Enjoying the weight of too much

(or: My Attempt to Write a Post Under 1000 words)

I will try to be short because I am short on time. I’m sure you are too.

July 4th "Stream Construction Kit"There have been many jobs in my life where there are not enough minutes in the hours to complete what I need get done but rarely have I felt that when not working for someone else. I find myself now in that blissful state.

Yes, it is frustrating and overwhelming and fatiguing. It is also invigorating, motivating and satisfying.

I have entirely too much to do

How much better than the alternative is that? Instead of sitting around, listless and dull, we can have 20 projects to work passionately on. Ok, doing taxes maybe not so much on the gets-my-fires-stoked scale but they all can’t all be soul a’light experiences.

The project due date, the 46 open browser tabs, the writing deadline, the huddle, stack of books, chat, email, artistic project, self imposed deadline in an hour — make that 54 minutes– all of them vying for attention in the crowded stage of our minds.

The cacophony is grand.

Too many is better than not enough.

My niece has a book about the 5 little monkeys. There is the traditional jumping on the bed story which also I’ve tied into priority setting. This little monkeys compendium also includes a tale of the 5 monkeys complaining of boredom, so Mom gives them things to do: pickup their room, beat the rugs, clean the bathroom…

Having mass of too many self-selects the important. When we are bored we do busywork. Either it is assigned to us or we invent trifling tasks for ourselves to give the appearance of industry when we are bereft of creative drive or ideas.

Sometimes the break is needed and yes, those dishes do need to get done. Cleaning can be an accomplishment but it shouldn’t be the best we did in the day. The menial should come in between– not replace — the amazing.

And you, my dear reader, rightly know I am not critiquing intentional enjoyment time here. Space to relax and enjoy is a critical part of the creative process. Perhaps for you that does mean doing your taxes or the dishes, fine, if that is how you enjoy. We must, however, be ever mindful of intent.

Are we working on a project actively or out of avoidance or boredom?

stone-wallThe Pressure

I’ve felt this frantic pace recurrently rise up and I get stressed that I don’t have enough time to complete all I want. I don’t have the energy to do all the various, crazy, creative, enriching, attempting, learning, growing, changing, explorational, playful, business building and life enjoying items on my to do list.

In those moments I take a deep breath and I see how backwards that is. Boredom should be stressful. Wasting moments instead of chasing a fantastic pursuit — from reading novel to writing a manifesto to painting a masterpiece– should be so uncomfortable that it makes your heart race and your skin grow hot and you feel overwhelmed.

So I’ve flipped it. I’ve reversed the mindset to feel calm while facing the tide.

When I get tense and frustrated because there is so blippin much yet to do– so much I want to do — I take a deep breath and remember how much better than the alternative it is.

My back muscles ease (and like on a hard bike ride) I get a little jolt of calm energy to push forward with renewed vigor and a smile. I take on the next idea without the cloud of all the other ideas, projects, and wants weighing me down, but lifting me up.

Tea Mountain: PathI don’t have time to accomplish all that I want to do. How phenomenal is that?! It is an engaging challenge to do. To do whatever it is that I want to do and moves me forward in that moment.

We get to set our direction and our purpose when we are burdened with an overwhelming amount of inspiration.

The “to do” list is not the end but the beginning. We keep doing, learning, growing, accomplishing as much as we are able every day. We remember that life is a process– a path– and all the tasks are just milestones along the way.


May your heart be light and your hands intentionally busy this day,

Jo Signature

Struggling with too much? How do you make that work for you instead of against you? Think I’m off my rocker? Set me straight in the comments.

PS – And just like that I finished a project today that I had felt an inordinate amount of pressure to do. All because I let go.

PPS – 772 words. Yay!

Images via Flickr under CC license by amandabhslater kzappaster and @yakobusan Jakob Montrasio

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