Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Keep It Simple Scarlett


To say that I have a busy, chaotic life is a monumental understatement. For a long time I've lived under the misconception that if there is a free moment, it should be filled with something that needs to be done. There is always something that needs to be done. Sisyphean tasks... always more to do... never done...

I am solely responsible for the life I make for myself; when did I ordain that I emulate Sisyphus? The things that spill over the edges of my time are not great steps to completing a magnum opus, they are like sea shells... lovely on the outside, hollow on the inside, save for the echo of something greater that isn't there.  Each duty a puzzle piece that builds the image of my life, filling moments with an immutable story that can never be unwritten, undone or remade.

There is no resource as precious and priceless as time. Not in the whole universe.

I procrastinate... and I've said that one of these days I shall stop procrastinating. I always carry my planner with me and I pencil in chaos until even a glance at the month I've made is overwhelming. Busy does not equal productive. Work smarter not harder.

Scheduling balance into life is a gamble at best... I allow so many things to come up and change the direction of the ever flowing river of time I navigate. Balance is imperative for stability, growth, strength and peace.

Peace isn't something to be scheduled into a day after the gym and before work.  We carry it within us, in every moment, in every place.

I decided to downsize. I decided to make a change to live simply. Less clutter everywhere in my life, my home, my work, my schedule; everywhere in every aspect. I began to eliminate at every juncture.
Then one of my friends moved and gave me half of the contents of her house. I have a lot of stuff. You want stuff? I got stuff. What I will not use now will be donated to those who need it far more than I. The Sisyphean task of elimination has begun again; only this time, that boulder will be resting at the top of the hill and I will walk off the mountain. Here's a great piece on what I mean by downsizing and amen to Zen.

There is a way to find peace and organization and simplicity and focus by creating it in our lives. Our hectic, noisy, chaotic, non-stop, stress filled, busy, runaway train lives.

I'll let you in on a little secret... shhh... listen...
~you really are in charge of everything in your life~.

If you don't like it, change it.

There are roughly 4 billion bits of information being processed by our brains every single second. That is a LOT of information. It does not help that we have so much more coming into us constantly (i.e. the endless stimulants to our senses that are an inherent foundation of our culture such as tv/radio/media/ads/phones/computers/entertainment/
noise/lights/all the amenities of our lives that are supposed to make our existence easier but somehow just fill up more space and time and leave us with a deficit of  enrichment).


Environment ~ start with environment. A seed cannot grow in poor soil. If your environment isn't conducive to nurturing healthy growth, then repot yourself. Old soil doesn't have the nutrients we need to grow stronger, either, but instead leads our experience to stagnancy and inhibition.

Circumstance ~ we have basic needs to meet and the labor we trade for providing for those needs does require some of our time, but not all of it. Two things that matter here are; first, is the labor we are trading worthy of the recompense we receive? Are you happy in your work? Is it fulfilling? Will you look back at the days you've spent toiling and believe that each one was worth what you accomplished at the end? Second... all of the time that isn't given to supporting your lifestyle is yours to make what you will of it... what do you make a priority of in that time? What is it given to? Are those things something worth giving your time to? If you do not have enough time for the things you want, then change your life to make those things happen. Each second of our lives burns away so quickly, until they are gone. Make them count. Make them all count.
They don't all have to be big moments, but they should all count. Let go of the ones that clutter your precious time, the things that would continue on without you, the Sisyphean tasks that will subtly devour your life if you let them.

Opportunity ~ It has been said that the harder one works, the luckier one gets. I said above that it's a better use of time to work smarter not harder, but sometimes working smart is hard work, too. The more you go after, the more opportunity will favor you; this I know to be true in my own life. Many times people have asked me how it is that so many wonderful experiences have found their way into my life... the answer is easy. I go after them. I ask for and work for the opportunities in my life, and the rewards are that I am able to experience living outside the box. I take risks and chances. I dream big. I don't give up unless I know for certain that my endeavor isn't truly within my realistic grasp. There is always a way... like water that runs against a rock until it finds a way through, opportunity will come if it is sought. It is a rare visitor if one sits idly by and waits for it to come of its own accord.

In short... your life is what you make it. Make it truly good.


Molly said...

I want to believe all this Scarlett, but sometimes circumstances arise over which you have no control; circumstances that demand to be dealt with, that eat up your life, that knock the optimism right out of you. I'm dealing with some right now. You don't know how much I wish I could change them. But I hear you! I can change my attitude towards them.

Very interesting and thought provoking read.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

A very good post, Scarlett, with lots of wisdom in it. Sometimes it doesn't seem possible to change the way we spend our time, but it's worth rearranging it if we can. Obligations can come at any stage of life, not just when our children are young, for instance, but I do know it's important to leave some time for ourselves in all the chaos. I wish it were easier.

Minx said...

Right with you sister, life has a funny way of sorting things out....

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

The one skill that has truly helped me with that busy, chaotic feeling is when I learned to breathe. BREATHE. Big, deep, strong breathes. It's liberating.

To Molly's point, I agree. My mother's illness and death a few years truly knocked it out of me. There was nothing I could do, and it broke my heart and pulled me in 30 directions at once. The only things that helped were love, exercise, eating right, and especially, breathing. Breathing helped a lot.

Much of life is indeed full of choices and much is not. There are things over which we have much control, and can figure out and fix, and those that we cannot. There is grace in figuring out how to cope and come to peace with both.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

My very dear Miss Molly,

Life does throw all kinds of wrenches into the works. That's life.

Luckily, as you point out, we have a choice as to how we handle everything that comes our way.

I just keep thinking... what would Jackie Kennedy do?

*HUGS* I hope things ease up for you and I wish you peace.


Dearest Hearts,

True. But you know what, time is a funny thing. We love to think we can measure it, and in some ways we can, but then again, you know there are those moments that last forever, and slipping those moments into the time that we are obligated or willing to give to outside situations, can oftentimes refresh us internally.

Small pleasures... brief moments of infinitum that feed the soul and heart. I think most of our lives are made up of these precious opportunities when they are grasped.

Love and peace to you, sweet lady.


YAY for getting to see you here!!!
...life does indeed have a funny way of sorting things out. Very well said, lady. You know, they are seldom sorted out the way we think they will be. Oh irony.

Ms. Jules,

Amen sister. There is the physiological calming effect that comes with concentrated breathing, but there is also something spiritual about breathing in the air around us to come back to center on an elemental level - as in air being the element.
Water does that for me too, when I stand in the sea, it just seems to pull me away with it and I never want to leave.

Breathing, however, is one of the best ways to decompress, relax and refocus.

Wonderfully put. Thank you so much.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore