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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Synchronized Center

I asked myself a question the other day:
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you wake up in the morning?

My initial answer was, "The day of the week, appointments to be kept, any errands to run. And housework. Always the housework."

Of course, when the day of the week springs to mind, I usually know right away the rest of the information I need without looking it up on a scheduler. That's the benefit of routine.

But is that what I really want to be thinking about when I wake up in the morning? Almost sounds heavy handed, nothing to get me excited enough to climb out of the cozy, soft covers of my bed. (Of course it always helps when my cat Sophie meows me awake in the morning, looking for a scratch behind the ears that initiates a purr fest.)

After some discussion with hubby, I realized what I lacked. I had the Wrong Focus.

Of course, keeping the house in order, taking care of errands, and being prompt for appointments are well and good. I will continue to be diligent with such matters.

But with all of these things it can feel as if there's is always Something. There doesn't seem to be a place to rest the mind when there's something else on the agenda that could or should be done.

Thus, a underlying sense of inappropriate guilt pervades the mind, like a nasty, creepy goo that stifles and chokes any possibility of joy or passion.

Something is seriously wrong with this picture. I have sensed this for quite some time but had not come up with a sensible solution, something that would really Work. And not just for me, but also for my family.

What resulted from this discussion for me was truly profound.

What I focus on each day becomes my center. If I am always centered on keeping my house in order, I will eventually burn out, fall behind, and thus, feel lousy about my perceived inadequacy with taking care of things like I should.

I didn't appreciate that picture, and neither did hubby.

So we decided to make some changes. Good Changes. Appropriate Changes. Synchronizing Changes.

Instead of focusing on things that are always ongoing Monday through Friday, I would instead focus on my responsibilities for our business, Bill's Quality Electric, LLC as well as my writing business, JournalWriter Freelance.

Of course, I have always given attention to these very important dimensions and responsibilities in my life, but I always felt my house duties eclipsed this focus, since there was always something that needed doing.

But now, I have determined, when I wake up in the morning, I think of what day it is, and I am excited, passionate, and peaceful about accomplishing the tasks of our electrical contracting business as well as my freelance writing business rather than feeling distracted, with my mind going in a million directions. I now have a focus and purpose to my day that I feel in sync with. And of course, giving my all to this dimension in our lives makes everything easier, for me and for Bill.

So that's a win-win.

Now you may be wondering, what about the housework? Ah, I was coming to that. ;) We certainly wouldn't just leave that undone there, now, would we?

We decided to make house cleaning a family affair: On Saturday mornings after a relaxing wake up/breakfast time, we would all chip in and work to get the house cleaned and organized for the week.

Now, in previous times, I might have balked at this idea since I had an inborn aversion to doing housework on Saturdays in connection with the residual boredom with which I associated such duties from my childhood days.

But now it feels different. It is appropriate. I appreciate taking a day on the weekend to focus on the home and put all of my energy into those tasks. (Of course, the smaller stuff like laundry and dishes I still do during the week days, tasks that don't overwhelm.) And whatever I accomplish for that day will be satisfying to me, since I'm not alone in this newfound approach.

I don't feel split in a myriad of directions which makes for a more calm, centered foundation to living and taking care of responsibilities.

Each day I know precisely where I'm going and what I'm doing, and I can put all of my energetic enthusiasm toward my place in the home and in the business world as well. And if something comes up I didn't plan on, I know it's OK, since the unplanned events don't need to be seen as an interruption but part of the bigger plan for the day or the week.

And of course, when I'm going about the tasks I've taken on the responsibility to do, I have the support and blessing of the Creator of the Universe to help me every step of the way.
My tasks then take on a multi-dimensional meaning. I'm not just cleaning the house; I'm caring for all that I have been blessed with and being a blessing to my family in the process with what I contribute.

It's a win-win for everyone.

Now that's something to be Thankful For!

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

4 comments:

ficwriter said...

I laughed when I read your post because I was recently out of town for a writers conference and every morning I woke up not knowing where I was. Where did that ceiling fan come from? What room am I in? (When hubby snores too loud I often move to another room in my house). But nothing looked familiar, and it took me a long to realize that I was in Oxford, Mississippi, and not at home.

I often wake up in a dreamy state, caught between two worlds. But I'll try to pay better attention to my thoughts first thing in the morning. For now, I'll just focus on the fact that I am so grateful to have you for a friend. Because you always give me new things to ponder. Happy Thanksgiving.

Dawn Herring said...

Darrelyn,
It's so funny what you can take away from a blog post! That's what makes the comment section so interesting. I know what you mean about feeling out of sorts when traveling. Especially when you forget where the bathroom is! (I always have to orient myself to remember.)
Thanks for being such a sweet encouragement to me, Darrelyn. Your comments always put a smile on my face. :)
Be refreshed,
Dawn

K.M. Weiland said...

Considering that my first thought on waking is usually a plea for five more minutes of sleep, this was a good post for me to read today. I totally agree that our focus becomes our reality. Starting our day out with the right focus can make all the difference.

Dawn Herring said...

K.M.,
Starting the day with the right focus can make all the difference. So glad the post was timely for you! Yes, I know what you mean about the few more minutes to stay under those comfy covers, especially with it getting colder outside! Thanks for the comment.:)
Be refreshed,
Dawn

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Three Steps Toward Accountability...to Yourself (as published in SFC Newsletter, Dec 08 edition)

Accountability: to give a reckoning or explanation for one’s actions, responsible.

When most people think of accountability, they often negatively associate it with answering to others, such as a spouse, a friend, a mentor, or, in most cases, a boss. As a writer, you are your own boss, which is one of the reasons that you need to be accountable to yourself. And it can be a positive experience rather than a negative one.

The first step in being accountable to yourself as a writer is setting goals for your writing and keeping track of projects you want to finish. Incurring a deadline for yourself can help
motivate you in this area. This step can also include daily writing goals. Some authors plan how many words or pages per day they will write.
I’ve set goals for myself as a writer by making them reachable and attainable. This year I have set a goal to write at least one scene for my novel per week and at least one other piece,
whether it be memoir or essay, per week. That can mean just making notes, writing a first draft, or revising a draft.
As long as your goals keep you moving forward and you’re making progress, then you know you’re headed in the right direction.

Once you have your goals set, the next step in accountability to yourself is writing down what you accomplish each day. You can use a daily calendar just for writing or keep track of your
daily accomplishments on your computer. I designed a custom monthly writing calendar. It helps me track what I write daily, whether or not I’ve met my goal for the week, and it has
space for ideas for future writing pieces. I also have a spot to keep track of books I’m reading for that month. I use abbreviations to keep the daily writing easier and to save space. As I review each completed month, I can go back to see what I’ve accomplished and keep track of when I wrote each piece.
Whether you use something pre-made or customize something for yourself, use whatever works for you and helps you stay accountable to yourself.

A third, and perhaps most important, aspect in accountability in your writing is taking care of yourself as a writer. Than can mean giving yourself space and not being hard on yourself if
you don’t reach your goals each day or each week.
Flexibility and refreshment are paramount to your health as a writer. It also frees up your creativity and can actually help you produce more quality writing in the long run.
I enjoy writing in my journal, reading fiction or memoir, and watching a good movie with my family. Taking a walk, listening to music, talking with your family members, and just taking time to sit and enjoy life are all ways you can be good to
yourself—and ultimately accountable—as a writer.

Learn to celebrate your accomplishments and your uniqueness as a writer. That’s one of the best ways to be accountable—to yourself!