Sustainable Choices...and Schedules

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It’s been quite a while since I have written here. For me, writing is thinking, and I often feel that if I am not writing I am not processing my thoughts and my life on as deep a level. Writing is like pulling on a piece of yarn that’s sticking out of a tangled mess-- I start to see where things are caught up, I pause to figure out the situation, and little by little, some clarity appears. Without the writing, it can feel like I am just pushing the ball of yarn around, moving around it. So while it is certainly ok that I haven’t written lately, I’d prefer to have a more regular writing practice. So here I am. My schedule has been so packed lately, and I have been doing well just to keep stretching and meditating a few minutes a day. When I quit my big full-time job, it meant taking on multiple smaller jobs, and this was new for me-- each day is different, and lately most days are just a bit too full. Teaching, taking an online class, pet-sitting, coordination/administration… all separate pieces.

I have to say first of all that I am grateful, because I am. When I sit back and think of it, I am so grateful to myself for quitting my job when I understood that it was not the right fit for me. It was a scary decision, but I did it! And then I am so grateful for all of the other things that have popped up for me to do, the opportunities that people gave me-- it is a blessing to be busy, especially when I was afraid that I would just be happy and very poor. :)

I’m grateful for change and the opportunity to experiment with my habits and my work. As the summer ends, my situation is changing. Some jobs are ending; some new jobs and trainings are beginning. I have the opportunity to set up my schedule for the next few months in a way that will work better for me. I’ve learned a couple of things from the last few months:

Don’t say yes to everything out of fear that I will not have enough. If I say yes to every work opportunity because I’m scared of not having enough money, I risk not having enough time and peace of mind to function sustainably. I need to carefully consider each option against my goals and needs, and trust my gut when it’s time to say no.

IMG_3251Carve out care-giving time for myself. For me, this means taking care of my mind by meditating and writing, and taking care of my body by doing yoga and being active outside. Those are the basics, and there is not really an exception to this like, “except when I’m really busy.” When I’m really busy, it is even more important to take care of myself. I’ve often heard the quote, “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday-- unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” While I haven’t managed to sit for an hour lately, I am definitely learning that when I am busy with work it is tempting to let everything else fall by the wayside, yet that’s actually the worst thing for me.

Know myself. It is often small things that make a difference, and knowing more about my preferences helps me to be happier. I can do the exact same activities, but if they are sequenced poorly for my work-style and personality, it can make things feel unmanageable. For example, do I want to get up and out of the house early every day or should some days start a little more slowly? Do I need to pack some days very full in order to have one weekday at home? If I have one day at home, what do I want to do with it, and will I really do that?

With all this in mind, I am crafting my schedule carefully. There are engagements that are set and unchangeable, and other elements that I can schedule carefully to make this work for me. I am scheduling in specific time for writing, time for studying and working on my online class. I am scheduling large blocks of work time for myself, and I now know that I need to have specific tasks on my agenda so that I will actually use those blocks of time.

I know that not everyone is a freelancer or a part-timer, or whatever I am right now-- someone who has a bunch of small jobs and tasks that they can experiment with. But I’m pretty sure that we all have at least tiny choices that we can make in order to make things feel a little better, a little healthier and more sustainable, even more joyful! What are those things for you?

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