Space and Surprise

20140312-210403.jpg

Sweet Jasmine is blooming in my yard.

I’m trying to not be busy.

I’m trying to not fill my schedule.

I’m trying to keep my house decluttered by picking up every little thing and washing every little dish and keeping up with every little piece of paper.

And I LOVE the simplicity of it all. Even though this still means work. Do it now or do it later, eventually it has to get done and I’m liking the results.

I love how things are flowing and I feel the stress melting. I want to keep creating space because it feels good and I’m doing the things I love and want to do.

For example, I played tennis this morning with friends and then stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up stuff to make a simple dinner. As I was loading up my trunk, I heard someone calling my name and there was Jeni, with a big cheerful smile. We haven’t seen each other in months. She asked me to come join her for a quick lunch and I said YES!!

It was liberating to not feel tied to a schedule and it felt great to be able to say a spontaneous YES because I’m not (too) busy. Luckily I hadn’t bought ice cream, but the other frozen things could wait in the car and not defrost as we caught up again.

We sat and chatted and ate a quick, healthy, early lunch and then we were both on our way again. That was really cool and made my day.

By creating space and not feeling rushed, the joy is coming in.  I had time to put the groceries away, take a shower, pick up, check email and ride my Bakfiets in the sunshine to pick up Charlie from school on his early out day and even to watch him play soccer for awhile while I chatted with friends.

We rode home and had a snack, did some homework and cooked dinner together and I even cleaned all the pots and pans and put them away right away before the next events.  My mom was and is always very efficient and has this great capacity to get things done. I think her secret is more doing and less thinking and procrastinating, like I typically do.  She doesn’t get distracted and she doesn’t make excuses in her mind, like I do. I like her and was channeling her energy today. I even chose to fold laundry and put it away when I had an extra 15 minutes, surprising myself. I typically prefer to wait and let my piles grow, while I check Facebook or email. But now my space is clean and organized and I’m surprised how easy it was, at least for today.  Space and surprises. Hmmm… hope you had a good day and created some space too.  What would you do if you had more free time?  Just curious…

Not Busy

When you’re not busy, the days are long and there is time to do everything and nothing.

Today I was not busy. It’s very challenging for me to not have anything to do. Believe me, I really will never have nothing to do, but I didn’t have anything I had to do. No pressure. No deadline. No one needing me. And I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. Not having a plan gives me anxiety.  How about for you?  

Football was on all day today, so the boys were occupied. I’m still fighting a cold, so going to the beach or shopping or getting out of the house wasn’t all that desirable to me.  I decided to stay home and to just be home. I have a perpetual to do list, but I didn’t really feel like following a list. My problem in staying home is I tend to cook and clean. Not that that is a problem, but I don’t usually sit still and read or pick one or two projects to work on. 

I need to practice being still, and being ok just staying home with “nothing” to do and enjoy the process of letting things unfold naturally. Life is a continuous practice, of this or that, isn’t it?

We went to church this morning and spent an hour afterwards working together in honor of Martin Luther King Day tomorrow and being of service. We came home and I cooked pork carnitas in the crock pot, prepared lunch and appetizers for the family, worked on uploading and organizing 2000+ photos, and watched football with my boys, and snuck away to watch some of the Australian Open.  After the games were over, we all went for a walk together around the block to get a little exercise and fresh air. The day wasn’t fancy or all that exciting, but it just was. It’s probably what Sundays should look like. A day of rest. I’m working on being ok with being not busy (aka “bored”) and fighting the anxiety that makes me feel like I should be doing more. It’s ok to not be busy, and I’m going to keep on practicing, just being.  Wish me luck.

How was your day?  Can you sit still and do “nothing”?

20140119-212155.jpg

Not Busy and the SLO Life

20131022-220844.jpg

I’m living the SLO Life… that’s my new motto… to slow down and not be so busy.

I used to live in SLO town – San Luis Obispo, California and it truly felt like that. There weren’t any drive through restaurants. They wanted people to not be in such a hurry. Stores closed early and it was a sleepy college town. On Thursdays, the downtown turned into a Farmers Market and the students and families and townspeople would gather and stroll and visit and socialize. It was so much fun. There was a sense of calm to the city that I love and miss.

But I’m bringing the feeling back to Sunnyvale. I’m living the SLO life and slowing down, if that’s even possible. I just don’t want to be busy just to be busy. I don’t want to be bored and I also don’t want to be running around from task to task, responsibility to responsibility, from practice to practice, from meeting to meeting. It’s kinda like the feeling you get with clutter, where you need to free some open space because every nook and cranny is stuffed… that’s how I feel with life. I need some more open minutes to breathe and rest and to have more meaningful time without the rush.

I’m still busy and don’t think I can ever sit really still, but I’m slowing down my way, by not trying to do 101 things at once. For example, today I went to yoga and then to the Asian market to gather special ingredients to cook some new Thai dishes that I’ve never made before. I wanted to learn something new and make Rad Na, a dish that my kids love. I wanted to spoil them and make a family meal.
20131022-220233.jpg

This brings me joy. That was it. That was all I really had to do today. I cooked a couple new dishes and cleaned up all the mess. I had a list that had several other items on it, but nothing else was really a priority.

By having open space on my calendar and by being home, I had time to talk with my mom on the phone for an hour. I wasn’t busy. I could cook and wash dishes and chat. It was an unexpected gift.

This afternoon when I picked the kids up from school, the house was orderly and I had time to sit and listen about their day. I was able to help Charlie focus on his homework and sit next to him and read. When he was tired and feeling sick and not wanting to go to soccer practice, I let him be. And we sat longer on the couch and read and snuggled. Because he said I liked doing that. I wasn’t busy. I wasn’t rushed. I wasn’t pushing him. And the space created peace and rest.

Juliana and I had time to work together on a project because dinner was already prepared and no one else needed anything. I didn’t have to say no, I’m busy. I got to proactively say yes. I got to be present and helpful and had unexpected time shared with my daughter.

I chose to skip my meeting tonight because there were too many conflicts. It was hard to say no and to cancel, but it was what was best for my family tonight. And because there was no conflict, we all got to sit down to a candle lit dinner and enjoy hearing about Juliana’s trip, Christian’s cross country meet, and Charlie’s math songs. Tonight there was time to focus on the important things in life. We did it. We created it and made it our own. Living the SLO life… today until tomorrow?!?

Namaste.