Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Honeymoon is Over

I love single-tasking in theory. I think mindfulness is a great idea, but I've been really struggling to follow through today. Not that I ever do it perfectly. Well, maybe I did that day we made cookies (see the photo a few posts ago--or don't, because I look spectacular in that photo).

It was a Saturday. I started off the day meeting a friend at 6:30 for a run, so that probably put me in a good frame of mind. Then, I made a list. I knew I had a lot to do that day, and I often make lists that are just way too long so I end up frustrated because there is no possible way to accomplish all of the stuff on my list and still be a sane person, let alone an attentive mother. The difference that day was that I put stars by the most important items on my to-do list. And I also made a decision. I would accomplish whatever I could before we had dinner (leftovers) and then that was it. I would be done. We would have a relaxing Saturday evening together, whether the list was finished or not. I proceeded down the list, concentrating on one thing at a time. I didn't complete the whole list, but I did complete the starred items. And I let the rest be.

Ten years ago, I had the privilege of attending a writing workshop with Madeleine L'Engle in New York City. We met every Tuesday night in an Episcopal Convent on the Upper West Side (the biggest reason for my love of that part of Manhattan). It. Was. Amazing. I'm sure I could devote more than one post to the memory of those Tuesday evenings in my favorite city in the world with my all time favorite author. But the thing that draws my mind back to that little room with our diverse group gathered around a long, wooden table is a prayer that Madeleine quoted.

"Lord it is night. The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God. It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done. Let it be. The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you. The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace. The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities. In your name we pray. Amen"

The section in bold is what stuck with me. "What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done. Let it be."

Wow, that was a long tangent. But it seems so important, I don't want to revise it. All this to say that I managed to do it well that Saturday. Some days I don't. And today, while I had a great morning and spent some time writing, energized by the act of creating (or recreating), I also found myself clicking back and forth on the computer. Checking Twitter as I used to check Facebook, adding up my calories and looking at my email. Even as I talked on the phone with Demery Bader-Saye about queries and agents, I was clicking on different tabs. It was all necessary, part of the conversation, making notes on my drafts according to her suggestions, bookmarking a website she told me about, emailing her my new draft so she could look at it as we talked. Still . . . I felt the digital world enveloping me and sometimes I just want to get out of it.

And at the same time, do you know what most annoys me about my own single-tasking journey? I am waaaayyyyy behind on my television. Okay, it took a lot for me to admit that on my blog--I mean, that I'm annoyed over that. I didn't know it was so important to me. I never wanted it to be important to me! But I used to watch Chuck while I folded laundry, you know? And now I just fold laundry and then . . . there's no time for Chuck. The other night I missed Chuck so much I stayed up late to watch him and realized, only after watching Monday's episode, that we never watched last Monday's episode. I don't even know if new episodes of Desperate Housewives have returned. I'm lucky if I catch one of my favorite comedies in the Thursday night line-up. I know it doesn't matter. I know it's better that I started reading a novel and that I'm reading Anne of Green Gables to Camilla again. I think the television will fall to the wayside, as it should, but once in a while you just want to sit down and veg!

So . . . is this journey really worth it? I think it will be. I think somewhere between selfishly missing my television shows and "let it be" I will eventually find balance. I may start meditating and end up transcending the nonsense. I'll walk around in peaceful bliss wondering why all the rats are racing each other to an imaginary finish line. Hey, I can dream, right? Tonight, I'm going to read that prayer and mean it, looking expectantly to the dawn with new joys, new possibilities. And I will be still in the presence of God. How about you?

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post! So fitting at the moment. I'm working on letting it be today and gearing up for a better, more positive day tomorrow too, but really like the perspective you gave me.

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  2. Oh Alison, words cannot express to you how timely this word was for me. I have some heavy things weighing on my mind right now, things that are out of my control completely. They are however still weighing me down. I needed to read that prayer just now, God has used it to speak peace and rest to this weary heart. Thank you for sharing!

    ~And now in true Anne of Greene Gables form, I am going to imitate you. After all, it is in fact, the highest form of flattery. ;0)

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  3. Conrad, so glad the post was helpful. Thanks for reading and sharing!

    Mel, well then I left that tangent in for a reason. So sorry you're weighed down but humbled and thankful that God used the prayer to help bring you peace. I have not been on FB, so I don't know how Pete is doing. Better, I hope. You'll be on my mind today. And thank you for the sincerest form of flattery! xo

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  4. I just got on Facebook for the first time in awhile and saw your blog. So glad I did. I needed to read this today. That prayer you re-quoted is going going on my bedside table to read every evening before bed! I miss you, sweet, gifted friend.

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