I've mentioned The Happiness Project several times on this blog over the past couple of weeks and I bring it up again today because I found myself thinking about one of the approaches discussed in the book. Author Gretchen Rubin articulated twelve personal commandments for herself as she began her journey to mindfully appreciate the many gifts in her life in order to foster her own happiness and subsequently enhance the happiness of those around her. The commandment that came to the front of my mind today - as I tiredly considered all I hoped to accomplish - was to act the way I want to feel. I wanted to feel productive. I wanted to be amused - and not annoyed - by the considerable antics of Miss Intrepid and two of her preschool friends who were with me for about five hours. I wanted to enjoy the everyday beauty and wonder of today's tasks.
So I did just that. I focused - as much as was possible with little ones around - on accomplishing one thing at a time. The surprisingly few times that conflict arose between the girls, or when I received regular reports that some toy had been broken, or at the point I discovered that they had taken all of the books off of two bookshelves to make a swimming pool (I'm still trying to figure that one out) I was mindful about rolling with the situation and being playful in my response. I spent time in the kitchen not only cleaning up, but baking.
And you know what? By not focusing on the bigger picture of what needed to get done, and allowing myself to concentrate on one thing at a time, I made good progress on what I hoped to accomplish. By approaching any sign of conflict with girls with humor, I handled little bumps - hurt feelings here, a broken cup there, etc. - gracefully. And I found joy and peace in baking some fresh bread and my favorite black bottom recipe (of course, I've really enjoyed eating everything, too!).
Not a new lesson perhaps - to act the way I want to feel and to just "do it" when I can think of a hundred reasons not to - but today was a great reminder on both counts. It was a good day.
How about you? What do you do to stop yourself from spiraling down into a black hole of time wasting and other non-productive tendencies?
"A day will never be anymore than what you make of it. Practice being a "doer"!" ~ Josh S. Hinds