Goofing Off Is A Moral Imperative

Yes, you read that right. I am encouraging you to goof off. To not get things done. To let go of your schedule, your have to’s, your shoulds. I’m not only encouraging you…I dare you!

If that thought makes you all queasy, sweaty and light-headed, hear me out.

Because that’s how I used to operate, so I know the compulsion. The not feeling good enough if you don’t do enough. The drive to get it all done so you can finally relax and enjoy your life.

It is exhausting. And it’s a lie. You will never get everything done. Ever.

The more I focus on letting myself off the hook, the better I get at doing what feels good to me. It still doesn’t come easily. Even though I enjoyed my lazy weekend, I notice I’m feeling that ‘morning after’ regret. As I sit here contemplating the week ahead, my mind chatter shifts into overdrive.

“You didn’t get anything done. What a waste of time. You had all this time off work and you didn’t cross one thing off your To Do list. What were you thinking?”

Good lord! Enough already!

So today, instead of focusing on everything I ‘should’ have done, I made a list of everything I did that I enjoyed:

  • Read an entire book cover to cover
  • Watched sappy, heartwarming Christmas movies on Lifetime and Hallmark channels
  • Slept in
  • Sat on my couch, wrapped in a blanket, enjoying my morning coffee
  • Baked a chocolate cake…just for me
  • Had two great coaching calls
  • Daydreamed
  • Looked at all the cool stuff you guys have posted on Facebook recently
  • Watched a video of Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk at O Magazine’s 10th anniversary
  • Listened to some of John Mayer’s new songs
  • Watched an inspiring video about a roadtrip taken by two brothers after their mom passed away
  • Napped
  • Read several blogs

No, I didn’t get my Christmas decorations put up, or my weekly grocery shopping done. I didn’t do the laundry, pay the bills, or clean the house. And that’s okay. I’ve discovered that everything gets done that needs to get done.

I’m learning to strike a balance between planning for the future and living for today. Tomorrow I can get back to my To Do list if I choose. But for now I’m headed back to my couch with the remote in hand and a big piece of chocolate cake. I’m sure there are some sappy Christmas movies that need my immediate attention.

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.

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What Does Your Fear Masquerade As?

Fear is a tricky little bugger. Sometimes it shows itself outright. As in the screams of terror that would come from being chased by a wild animal or a knife-wielding psycho. If your life were actually in real, physical danger it’s likely fear would show it’s true colors.

But more often fear disguises itself in ways you may not even recognize.

Lately I’ve noticed my fear wearing the disguise of frustration…or impatience. I was sitting at the dinner table with my 15-year-old son, Kyle. He was telling me something…I don’t even recall what it was. All I remember was feeling annoyed and like I just wanted him to go away.

What was really going on?  I had an unexpected change in my income and that produced some serious money fear. I was so afraid in that moment I couldn’t even hear what he was saying. But to him, I’m sure it appeared as if I just didn’t care.

In the past, my fear wore anger’s clothes. I didn’t realize that at the time, but I can remember two specific incidents where my older son, Mitch, brought it to my attention. Gotta love your kids for not letting you get away with anything!

Here’s what happened. Mitch and I were at The Art Institute of Seattle where he was enrolling in a program for audio production. The young woman in the admissions office was very nice and helpful. When we left Mitch asked me, “Why were you so mean to that girl?” I was confused. I didn’t remember being mean. He said, “She was just trying to help us and you were being kinda bitchy. “

And then it hit me.

Towards the end of our appointment, I had to complete paperwork to apply for financial aid. I remember feeling terrified. All I could think was, “How am I ever going to pay this back?” Little did I know by not trying to show that fear, I was actually coming across as a complete bitch.

The other incident was when Mitch wrecked his car. I had no idea there had been an accident. He left the house with his friend Alan and rear-ended someone at the stoplight only a few minutes away. He didn’t call to tell me what had happened. He decided to handle it himself.

The next thing I knew, a tow-truck pulled up in front of my house with my son’s smashed car on the back. Even though Mitch was in the cab of the tow-truck, I couldn’t see him. Immediately fear set in.

Thankfully Mitch was okay. But later he told me when the tow-truck driver first saw me she said, “Your mom looks really mad!”

So that’s how I’ve covered my fear. Instead of just being honest about it, I’ve worn the masks of frustration or anger, impatience or bitchiness. But what if I could be more open about fear? What if, instead of automatically putting on one of those masks, I could admit, “I’m feeling really afraid right now.” How authentic and real would that be?

It’s vulnerable and feels like a risk. But the alternative hasn’t really worked out all that well so far. So I’m getting honest about fear. Care to join me? You know what they say…the truth will set you free!

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.

Worrying Won’t Fix the Furnace

I come from a long line of worriers. Generation after generation fretting about what might happen. Afraid of how terrible it will be when that inevitable ‘bad’ thing shows up

I call it future tripping.

Those of you who know me well know I have played the victim once or twice (or alot) in my life. I often thought “bad things happened TO me. It was just my luck. There was nothing I could do.” But that wasn’t the truth at all.

The truth is, consciously or unconsciously, I was choosing those things.

Here’s an example. A couple weeks ago my Monday got off to a rocky start. I report to my home office for work at 6am. I am not a morning person. My boss is usually raring to go on Monday. She likes to “hit the ground running.” I have never in my life hit the ground running. My mother can attest to that. I felt like I’d been shot out of a cannon. So after three and a half hours straight on various phone calls for work, I needed a break.

I left the room and noticed it felt kind of cold in the hallway. I use a space heater during the day in my office so it was pretty toasty in there. I went downstairs and checked the thermostat. 56 degrees. In my house. That’s a little chilly. The thermostat is set to 60 so I knew the furnace had stopped working.

Before I even had time to think, automatic pilot kicked in. Panic! Oh my god! What am I going to do? Who will I get to fix this? How will I pay for it? It was a complete and utter ‘Chicken Little, the sky is falling’ moment. For those of you who tend to panic and fear the worst, you know what I mean. But as that familiar feeling started to set in, I heard another voice in my head. (Yes, I hear voices. Don’t judge me.) The voice said, “What if you just didn’t worry about this?”

That stopped me dead in my tracks. Because up to that point, worrying did not feel like a choice. But all of a sudden, in that moment, it was. Worry or don’t worry. Either way the furnace isn’t working.

So I just decided to stop worrying.

I was surprised by how relaxed I felt. When you don’t worry, you’re not all stressed out about something you cannot control. I checked the fuse box, took the cover off the front of the furnace and peered around. Nothing obvious jumped out at me so I put the cover back on and walked away. I had some errands to run so I just left the furnace behind.

I enjoyed being away from my office. I took my time and didn’t allow myself to rush. I stopped at the grocery store in the middle of the day. I didn’t worry.

When I got back home and walked in my house, I was surprised by how warm it felt. I checked the thermostat. 60 degrees. The furnace was working again. Without any help from me.

I wish I could say that was the end of my worrying. That I’d learned my lesson. That my fear was gone forever! But I think we all know it doesn’t work that way. My automatic reaction is still fear most of the time. It will take some time to retrain my brain. But now I catch myself. I stop the panic train before it goes tearing out of the station. I breath.

And then I can choose…worry or not. It’s really up to me.

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.