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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Weed-Whacking Guide

Last week I wrote about the fact that September has me tangled up in the weeds of tasks, busy-ness and the relentless pursuit of productivity and efficiency. I was being choked by an endless list of to-dos and I needed desperately to change my pace and undoubtedly, my attitude.

So here's what I did this weekend. I told myself that something (someone) has got to change. I told myself that I needed to take care of myself. I needed to breathe in some serenity and calm.

Ahem. How does that work? Serenity and calm are not in my wheelhouse. The good news is I know someone who is an expert at those things. (At least if there isn't a car going by or a pack of kids on their bikes.)

You see, I'm pretty sure that my dog, Mack, knows a thing or two about self-care. He can definitely be a fun, active little puppy when new people are around, but in general, if he chose a life verse it would be "Be still and know." and also "Leave me alone." Mack can be still and know for hours. He can lie around or wander around simply sniffing nothing. He sniffs at the grass, sniffs at the air, and stretches out his little body to as long as he can make it, laying his head down on the driveway or on the lawn or on the deck - basically wherever he can lay his head. So I walked outside with the master and stood there next to him without my phone, without a podcast, without an option for scrolling facebook, without my running shoes, without my list and pen and even without a book. I thought I'd just sit or stand or even lie down in the grass next to him and just be.

I lasted about 2.5 minutes until I said out loud (to my dog. who doesn't speak English), "Mack, this is ridiculous. I can't do this. Shouldn't we be at least making a list if we aren't going to try to do anything on the list? How can you honestly just be there and do nothing? What are you accomplishing? Aren't the tasks growing exponentially while we just sit here and smell stuff? Like what are you smelling anyway? I don't smell anything at all. There is no scent here. How do you sleep at night knowing you didn't cross one thing off of your list? I give up. You are totally in touch with your needs. You are the champion of chill. You're not even netflixing with your chill. You win. I can't do this."


Listen, friends. Rome wasn't built in a day. I decided I could slow down this weekend without completely slamming on the brakes. So I have some suggestions for those of us who aren't quite as adept in being in touch with our deepest needs for rejuvenation as Mack is. I still was able to have a relaxing weekend just by choosing to do some things that fill me up and make me feel like me. I tried really hard to not rush anything. Yes, I did laundry, I cleaned some toilets, I went to the grocery store and I ironed some clothes. And of course, I went to some baseball games because DUH. But, I just did everything slowly. I just made sure I was breathing. I don't know how, but it worked. Here are some other things I enjoyed this weekend. 

(Let's realize that I'm still making a list here. I am powerless over the list.)

1. The Bye Week 
The Texas Longhorns had the week off. This is when we realize that the Lord's timing is perfect, right? I think God knew I could not handle a game this weekend and needed a break from holding my breath for the Horns. I didn't watch any football at all and I think this restored my soul a little bit.

2. Fall TV

TV got a bad rap for so long, but then the Iphone and the Internet came in and and almost made TV seem like a reasonably healthy activity to me.  I love tv that helps me turn my brain off for awhile. I watched This is Us, Grey's Anatomy, Designated Survivor, some episodes of Scandal and the first few episodes of Shameless (Red Alert: Shameless is shameless. It's not for everyone and it most certainly can't be watched when any of your people are any where near the tv . . .like not within five miles of the tv. Be near Lord. Amen.) 

3. Reading

I finished Love Warrior by Glennon Melton, I think the words "brutal honesty" were created for this book. Really introspective. Really deep. Really painful. Really good. I also started Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I've got these in the queue: Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarity, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer since I am the last person on earth that hasn't read it. 

4. Online Shopping

This is where I probably need to make a disclaimer because shopping should not be used to manage stress. And sometimes I do the thing I know I'm not supposed to do. But everything was 40% off at JCrew Mercantile. And I only bought one thing, so no biggie, 'kay? And this photo doesn't do it justice because it isn't that boxy, it's actually navy, not black and it has a cute gold zipper. And it's finally getting cooler so flannel will be returning soon. And plaid makes me deliriously happy. So there.

5. Running/Walking/Hiking

I went for a run one day and then later I went hiking at Bull Run Park with a friend. Again, we have a misleading photo because the flowers of course were not blooming (and also that's not Nancy and me), but it was still really beautiful and quiet and calm. We talked and walked and talked and walked until there weren't many words left. Grab a girl, grab your shoes and move yourself. It works. 

6. Talk to your kid about nothing
One early morning while my son was outside waiting for his ride to his game, I should have been starting the laundry, or jumping in the shower, or cleaning up the breakfast. Instead, I walked outside and shot baskets with him and we talked. About nothing really. But he laughed. I laughed. I didn't ask about school or girls or even baseball. I don't even remember anything that we talked about. It might have been our best conversation in months.

7. Sleep

I slept 10 hours on Friday night. And this is either here nor there, but when I woke up after that epic sleep, I looked in the mirror and my hair looked amazing. I've no idea why, but before I was even fully awake I sent a text to a couple of friends telling them that I think the sandman runs a dry bar if you stay in your bed long enough.

Okay. So that was my weekend. And I feel like I should point out that I made a list of seven things which for chronic list makers is really hard to do because who in the world is able to stop at seven things on a list? Five things, yes. In general, the list-addicted among us feels that if we don't stop at five, she must go to ten. It's just a thing.

I stopped at seven.

My list is not the boss of me. I win.

Have a great day, friends. Do a little weed-whacking of your soul each day. We'll keep working at it and before we know it we'll be sitting on the lawn with my dog singing Kum Ba Yah.

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