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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Getting Things Done vs. Spending Time Investing

Want to know what I hate? I truly hate waking up to a messy kitchen. To me, that is the worst way to wake up. How does that picture invite you to have a nice, calm start to your day? How does it say: Come and make a cup of coffee, sit and relax?

It doesn't. To me that kitchen says: Girl-you slacked off last night and didn't do what you were supposed to do. Get your butt in gear and start cleaning right now.

Man, I hate starting my day that way! Granted, it was a choice to not do it last night. I was tired and just wanted to take a bath. So I did. I took a long, hot bath and I snuggled with Boo Bear and I sat with my husband. I didn't tackle the kitchen.  I left it. I made different decisions, although I knew it would be there for me in the morning.

So why is it that we make decisions which we know are going to bite us in the butt later? I truly don't know. I'm sure there is some science behind it and someone has done a psychology thesis on it. I'm sure there is a lot of mumbo jumbo in there about risk analysis or something...but let's talk about making choices of Things vs. People for this article. Granted, these are just my opinions, and we all know the saying about opinions. Everyone has one..just like a....... belly button.

So, which do you value more? Getting Things Done or Spending Time With Loved Ones? There is no wrong answer -for you. Again, it is your opinion. Growing up, my Mom was more concerned about getting things done and spent more time cleaning and picking up than spending time with us. I have about 1 handful of memories with her. This isn't good or bad. It just is. I am not angry about it. I do not resent her. She and I are great friends now. She made those decisions based upon her wants and needs, with her history story behind it.

You see, we each approach our present moment with the scripts and movies of yesterday playing in our head, for better or for worse, it is what it is. We react to something in the present based off of an experience from our past. We plan for the future based upon experiences from our past. I mean, let's be honest here, who hasn't ever sat alone in their car preparing for a conversation with someone which we thought for sure was going to happen and we wanted to be prepared only to be shocked when it didn't happen like we planned?! We've all done it. If not, please do so later today so I don't feel like such an idiot. :)

Getting Things Done isn't bad. It has a sense of accomplishment. Dishes in the sink? Do them and they are done. Dirty clothes? Wash them and they are clean.  There is a beginning, middle and end. For now, let's pretend those two things do not actually constantly go in a  rotation as quickly as they do (at least in my house).

Spending Time With Loved Ones? Oh, that can be exhausting! It means not doing what has to be done and more piling up on top of whatever is still there! It means investing part of ourselves. It means being vulnerable. It means-risk.

Ah, risk. Something we all fear in our relationships. Risk of being hurt. Risk of being rejected. Risk of being told we aren't good enough. They are all pretty much the same thing.  When we don't spend time with one another, because we are hurt, we don't realize that we are allowing that monster to grow. The monster called: Fear and Insecurity. It is easier to hurt another than it is to risk hurt to ourselves, so we go about our days saying how we don't like so and so and how so and so does this and that...without ever stopping to examine whether or not we've invested in the relationship with so and so.

You see, without investing into the bank account of a relationship by Spending Time Together, the relationship can't weather the hard times. All relationships have hard times. We are human. We have good days. We have bad days. Sometimes, those days add up to weeks or months or years at at a time. If we have no deposits in our emotional bank account with those in our lives, when we have those bad times, our accounts become overdrawn and we become resentful, fearful, angry.  We decide we don't want to spend time making emotional deposits into THAT account because it hurts right now.

We don't often stop to think:

If I spent time with so and so and put those good deposits in, then we could withstand the bad.

Nope. We just keep moving forward, Getting Things Done rather than Spending Time Together because that is safe. That has a beginning, middle and end. It has a measurable result.

For just a moment, imagine a relationship in your life that needs some emotional deposits. In our world, it is Honey Bunny and Hubby. Oh man, for the past 4 years they have not been depositing goodness into one another's accounts, only approaching each other with distain and contempt. Only seeing the negative in one another and approaching all interactions from a stance of fear, rather than love. I'd finally had enough and asked them both to work on it, if not for themselves but for me. They both love me and this dynamic puts me in a bad spot. I have to chose my child over my husband or vise versa. Not healthy at all.

Want to know what they did? Rather defensive and brusk, they went off to play video games at Dave and Buster's last week. They went on a date. A Daddy/Daughter date. Want to know what happened? I didn't hear from either of them for 3 hours! No one was tattling on the other. No one was telling me what a jerk the other was. They shot things up. They ate. They...laughed! They made that emotional deposit into the other's emotional bank account. They Spent Time Together rather than getting things done.   They both came home so happy and joking with one another. Can you imagine if they do this weekly how big that emotional bank account is going to grow? How big that love and inner relationship will grow so when they do have butthead moments, the relationship will be able to weather that storm?  It gives me such hope.

It's why I chose to Spend Time Together rather than Get Things Done last night.

What are you going to release from getting done today to invest in a relationship that needs a deposit? Think about it. Let me know. I'd love to hear.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Letting go of the Expected...

It's another Monday morning just outside of Charlotte, NC. My prior neighbors in and around Boston and NYC are battling the elements of snow and ice.  I'm looking out on a land of mud, fog and naked tree branches. It's like late March/Early April in New England. The time when you can feel nature beginning to stir, yet it still looks all...blah and ugly.

As I sit here this morning, coffee just finished, kids still sleeping, husband off to work, dogs quietly resting, I am thinking how this scene reminds me so much of life. Usually, right before sometime amazing happens, life becomes rather: blah. You can feel the underlying tension. You can see the want for growth and change, but it has yet to happen. That's the moment when most people give up.That's the moment when people lose their dreams. That's the moment when the work just seems too much; to continue in the yuck and for what?Nothing is happening that you expected.

Perhaps, you've been in this place before. Perhaps you are there right now. Maybe you're struggling with a New Year's Resolution to change your eating habits and aren't seeing the change you expected. Perhaps a relationship with a loved one isn't going the way you expected. Perhaps your work isn't going the way you expected.

Do you notice something in the last three sentences and how they ended? The words "you expected." Ah. Take a moment and think about those two words.


According to the dictionary, expected means:
past tense: expected; past participle: expected
  1. regard (something) as likely to happen.
    "we expect the best"
    synonyms:anticipateawait, look for, hope for, look forward to; More
    • regard (someone) as likely to do or be something.
      "they were not expecting him to continue"
    • believe that (someone or something) will arrive soon.
      "Celia was expecting a visitor"

      Let's discuss this for a moment. First, why are you living your life in the past tense? To live your life in the past tense means you miss out on the here and now. You won't get to enjoy now until the future, but the slight of hand here is since you didn't enjoy it in the here and now, you are unable to enjoy it in the future.

      Why are you holding others to your expectations? Who made you the one to whom those expectations are to be held against? Are you in control of it all? Are you omnipotent? I'm not. Sometimes I wish I was and then I realize that the duty to do so would be beyond my comprehension. :)

      If you remove expectations from your life, you can remove much disappointment. What?! I know you're shaking your head at me going: Girl, are you CRAZY?! If I remove expectations, then how will anything get done well? How will I be able to hold someone to a level of quality if I don't expect it? Girl. You HAVE gone crazy!!! 

      No, I haven't gone crazy. Think about this for a moment. If you remove what's expected from your dynamic with a relationship, you will then enter into each moment with that person in the here and now. You won't be approaching them and looking at them with the lenses of the past, reacting to things that have happened in the past and projecting them into the present/future thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

      Can you imagine that? Imagine a world where you entered into the relationship with your spouse without bringing forth all the old baggage into the here and now. Imagine if you thought of their actions without negative intentions. 

      Imagine if you approached your relationship with your child in the here and now and not with fear of the future and fear about what decisions they may (or may not) make. 

      Imagine if you approached your boss/job with no prior pre-conceived notions about their negative responses but instead met them today with an open mind, open heart and lack of fear.

      You see, when you let go of the expected, you make room for the unexpected - which can lead you down the most amazing path. Now, I'm not saying don't expect an abuser to not abuse. In no way am I suggesting you enter into a relationship based upon abuse and expect them to do different. I've been there. I know that one. That won't happen. 

      I'm talking about relationships which are based upon the basis of a mutual care and respect for one another. Can you imagine how that would change your interactions? Can you begin to fathom how your world would change? Can you think about how that would feel? To live in a world, for yourself, where you approach the exterior world you live in from a place of interior peace, love and giving rather than fear, tension and self-protection?

      When you change how you view the world, you change your interactions with the world. 

      Today, my dear Reader, approach one relationship you have in the here and now. Approach a loved one consciously, not with the past in mind during an interaction, but in the here and now. Listen to what they are saying. I mean REALLY listen. Don't be thinking about how to react to it. Act with it. Be WITH that person. Approach them with love, compassion and an understanding that the past was at the past. Let it go. Do this over and over. Day after day. Over time, and probably a short amount of time, you will begin to see the relationship shift from one of distrust and fear to trust and love. 

      I'd love to hear from you after you've done this experiment.  If need be, do it with yourself. There is nothing wrong with taking yourself on as this experiment's project. Maybe that's who most needs your loss of fear and criticism. 

      Today, my dear reader, decide to become the rose buried beneath the snow and hold strong and firm to the belief that you are meant to bloom and be beautiful. We are all beautiful.