GIFT OR CHORE?
We are all so busy. Life moves so fast. It often goes from hectic to frantic to out of control.
We are trying to do so many things in the course of a day. We have work to get done. Many of us have kids who need our attention, houses to maintain, places to go, people to see, things that need doing pronto if not sooner.
And then if you are like me, I’m trying to do things slowly, sometimes, I try. I really do. I try and remember to take three breaths before I launch into something. I try and slow down and do things mindfully.
But more often than not the to do list is flashing so brightly that it dims the slow down – anxiety ahead sign.
This week I found myself using a new term, McMeditate. It’s like drive through meditation. I only have five minutes so let’s get to it. Trust me it is not relaxing or calming. I find myself counting how long I’m meditating for. I have my internal stopwatch going during mindfulness.
Not a good idea.
But it is very hard to literally slow down. How do you just wind it all down and get it all in? How do you enjoy the moment when you are counting how much you have to do in the next sixty?
How are you grateful for the time you are experiencing if you are longing for more of it?
Lately I seem to have more work to do than usual. My days are crammed.
I tend to wake early, tend to my ancient troika of dogs, check the morning email, quickly post some things on the various G and T sites. Then I charge to the gym. Sometimes I leave before relaxation and stretching as I am so frantically counting the minutes, watching the clock, trying to figure out how to do the work of three in a day built for one?
So on Monday I got home from my McWorkout, did my McMeditation, and suddenly realized I had like three more errands than I had planned.
I went from mildly in control to panicky. Q,uickly out came the To Do list on my phone. “Bank. Have to get to bank.”
I opened the fridge to get something. Damn it, why do we have no food here?
Total aside – does anyone else experience this – You go to the store; you spend money; you fill the fridge and the next day you open it and it’s empty? We are only three, we don’t eat that much. Do we? Are there food burglars sneaking in at night and stealing our grapes, almond milk and peanut butter?
The phone rang, the shoe repair – reminding me my shoes have been ready for six weeks. If I didn’t come pick them up they would be given away. Yes, my shoe repair place does that.
So I ran out of the house, in the process I lost a ring, left my phone and keys behind. This only added to my hysteria. It’s impossible to be centered and orderly when you are frantic and frazzled.
Then something just came over me. The internal voice of reason. What are you doing? Just stop it. It does not need to be this way. You do not need to feel like you are living in a perpetual round of beat the clock.
So, I slowed down my pace. I took a deep breath. I took time out and stopped at my favorite coffee place and got an ice coffee. Wow, wait a minute, the weather is nice enough now to drink ice coffee. I was grateful for the lovely day as I sipped my iced coffee.
I decided as I entered the bank I would make the deposit fun. Yes, I would mindfully deposit the check I had forgotten about the day before. I would enjoy pushing the buttons, entering my pin, unfolding the check slowly from its place in my wallet. And with that slowness and mindfulness came gratitude. It did – it just showed up. How lucky am I to have a check to deposit? How many people don’t? How lucky am I to get back a little statement that shows I have enough in the bank for my needs? Gratitude. Suddenly, it’s not a chore, it’s a gift. The mundane, boring chore was a gift. Suddenly I was not remotely frantic I was awash in gratitude and calm.
Next the market. I did not race through. I stopped and smelled the food, well not all of it. But I carefully chose what I would get my family. I didn’t just grab the first slightly brown grapes that would have made my life easier. I took my time. I selected the nicest bunch I could find. I carefully put them in my cart.
Item by item, I decided to make this the most enjoyable grocery shop of my life. Not a burden. Not a chore. A gift. A gift that I had all these things to chose from. A gift I can feed my family easily and without sacrifice or worry. How many mothers and wives do not have that option? And then I was suddenly grateful for my family, not resentful I had to shop for them. I had mouths to fee. I had people who relied on me to stock the fridge. How many people do not have that?
I erased the word chore from my vocabulary and exchanged it with gift. Those moments were not chores, they were all gifts. Gifts of a full life.
So next time you are feeling put upon, short of time, frantic and weighed down by what feels like the mundane boring things that fill up our days, stop and look at them as gifts. Not burdens. Not chores.
Live every moment to it’s fullest. Enjoy it all. Treat it all like it’s the first, last or only time you will get to do something. Stop and look at how lucky you are to have these things to do. And I promise you with those thoughts will instantly come gratitude. In fact that is gratitude!