These days I have more than plenty to do, even more than plenty that I would enjoy doing. (Housework is just not making the list. 🙂 )
What I’m learning is to start by not doing. Most mornings I meditate – often by simply sitting and breathing, letting thoughts float away. On “me” days when I can orchestrate the whole day for myself, I set aside the morning for spiritual and creative time. It is a sacred space where I connect to myself and the All around me through reading, meditation, drawing, sewing, knitting, or other creative play.
I do these things even when – actually especially when – the tasks ahead of me will more than fill a whole day and when they are enticing me to make an exception (just for this one day…). What I have found is that “the more centered as I go, the more aheader I get”. It’s not intuitively obvious, but it works!
It took me a long time to try changing my daily flow to include not doing. When in my 20’s I had a friend who had taken a college course on meditation and was seeing a big difference in her day when she got up early to mediate. Getting up early seemed too big a price to me. Later, I heard this quote by John Wesley (Christian theologian, 1703-1791). “I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.” My mind could not understand how that would work and anyway, he wasn’t taking care of the kids.
A few weeks ago I heard a talk by Christine Valters Paintner, author of The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom. She mentioned how approaching her large number of tasks with the ways of a monk, such as simplicity, reverence, and prayer, was more productive for her than the culturally valued multitasking approach. By this time I had been meditating for a few months and understood, by experience, what she was saying.
When the time is right for you – try it you’ll like it!
ps. Sharing an oil pastel picture that I did during a morning creative play time.