Lots of ruminating going on here since I wrote my last post. Of the pensive variety, not of the chewing the cud variety. (Personally, I’m grateful I have only one stomach.) Thinking about how I might begin to live that more deliberate life, a life that is more acting-as-opposed-to-reacting.
Then I got this email from Chris in response to that post. There’s a reason he’s such a phenomenal therapist. Not that I see him as my therapist, obviously. Just that a lot of the things that make him such an amazing, amazing friend surely play into making him an amazing therapist too. Without demeaning my struggle in any way, he was able to remind me of what was already “right” with my life, remind me of the ways I was already leading the life I want. Essentially he reminded me that I don’t need to start from scratch here.
With that in mind, I figured out that there were two types of changes I wanted to make: the real honest-to-goodness changes in behavior, and the more subtle, but nonetheless real and important, changes in perspective and attitude. For example, I so often let myself get frustrated, even resentful, of the overwhelming amount of time I have to spend on homeschooling. It’s not that I want to beat myself up for those feelings, but maybe I could work on redirecting my perspective. Because when I look at it, every moment I spend on homeschooling, I’m living a giving life. And in some very concrete ways, it’s helping me live a more informed life as well.
So over the next month, I’m going to adopt two strategies. I’ll evaluate after the month is over to see if they’re actually helping. Now it may be that I end up mentally turning them into something else for the to-do list, in which case I’ll ditch them and try something new. But I have high hopes.
The first is to just keep myself a tally sheet, with the categories of “a more appreciative life,” “a more informed life,” “a more sustainable life,” “a more creative life,” and “a more giving life.” Every time I realize that I’ve done something the qualifies for one (or more) of those, I’ll add a tick. My hope is that this makes me more mindful of how I spend my time, and helps me view the life I already lead with a brighter perspective. I’d love to find that after a couple months of this, I won’t need to do it anymore because I will have internalized this brighter perspective.
The second is a little more proactive. Each week, I want to add more of each category to my life. I’m going to start small, with half an hour for each category, but would love over time to up that amount. And I’m not talking about things I already do, but about setting aside the time to add, with deliberate mindfulness, more of the things that to me make for a richer life.
We’ll see how it goes.