The Hardest Gift to Give Yourself (and why you should do it anyway)

If only…
We could pull extra time out of our back pocket whenever we need it!
If only…
 We could happen upon a magical plant that blooms time for us to pick.
 If only…
 We could meet a magical time fairy who waves her wand and gives us however many more minutes/days/years we want. I know, the land of “if only” isn’t the healthiest place to live! The reality is, we only have the time we have. Not a minute more, not a minute less. So the best thing to do would be to figure out how to make the most of it.

The thing is, we rarely give ourselves the gift of time when we need it the most. Life can be busy, overwhelming, and difficult. Our survival instinct tells us to double down and hustle even harder during stressful times. I’m here today to present you with a different option:

Take all the time you need. Take the time to process, to rest, to recover, to taste/see/hear/smell/feel, and to love. “Ummm…. HOW???” you might be asking. “This world is not conducive to me taking it slow & easy!” I hear you. Before we can change the world, we’ve got to change ourselves though. It starts with you and your life. You can choose a different way. I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve to share with you this month on how to do this, like the “on/off” switch we talked about in last week’s e-mail. (If you’re not on our e-mail list, you can sign up here!)

Today, I want to talk about The Ladder Method. Imagine you are standing at the bottom of a 24-foot ladder, with a huge blank wall in front of you to paint. Society would tell you that you need to get to the top as quickly as possible, so you can move on to other ladders and other walls. Ok, let’s try that first:

You start painting hurriedly, in order to make it up the ladder as quickly as possible. It’s not the best paint job, but the wall is covered. You’re partway up when your boss calls to you, “Hey! Wait, I need you to finish _________ project!” You scramble back down and do the task. Time to try again. Rush, rush, rush, back to work. This time, it’s your kid that interrupts. “Mooommmmmmm!!! I need help!” Of course, you rush back down. Once your kiddo is squared away, you turn back to the ladder, quite breathless from all the scrambling. On your way up, your exhausted legs slip and you fall, landing hard on the ground. Now you’ve gotta work your way back up the ladder with a bruised tailbone. Not to mention cleaning up the paint that splattered when you fell. The busier you get, the more you feel you need to rush. The more you rush, the more work you create for yourself. What a vicious cycle!

Let’s try it another way:

You’re standing at the bottom of a 24 foot ladder with a huge blank wall to paint. You start on the ground, taking your time, painting slowly and neatly. After a little bit of focused work, you clean up your supplies then go tend to your family, your boss, your spouse, your dog, or whatever else requires your attention. The next day, when you come back to the ladder, you are happy with your previous day’s work and take a moment to admire how nice it looks. You even get excited to do the next layer. You step up onto the first rung, painting neatly and slowly. After a while, you clean up, and head off to do other things. By the end of 24 days, you have a beautifully painted wall you can be proud of. You’re not behind on work, and you’re not overwhelmed by all the other distractions of life. You’ve given yourself the gift of time - and also grace - to finish your project the right way.

Maybe, doing it the other way, you could have finished the wall in 5 days. However, ask yourself these three questions: 

A. How would I feel physically at the end of those 5 days?
B. Would I be happy with the quality of work I did? 
C.  What would have slipped under the rug that maybe shouldn’t have during that time?

In the grand scheme of life and the universe, 24 days isn’t really that long when you consider all of these things. You have permission to take life one rung at a time. Especially when things are overwhelming. We’re coming up soon to the holidays, a time that can really drain us if we’re not careful. Don’t forget to stop, breathe, and rest when you need to. Break your shopping up into several weeks instead of trying to do it all in one day. (Handmade jewelry is always a fabulous gift. 😉) Clean one thing in your house per day instead of waiting 6 weeks to clean the whole thing top to bottom.

Give yourself the wonderful gift of time. Do what needs to be done, but take the frantic-ness out of it. You’ve got this. You will be proud of your work and well-rested when it’s done.


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