnastics, feed them again, wash their hair, braid it, brush teeth and put them to bed, sit down and meditate, write a blog.”
When I closed down all the excess chatter in my head about all the futuristic thoughts and started focusing only on the task at hand, my mind settled down beautifully. Although it didn’t go down without a fight, because it tried to fight back constantly. It likes to jump into the future and torture me with thoughts like “What should be your career? What should you study? What will happen at work? When will this person call me? What will that person think of me? Why is life so hard? Poor children in Africa. Why is Trump’s skin so orange? etc... It spins, spins, spins and spins out of control until it blows my circuit and I feel like I’m on a nervous breakdown, whereas in reality, nothing is happening, but my own mind that’s driving me nuts.
Instead I decided to focus on the actual task at hand and only on that thing. Whenever a thought popped up like “Will I have time to wash the girls’ hair tonight and should I even bother? It will be so late by the time we get home anyway.” all this at 9 am, I consciously flipped the bird to this thought, I said “Nice try. But I won’t fall for it. We shall see what happens when we get there. Not before, not after. When I get there, I’ll see what I’ll do. But it’s a mystery even for me at this point.” And continued with the task at hand… and then onto the next one, and the next one, and the next one…
As long as I focused on the present moment, the task at hand, I was not anxious. I was in the moment, in the zone, in the flow, doing what I had to do in that actual moment. Not before, not after, but right when I got to it.
The whole day unfolded wonderfully, effortlessly, perfectly organized and I have accomplished a whole lot more than I even imagined with my little skeptical mind I would early in the morning. I realized that the longest journey in life has started with only one step, and was accomplished by one step at a time, one task at hand, one moment by moment.
I also gained a lot of trust in that little compass of mine, that little guidance that’s so subtle, so gentle, but always there, telling me what to do, where to go, where to be; and that’s in the present, in the NOW…. always and forever!