Monday, October 15, 2007

Enjoying the Day

This past weekend, I had a major victory in my quest for a more balanced life. For a person like me, who is very motivated by productivity and efficiency, goofing off does not come easily. I’m generally on task all the time. I like to learn things. I like to do things. I like to help people. I like to make a difference. Very rarely do I just do something because it’s fun. I’m working on that in my life, because I do want my life to be more relaxed and nurturing to my soul. All work and no play makes for a dull life. I try to remember that little teaching to give myself permission to indulge in what feeds my soul once in a while.

As I was out running errands and preparing for my upcoming trip to NYC I was struck by the beauty of the day. We had a really lousy summer in Seattle this year, weather wise. We didn’t get our usual allotment of sunshine. For us, that is a big deal because we don’t get a lot to begin with! We’ve all been a little sad as the fall has set in and we’ve settled in to colder, darker days filled with our customary rain. We weren't properly fortified with our sun allotment!

Our summer sun shortage made this day seem particularly spectacular! The sky was a beautiful, brilliant blue. The leaves on the trees were on fire with red, yellow and orange. The air was crisp and clean. I felt inspired and uplifted just to be out in this glory. I couldn’t resist the rare opportunity to let myself revel in the magnificence of this sunny day. I decided to take a drive along a lake. It is one of my favorite drives to take on a beautiful day. It would take me far out of my way, but I didn’t care. I felt like enjoying this glorious weather. Not only did I drive the length of the lake, but I decided to turn around and drive back the other way! I took even more time away from my ‘to do’ list, had the sun roof open and some good tunes playing. It was marvelous!

When I finally did get home, instead of heading in to pack for my trip (which was my number one priority for the day), I changed into gardening clothes, grabbed my pruning shears and went to work in my garden. I spent a wonderful hour and a half shaping various shrubs, cutting back spent perennials and eliminating dead wood from my plants. The air was sweet and refreshing. The dirt felt great on my hands when I would pull the occasional weed. I’m one of those gardeners who refuse to wear gloves. I love the feeling of dirt between my fingers! It must be my farming heritage.

I realize gardening counts as being productive, but it is very rare for me to just go do something because I feel like it, especially when other things are more pressing. I felt like I was skipping school while I was out there working in my garden!

As is usually the case, my hour long drive and my 1.5 hour gardening session did eat up a bit of my day, but a paradox soon manifested. I was so invigorated, refreshed and nourished by my goof off period, that the rest of my tasks went faster than anticipated and were much more enjoyable! It was a pleasure to do the things on my to-do list after taking time to do things felt so nourishing to do. I know I’m improving because I didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty about taking that time for myself.

I highly recommend looking for those things that make your heart sing and trying to build them into your days on a regular basis. Even a few minutes of ‘indulgence’ can make an incredible difference in our moods and in our motivation to tackle the rest of life’s responsibilities!

Go play!

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