I’m a process and progress person. I like the doing as much as the finishing, sometimes more. Rows of even stitches, one foot in front of the other to cover mile after mile. Being in the middle, on the journey, is when you can see how far you’ve come and still have the sweetness of finishing to look forward to.
My daughter is almost 8. A fascinating age. When you can do so much, yet still can’t do everything you can imagine or want to do. She’s a perfectionist too – a terrible combination. A number of years ago I started to try to remind her when she got frustrated at something to remember the first time she tried it and how much easier it was now, even if it wasn’t as perfect as she wanted. At times I thought it went over her head. But she’ll surprise me now with a passing comment – “Remember when I couldn’t do a cartwheel Mom? It’s easy now.” And I think being able to see herself that way will serve her well.
I try to start each day – after the dogs are fed and the coffee is made, before the girl is up – writing a few pages in my journal and doing the day’s to-do list (thanks to the amazing Karen and the Chookoolonks Pathfinder course). This morning, as I wrote “Thursday, March 1” at the top of the page, I felt a little sinking in the pit of my stomach. How is it March 1? What happened to February, even with its marvelous extra day? What have I accomplished? Am I falling behind?
This is going to be a year of change and transformation for our little family pack – both my husband and I are figuring out what we really want our work to be so we are in a period of great reflection and creativity. And we are incredibly fortunate to be able to take our time for awhile. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there is a tension between my commitment to not rush and to not start shutting down possibilities because I start asking “how?” way too soon, and my deep and abiding desire for certainty and a plan. Just tell me where I’m going and I can get to work. But this time, I’m deciding where I want to go, not where I think I should go. Much easier to get stuck.
My man is a consultant and coach by trade so he’s been reminding me recently about the power of words. The way you can diminish the power of an action simply by self-protectively labeling it as silly or unimportant. And the way your brain will find a way to answer any question you ask it. Why can’t I ever finish a project? Your brain will give you all the reasons you can’t, and increase the probability that you won’t finish the next one.
So this morning as I found myself feeling a little panicky at the things I coulda-shoulda-woulda done in February, I remembered his advice. Seems to me that a yet-to-do list holds a lot more promise than a not-yet-done list.
The Pantone color for 2012 is called Tangerine Tango. I don’t know how they do it, but it certainly seems to be calling out to me. And I am not normally an orange person.
But here’s what’s on my needles now – and the lovely skein of Tangelo sock yarn from Scout’s Swag that just came in the mail today. Hmmm.