littlecolourfulteacher

littlecolourfulteacher

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there is only now

July 10, 2019 , , , , , , , , ,

I am a sucker for completing everything on my list and then allowing myself to have the reward.

“When I’m done with writing reports, then I can give that person a call.”

“When I finish cleaning, then I can have a glass of wine.”

“When I get to that savings goal, then I can treat myself to a brunch!” (Which will probably be pancakes…!)

I am a big fan of delayed gratification. It is well-documented in the “Marshmallow Challenge”, which pits 4-year-olds against the temptation of having one marshmallow immediately, or wait 4 minutes and get two, that those who can delay gratification work smarter, longer, harder, and are much more effective regulators of themselves and their decisions as adults.

But when that reward becomes, “…then I will allow myself to unwind, decompress, get out of go-mode, and be myself”, we hit dangerous territory. If I only allowed myself to be playful and have fun when I ticked off everything on my list, I would never catch the snippets of joy. I would never be the girl cracking jokes, or leaning into the tender moments, seeing the wistful glance, or able to grab the unexpected opportunities, and I would never experience anything from a different point of view.

Being so rigid with my expectations of myself can produce great rewards, and discipline is a wonderful task-master for effective living.

But there MUST be moments of the unexpected, particularly when it comes to humanity, joy, play, and love.

Simply, there is no perfect time to be human. You have to do it right now. You need to catch those unexpected moments of connection, take the two minutes to run over and see someone in person rather than hiding behind your laptop, grab the coffee (and eat the cake!), choose to laugh at the joke and engage, rather than worry about meeting every deadline that is crowding you.

You have to look hard and practise catching and creating those moments of humanity. 

You can’t dress-rehearse love, or grief, or sickness, or death. They happen. Life unfolds, with all it’s intensity and colour, and if you don’t decide to be a part of those moments right now because they aren’t conveniently on your schedule, then you will miss out on so much.

By the way, I should mention that there is no perfect way to grieve, heal, or apologise. You take time, you pick your moment, and you go in, ALL IN. You can’t create the perfect reception for an apology if you have to give one. There is no guarantee that the other person will welcome a hard conversation, or if they will to listen to you at all. You do it because you choose to, it’s driven by your moral compass, and it’s in your integrity.

Same goes for love. There’s no containing the unexpected, playful whisper of love and connection. You can’t conveniently compartmentalise it until you’re done with your Official Day Self. You just are. Don’t be foolhardy and ignore all you responsibilities, your goals, your daily activities, but let life in to play when it invites you. It’s unexpected, delightful, stomach-flipping, and all that is real. And when the unexpected decides to tug at your heart, let it. 

Don’t let go of your lists. That’s being ambitious, motivated, and working with agency.

But dare to catch those unexpected invitations to play, in life, in living, in yourself.

Without those, you will never connect, fall in love, wonder, day-dream, or create.

Schedule is KING, but daring to wander, dream and play is LIVING. 

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