After spending an hour in the grocery store on Sunday, I came home and did what every grocery shopper does,
put the groceries away, put most of the groceries away, put some of the groceries near the cabinets where they go, set down the bags and ran for Netflix.
As it so happens, the very gracious person I live with came to me and asked what I was thinking about putting the groceries away. Various answers came to mind: “Hoping they will put themselves away?” “Pretending like someone else will do it.” “Imagining in my lala brain that I will any minute get to the task of reorganizing the cabinets so there is a place for everything so I can easily put everything in its place.”
The very gracious person I live with (VGPILW) listened to my baloney answers. Well, not baloney, but not effective ways to approach getting those groceries put away. All I can say is, the VGPILW’s questions lit a fire under my procrastinating sitting bones and I decided to somewhat angrily just “do the next thing I see.”
So guess what happened? I got hella done, including things like fixing a light switch plate that got broken several months ago. I have looked at the stupid switch plate piece and moved it from the window sill to the table back up from the floor to the table and I see it every time I go out the back door, all the while wondering how in the WORLD it got broken. In DO-IT-NOW mode, I saw the piece, walked 10 steps to get the glue, glued it, and it was done. No more picking it up. No more having that little annoyance when I go through that door. All done, all done.
The next day I was like a dynamo. Morning to night, I just did the next thing that presented itself. I decided not to worry about the fact that I might not be as PERFECTLY EFFICIENT as I would be if I went from room to room, etc. There are just so many little niggling things around here that need my attention, as well as a few very huge, very alive, very present people and animals that also need my attention.
Sometimes I think my blog could be called, “Musings of Captain Obvious,” because so often my learnings just seem so BASIC. Everyone knows that there’s no time like the present. Everyone knows how smart it is to Carpe the Diem. Everyone knows that cleaning as you go gets things done more regularly than a lick and a promise now and again.
I was listening to one of “The One You Feed” podcasts on Saturday (#74, Rich Roll and Julie Piatt) and the host, Eric, said something that totally made sense.
“I think when it comes to spiritual growth, and emotional growth, there’s a thought that we will hit a point, something will happen, we’ll have an experience, we’ll have an epiphany, we’ll have meditated long enough, whatever that thing is, where now it’s all easy sailing. And the analogy I made is a physical one, which is there’s no exercise you can do that then will make you in shape the rest of your life; there’s no food you can eat that you’ll get the nutritional benefits of the rest of your life. All this stuff, at least for me, and I’m realizing it more and more, is the consistent application of that effort, the consistent feeding of the right wolf. Not once in awhile, but going back to it over and over.”
That’s why my periodic efforts to organize my paperwork yield periodic results. That’s why my periodic attempts to exercise yield little to no results. That’s why letting things stack up and then unstacking them does nothing more than reduce that particular stack.
It’s the consistent application of the effort it takes to be organized, to be healthy, to eat right, to get rest, to do anything of value that yields the most consistent gains.
And the other thing is that consistency makes all the jobs that much smaller. I’m not starting with a mountain. I’m riding my bike through a land with undulating hills, and I keep moving because I’m not starting out every single time looking at that mountain of mess of whatever.
If there’s one thing I don’t want to do, it’s to do it now. So, I’m Carping the Diem by doing the next thing right now. Today when I got home from the grocery store, I took the time to remove all the grapes from their stems and wash and bag them instead of leaving the grapes on the kitchen counter
until I in case I got around to washing them. And I did all the other little detail-y things BEFORE I let myself sit down to write.
Of COURSE it is important to keep the most important thing the most important thing. Early observations here note that when I actually finish a job, it means I can’t start as many things and then have the state of unfinished everywhere I turn.
Lots of times when I am trying to take care of something, there are problems that arise. Trying to scan paperwork into my computer and the printer won’t scan and the scanner won’t scan. So, in the spirit of my resolution for the day, I did what it took to get the scanner working, which was quite a lot more than I wanted to have to do. But now it’s done, and it’s done right, and I can scan papers in anytime I want.
Tools that are being very helpful in this process:
- Having my computer and printer on my kitchen counter (this works in my house; ymmv).
- My iPhone and my computer.
- The wunderlist app.
- 1Password, controlled by Touch ID.
- Alexander Technique lessons.
- Podcasts, especially “The One You Feed.”
Habits and attempts at habits that are yielding fruit slowly:
- Active rest (Alexander Technique practice)
- Having things in my home that I know to be useful or I believe to be beautiful.
What tools are helpful to you in your process? What habits are you establishing that are yielding fruit?
And who left the groceries out at your house, anyway?