Today’s Thursday so I’m Crafting my Life! I’m hard at work on the Crafting my Life e-course. You still have time to register, so drop by my Sign Up! page to find out more about that. While I work on that, I’m shaking things up over here. I’m continuing the “crafting your life” theme through January, in which I welcome guest contributors to share their journey with you. This week, it’s the amazing Alexis.
Iâ€™ve been following Amberâ€™s â€œCrafting My Lifeâ€ series with interest over the last several months â€“ I think weâ€™re all crafting our lives, whether consciously or not. Weâ€™re making decisions every minute, mundane or life-changing, and itâ€™s been fascinating and thought provoking for me to watch her take time once a week to really think about what she values, and how sheâ€™s going to implement what matters to her in the way she lives her life. So I was thrilled when Amber agreed to allow me to contribute here. And then terrified. What on earth would I say?
And then in that glorious ten minutes of alone time that is my morning shower, I caught myself wondering what it would be like if I woke up one morning with no knowledge of who I am. If I suddenly had to look out my own eyes at my life as if I were a perfect stranger.
You know, like Quantum Leap. (Please tell me Iâ€™m not the only one old enough to remember that show.)
(Amber – No, you are not. I had a crush on Scott Bakula.)
What an interesting thought experiment: what would my life look like if I had the opportunity to see it, exactly as it is, but with no assumptions and no judgment? Like everyone else, I wander through my days with a constant stream of personal commentary going through my mind. Often, in fact Iâ€™d say mostly, that commentary is Not Nice.
What would it be like to just shut that voice off for a day? To drop the baggage I carry around every minute; to have no preconceptions about my body, my housekeeping, my mothering â€“ my being.
What would that look like?
Well, first Iâ€™d have to fumble for my glasses, or it wouldnâ€™t look like much at all. But after that, what? Iâ€™d get out of bed and have a look around. Iâ€™d catch my reflection in the mirror. What would I see there? Wouldnâ€™t it be great to see my body as it is? To recognize its health and ability, not knowing Iâ€™m twenty pounds heavier than I used to be? To see my curves and strength, and not just the cellulite on my thighs? The thought of looking at my body without judging or hating any part of it makes me a little giddy, I must admit.
Looking around my home, maybe Iâ€™d see a pile (or two, or three, or infinity) of paperwork that needed to be sorted through. It would just be paperwork, instead a disaster-area of uncompleted tasks, unfinished business, and work I didnâ€™t get done the day/week/month before. Maybe Iâ€™d see the dishes that needed to be done and laundry that needed be folded as just that, instead of guilt-inducing proof that Iâ€™m a terrible housekeeper. What a thought: to see things I need to learn to do, instead of evidence of everything Iâ€™m not good at. Crazy!
What would that feel like? Itâ€™s hard for me to imagine.
What would it be like to walk through my day with curiosity instead of judgment? How would that affect my behaviour, and my interactions with others? I think it would be incredibly freeing, to spend the day with my husband, blissfully unaware of how much it bugs me that he never replaces the toilet paper roll. Or to play with my toddler, absent the self-recriminations for shouting at him the night before to, â€œFor crying out loud, stop doing parkour on the coffee table!â€
What would it feel like to simply enjoy my family for who they are? To just be, in that moment, without half my mind telling me what Iâ€™m doing wrong?
I bet it would feel pretty good. Incredible, even.
And what would I do?
Iâ€™m a classic procrastinator. I start out with the best of intentions, and then put things off and put things off until the deadline is looming, and then the deadline has passed, and then Iâ€™m squeezing out a frenzied burst of work at the last possible moment. Iâ€™m forever making to do lists and then not doing what needs to be done. Itâ€™s a pattern of behaviour Iâ€™ve struggled with all my life, and I donâ€™t know why.
Well I do, of course I do. We all do: fear. Irrational, intangible, and devastating.
Just think what I could accomplish if I didnâ€™t have the heavy weight of fear attached to everything I try. Imagine: looking at a to do list, completing a task, checking it off, and moving on to the next one. Just getting things done. Simple, right?
If I was trying to be cool, Iâ€™d tell you this is easy for me to imagine. But the truth is that Iâ€™ve had to get up and walk away from the keyboard a dozen times while writing this post. Itâ€™s astonishing to me to learn how uncomfortable I am with the mere thought of living my life â€“ even one day â€“ without judgment. I think I cling sometimes to that inner voice telling me Iâ€™m not good enough. Even though it doesnâ€™t serve me, itâ€™s familiar, and comfortable, and it gives me easy excuses for not reaching further and trying harder.
So today, Iâ€™m crafting my life. Iâ€™m going to work really hard at looking at all these things through a strangerâ€™s eyes. Enjoy the moments, keep what serves me, discard what doesnâ€™t. And maybe knock a few things off my to do list, just for fun.
What would your life look like if you looked at it objectively? What would you change about the way you spend your time? What one thing would you immediately start to do differently?