Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Cleaner’s Dozen

Sharon Wildwind

The thing about retirement isn’t just that I have more time, but that I’m spending that time at home. I’ve begun to noticed things.

Like the treadmill needs vacuuming. Since I’m vacuuming the treadmill, I might as well vacuum the carpet around it. Only I can’t because there’s a box of stuff there that I’ve been meaning to file for a long time. Are those Christmas cards peaking out of that box? Make that a really long time.

You can guess that noticing things led to a massive three-day, strip-to-the-walls and rearrange the office work bee.

Work wasp might be a better description. In addition to a hot, grubby body and the aches and pains resulting from schlepping filing cabinets from one side of the room to the other, there were some overdue things that I really, really should have done a long time ago.

On the positive side, I discovered a stack of inspiration cards, things I’d read or heard or figured out for myself that I considered important enough to write down.

Like a baker’s dozen, which is really thirteen, here’s my cleaner’s dozen of favorite cards. We could all use a little inspiration as we head into the dog days of summer.

Art lies in the moment of encounter. Difficulty does not equal virtue nor does art equal fooling around. It’s good play, not good work, that produces real art.

Boredom represents the need to do something, not buy something new. (Considering how many things I had to find a place to store, boy do I believe that right now.)

Emotional intelligence is the ability to know when to hold them and know when to fold them. (I must have been listening to The Gambler at the time.)

Perfectionism is a closed loop that gets stuck in details and cuts off vision of the whole. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

If I didn’t say it, do it, choose it, agree to it, commit to it, allow it to happen when I should have spoken or acted, or caused it to happen, I am not responsible for it. If I did, I am.

When it is time to challenge what other people want from me, use the two arrow technique from martial arts. Low ball the first arrow. Pause. Breathe. Balance. Send the second arrow. (Low ball: I need to tell you something that you likely don’t want to hear. The second arrow: I am not spending another Christmas at your sister’s.)

Shaking the trees seldom pays off in a linear fashion. I may shake an apple tree and get oranges. Likely the universe knew that what I needed was oranges.

Resources are like library books. I borrow them for a while. They are not mine to keep for ever. The really important thing is to use them while I have them.

Make yourself a sacred pledge: I will continue amid adversity.

Go slower, arrive sooner: patience is the ability to enjoy and immerse yourself in the process, the flow of life, as it assumes its own form and shape.

The time spent moving into and out of doing a physical activity are known as Qi and they are some of the most vulnerable moments that humans pass through. Rather than acknowledging that vulnerability and protecting ourselves, we often see them as moments of no consequence and hurry through them. This is exactly the opposite of how they should be treated.

Emotional trauma produces three stories: the victim’s story is all about them and nothing about me; the survivor’s story brings me back into the drama; the thriver’s story adds hope to the narrative. We have not finished telling our story until we have included all three parts.

Never underestimate the value of fun in becoming a healthy person. Cultivate a natural sense of joyful laughter in everything.


Kath said...

I really enjoyed these bits of wisdom.

Leslie Budewitz said...

Delightful, Sharon. I shall be quoting you.