The whiteboard calendar in our little office in a closet still shows all our September appointments. Somehow, October whooshed by in a blur and I don’t think I ever made the time to update the details of our lives on the calendar because we were much too busy trying to survive them.
I have this mental image of myself in October: walking – head down – into the gale force winds blowing against me. Just keep walking, I thought, until you get to November.
November’s here and I feel better already.
So what did I learn in October?
Most of what I learned relates to that month I missed up there on the whiteboard – and the reasons I missed it.
I learned if saying yes adds more stress, then it’s important to say no. For me and for everyone around me. I also learned if I agree to a project or make a commitment it’s important to follow through to the finish with a positive attitude. Attitude is both a perception maker and momentum breaker.
I learned complaining only subtracts – it never adds to my life or anyone else’s. Sometimes I can feel a complaint right there on the tip of my tongue. Right then and there it’s up to me to make a decision. Do I speak?
I love myself more when I remain silent. I do unto others with more kindness when I swallow the complaint instead of speak it.
Complaining makes me feel all kinds of ugly inside. An insidious little demon, complaining masquerades as a stress reliever, but it’s a lie. Don’t believe the lie. Keep quiet. Be still. Breathe in calm. Breathe out peace.
Time and stress are tied together and I cannot think about one without feeling the other. The more I have to do, the longer the list, the more stress I feel and the more likely you are to hear me say, “I don’t have time.”
Running has always been hard for me. When I run, I can’t quite catch my breath and I feel ever-so-slightly panicked but I keep running.
October had me running.
Somehow all those to-dos multiplied time in my mind until it grew out of control and unmanageable, towering like an angry Kong above me – every single thing I have to do taking on unrealistic proportions and threatening to take over my world.
All that laundry… like an insurmountable mountain … was really only a couple loads easily managed on a Saturday morning.
All that paperwork … hours and hours at the kitchen table … was only a couple cups of coffee worth on a Sunday morning.
Nothing is as hard, takes as long, or is as complicated as I make it out to be in my stress mind.
Finally I learned about the elixir of the outdoors. Every single detail feels more manageable outside in the sunshine. Fresh air fills my soul after a day inside chasing demons around. There’s beauty out there in the world. And in beauty, there’s hope.
Go find yours.