I would like to think my days of self-imposed chaos are gone forever. You know the craziness of life that ensues due to the false need of hyper-productivity that whispers in your ear… to take on just one more obligation, to make you feel like you are worth something. The hidden pride that sneaks up on you because YOU contribute to society, and by goodness you get things done!
Before I met The Carpenter I truly believed that my value as a person was the result of my accomplishments. I wasn’t necessarily conscious of this belief and value system that I held so true but it is how I lived my life day in and day out. Since our thoughts, words, and actions stem from our inner belief system it was clear that I was living by my own golden rule ‘I am what I produce’. To say I had (have) a Type A personality is putting it mildly. When The Carpenter and I met, I had three jobs! There was no need for me to have three jobs, my full-time job was teaching at a university and it was paying the bills just fine BUT there was time in my schedule so why not work because that is what I was put on earth to do. Wrong! I’m so thankful that I can see that I was wrong, for many of us never peel back the layers of our false self and find truth.
I oftentimes say that The Carpenter saved me from myself…and he did. Our 10 year anniversary is approaching so I reminisce and thank God for giving him endless patience for hanging in there with my wound up self. As I’m sure you can guess The Carpenter is a bit more of a Type B personality, we are the yin and the yang. He slows my pace to enjoy the moment, a good cup of coffee and conversation and as he puts it ‘indulges in my complexity’.
I love the quote in this post because I have never been happier in my life and this is the calmest it has ever been. Instead of filling up my schedule I operate from a different truth – I am not defined by my busyness. I did a study with a group of women last Spring called ‘Becoming a Woman of Simplicity’ and I love what the author said – do one thing at a time well. When I am asked to take on additional commitments in life, whether it be a favor for a friend, a volunteer effort or a major project at work, I do not answer right away. I give it some thought and really ask myself if this will take away or add to my life. This is not about being selfish with time, it’s about being a good steward of our time. We only have so much time so we need to be wise about how we spend our minutes, hours and days. It is about having space in our life. If we don’t have space in our life how can we ever be available for a friend in urgent need? If we don’t have space in life how do we make time to meet a friend for coffee and let them pour out their soul over a heart wrenching life decision? If we don’t have space in life how do we have time to show our loved ones (by our actions) that we just like being in their presence and not multi-tasking while we are in their presence?
The next time you are standing at the crossroad of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to another obligation, ask yourself which way is the simpler path. This does not mean you always say ‘no’, it means you take time to discern which way is leading you in the direction to be the best steward of your time.
Cheers to your journey into simpler times.