Up with the rocket and down with the stick, as the saying goes. Well and truly up for Phase Four, and down, down, down for Phase Five. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a disaster – the house did not catch fire, nor did the kettle break – but it was definitely a wash-out.
I did get some things done, but in an absent-minded “oh yes, I’d better do this” kind of way. Anything which might have called for some enthusiasm to be worked up I just… didn’t do.
It’s a wonderful feeling to know that no part of your life is about to burst into unmanageable flames. But keeping it that way, it turns out, is rather tiring.
Last week went something like this.
Day 1: did something in each of seven areas and had energy for more!
Day 2: did something in each of seven areas.
Day 3: did two errands, two loads of laundry and nothing else.
Day 4: did something in each of seven areas, trying not to overdo it.
Day 5: did something in about five areas, but very slowly
Day 6: (people day) full of people, busy pretty much all day.
Day 7: (rest day) rested – and boy was I ready for it!
So on the one hand, I’d call the Seven Areas (Seven Spinning Plates?) Method a roaring success; on the other hand I’m either going to need to scale it back a bit or build up some more stamina. Or maybe only do 15 minutes in any one area.
This week, I’m trying another of my own inventions, which I call Inculcating the Right Frame of Mind. (Really needs a catchier name. Suggestions?) It came about as a reaction to my usual habit of bullying myself into doing whatever needs to be done (or more often, not doing it at all, because I don’t respond well to intimidation).
In Dorothea Brande’s excellent little book Becoming A Writer, she writes that, “in changing habits, you will find yourself getting your results far more quickly and with less ‘backwash’ if you engage your imagination in the process instead of calling out the biggest gun of your character equipment [the will] first.”
I’ve written about this before, or something like it. But there are more possibilities than, say, looking at a houseful of chaos and asking oneself What Would Jeeves Do? A picture of a garden might inspire one to go out and hoe into the weeds; a book or fantasy movie might inspire one to change how one lives in one’s home; reading about one’s personal heroes – whether individuals, groups or societies – might inspire one to have another stab at emulating them. For some people, music might be the thing that inspires them.
So this week, instead of browbeating and bullying myself into doing what is needful, I’m going to set about cultivating enthusiasm for the task that lies ahead.
What inspires you to joyfully go about the tasks before you?
I think it was the hats that finally clued me in.
I own thirteen hats, and as I walked to the yarn shop to obtain materials for the fourteenth hat, I brooded. More than that, I mused, I prayed, I meditated. On such subjects as simplicity, the significance of hats, and the wisdom or unwisdom of buying yarn for another hat.
And this is what I realized: the reason I have so many hats – the reason why I have trouble getting rid of any of these hats – is that they represent the people I could be.