Monday, August 09, 2010

On, In and Around Mondays: Getting Things Done

hemlocks

The blue and white book sits to my left, on a table with makeshift tablecloth (floral on white fabric several yards long). I am lazing on the porch, morning sun warming my legs. My ivory socks literally say, "I am calm," in purple block letters (that's another story about a catalog order mix-up).

It is true that my legs and feet are calm, set on a folding chair, facing light-tipped hemlocks. But my elbow, which is dangerously near the blue and white book is practically twitching with stress. When I am finished writing this, I plan to rescue my elbow and my neck (which is also tightening at the very thought of what lies between those blue and white covers).

This is a rebellion I cannot explain. But it is real.

To my left sits a best-selling book called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, and my upper body is all in a twist. Last night I glimpsed the contents— phrases like Getting Control, Five Phases, Setting Up, Reviewing, Next-Action. Like black plastic knobs (turn, turn, turn), they upped my stress level about five notches. I closed the book almost as soon as I opened it.

Blue and white are two of my favorite colors, but on this book they are battling with the purple-lettered declaration of my socks. There is only one course of action, which involves a return-to-the-library book pile. Now I put my pen down, get it done.


Hemlocks photo, by L.L. Barkat.

---

On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place.

Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below. If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)

Labels: ,

17 Comments:

Blogger deb said...

it's a Monday and I am online in a hotel near UMASS, but thought that this post might be a better fit :)

8:14 AM  
Blogger M.L. Gallagher said...

I like your garden!

8:54 AM  
Anonymous amanda said...

i'm guessing that the more we squirm and procrastinate is a sign that we really need whatever it is we're fighting. best of luck!

10:03 AM  
Anonymous kingfisher said...

This proved too long for one post, so you'll have to read them in reverse order, please.

I'm not sure I follow Amanda's comment == if we squirm we really need whatever it is we're fighting.
If we're fighting against God's truth for us, then yes, we need to confront it. But to fight to read a book which makes you squirm probably means it would be well to get rid of the book. To let go, and let God-----
.

Laura, do you have any idea what this post has done for me? Oh, my! I've been squirming under your last few posts because you are so productive and have many agendas. Julia Cameron says---
I'd like to write a book about writing.--- Wrestling with "can't be a REAL writer unless there have been 10,000 words---" Going to have a tea party every day for A YEAR.---




So many agendas, Laura. I've been exhausted ==just listening to your plans for your life -- which always in my poor weary mind suggests I ought, too, ought to be more disciplined or follow your kindly guidance. (Yes, I know that's my brain's translation, not necessarily your intent.)

3:21 PM  
Anonymous kingfisher said...

2.


Any book that dictates GET CONTROL of your life so you can have less stress and be more productive, would never make it to my book shelf. It would kill me. I'm perfectly able to generate my own stress, ashamed-ness, without being told I have to be in control and get control and do more and push my mind farther and-----



I need, ever, to have Christ work in me, not focus on MY AIMS, my INTENTIONS, my DETERMINATION TO SUCCEED! Circumstances lately have made me jittery and terribly afraid, but saying that's not acceptable in society or the Christian community. No, we are to have it altogether! Get on with life! Aggggr!

What of those who can't get on? There's no human way for us to remake ourselves. We are never more than one breath away, one step away, from extinction. Only God can carry us. And not we ourselves.


3:23 PM  
Anonymous kingfisher said...

God didn't call us to be "successful". He didn't even call us to be more productive. He called us to take his yoke and learn of him. To be trusting children instead of driven adults.



I interpreted your admission of squirming to be about your fears of inadequacy to measure up. The task of trying to measure up is a slave-master, not a God-gift. It means never being all right to just drift, to just be. Every minute has to "count for something"? Not! It's our character, not our doing-ness, that's being trained for spending eternity with Jesus.

Your announcement took off of me some of the pressure. Now I understand why reading your last few messages made me feel uptight, like I could never measure up to your expectations, let alone to God's.

This has been a terrible two weeks for me. Most of you don't struggle with wondering whether you're going to live or die -- literally. Don't ever take your body for granted. Or the ability to find peace of mind. These are gifts from God, not from ourselves.
I tried desperately to reach out to others for encouragement, but nobody was there. They were all so busy blogging or being successful or "building their version of community" or frantically trying to follow their own passion, that there was no room in their lives, hearts, or intents, for me with my fears and extreme weakness. Making things more lonely for me, but having no idea of that! Or having "matter of fact" minds which don't want to be fussed over too much, so they also don't know how to fuss over (I mean show caring, not fuming) others who need reassurance.

Let the book go, Laura. Let the "doings" go. God must carry us and continue to infuse us with himself. How can he do this if we're squirming about being more productive in our own selves? I have to admit I can't handle life, that it's all over unless he is my shepherd carrying me into his kingdom. I can't even take my next breath, or next step, unless he supplies it. So far, he always has. But not always by infusing me with more strength. But sometimes in the midst of my sheer despair, and I cant see that he was with me, until later.

I'm still looking for a human friend with whom I can be really me on a long range basis, and with whom they can be really them but still not either of us impress our own human agendas on each other. I don't know if I'll ever find one like that. I don't know if anybody besides me feels the need for that kind of reaching out. But how blessed I've been that Jesus is a friend. And that so many beautiful writings, or happenings, or people who had no idea they were even helpful to me, have come into my life just at the right time to allow me to survive, get sane again, and at least see or hope for light at the end of the tunnel.



"Oh wretched one that I am. Who shall save me (from myself)? Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift of Christ Jesus!"

3:26 PM  
Anonymous kingfisher said...

3.

God didn't call us to be "successful". He didn't even call us to be more productive. He called us to take his yoke and learn of him. To be trusting children instead of driven adults.



I interpreted your admission of squirming to be about your fears of inadequacy to measure up. The task of trying to measure up is a slave-master, not a God-gift. It means never being all right to just drift, to just be. Every minute has to "count for something"? Not! It's our character, not our doing-ness, that's being trained for spending eternity with Jesus.

Your announcement took off of me some of the pressure. Now I understand why reading your last few messages made me feel uptight, like I could never measure up to your expectations, let alone to God's.

This has been a terrible two weeks for me. Most of you don't struggle with wondering whether you're going to live or die -- literally. Don't ever take your body for granted. Or the ability to find peace of mind. These are gifts from God, not from ourselves.
I tried desperately to reach out to others for encouragement, but nobody was there. They were all so busy blogging or being successful or "building their version of community" or frantically trying to follow their own passion, that there was no room in their lives, hearts, or intents, for me with my fears and extreme weakness. Making things more lonely for me, but having no idea of that! Or having "matter of fact" minds which don't want to be fussed over too much, so they also don't know how to fuss over (I mean show caring, not fuming) others who need reassurance.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous kingfisher said...

I'm confused. The gizmo said it didn't accept the message because it was too long, but it seems to have posted it anyway. So then I broke it down into sections and it posted again. oh, well. I'll post this last part in case the "too long one" disappears.

Sorry.

4,

Let the book go, Laura. Let the "doings" go. God must carry us and continue to infuse us with himself. How can he do this if we're squirming about being more productive in our own selves? I have to admit I can't handle life, that it's all over unless he is my shepherd carrying me into his kingdom. I can't even take my next breath, or next step, unless he supplies it. So far, he always has. But not always by infusing me with more strength. But sometimes in the midst of my sheer despair, and I cant see that he was with me, until later.

I'm still looking for a human friend with whom I can be really me on a long range basis, and with whom they can be really them but still not either of us impress our own human agendas on each other. I don't know if I'll ever find one like that. I don't know if anybody besides me feels the need for that kind of reaching out. But how blessed I've been that Jesus is a friend. And that so many beautiful writings, or happenings, or people who had no idea they were even helpful to me, have come into my life just at the right time to allow me to survive, get sane again, and at least see or hope for light at the end of the tunnel.



"Oh wretched one that I am. Who shall save me (from myself)? Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift of Christ Jesus!"

3:32 PM  
Blogger A Simple Country Girl said...

I think my post fits here. It is where I have been, it is where I am, and where I am fixing to have a nice picnic.


On a slightly different note, I once bought a book like the one you speak of. But upon reading it when my muscles tightened and my head nearly fell off at the whirring directives, I tossed it into the burn barrel and lit it afire with the other paper refuge. Hope you find a balance that works for you! ;-)

Blessings.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Graceful said...

I have to say...maybe I am a sicko, but the title of that book appeals to me.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Being the polar opposite of a type A personality, I can fully understand all the twitching and stress. I'd go with socks!

9:50 PM  
Blogger emily wierenga said...

i love your sock mix-up. such detail thrills me.

10:36 PM  
Blogger deb said...

okay, i have tried to link up from a hotel computer, but no luck .

and I would not read that book.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Here I am at work wishing I was elsewhere...shall I write about my dream place?

fading sun with
reds and blues
makes ripple play
on seashore hues
the scent of those
i love nearby
a rush of waves
a seagull cry
sand is cool
on my bare feet
ah, my friend,
is not life sweet?

12:09 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Here's to a wish that I knew where to wish. I wish for more of God's beauty, more silence (along with some good classical music here and there). And more reading time.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

"I am calm."

I need socks like that...

But you give me your words and they are far better....

All's grace,
Ann

10:00 PM  
Blogger Kath said...

Hi L.L.
I've tried to link (late-ish I know) and not sure if it worked...
Kath

9:10 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home