Tuesday, July 17, 2012
I was sitting in the shop one day, working on pricing and inventory, when I made a sudden realization. "I'm overwhelmed." The task at hand wasn't the culprit. But it was everything else.
I thought about what exactly was causing this anxiety. What was making me feel like something inside me was hanging by a thread, about to rip? What was it that made me feel so tired? From the outside, things looked beautifully happy; my brother had returned after being missing for 22 years, the store was picking up and doing better than ever, and I was making friends in the community and setting down roots. As I started to think harder on the topic, little things came up like the outstanding Netflix DVDs I had to put in the mail, unanswered emails, the blinking oil light in the car... and list grew and grew and grew. Suddenly, I couldn't keep track anymore. I kept revisiting things on my list. I got confused. I got frustrated and ultimately, I got mentally tired.
And that's when it dawned on me. Carrying a pebble alone is not a big feat, but trying to carry a hundred pebbles... now that's trickier.
So my first destination on this journey was to find a proverbial bag to collect my pebbles in.
The answer to where I might find "the bag" was sitting right in front of my face. We had just stocked an assortment of Moleskines. If you're not familiar with Moleskines, they're a brand of quality notebooks in various sizes that come in a multitude of colors and paper kinds. Like Pablo Picasso, Oscar Wilde, and Henri Matisse, I found them highly useful and wanted to offer them in the store. My own personal Moleskine had run out a few weeks prior and I had been in need of starting a new one.
I didn't realize just how much in need I had been. For the next hour, I started making lists of everything that I needed to do. Little or big, I included it. The list started to grow several pages long, but I kept adding to it until I felt satisfied that I had covered everything... or nearly everything that I could think of. No wonder why I felt tired all the time! I was mentally carrying around the weight of a boulder!
When I was in middle school, my parents purchased a property that would be the future site of their home. At first it was a tangle of overgrown brush. Little by little, my best friend, my family and I cleared the property and tamed the briars and invasive vines. Until we removed the mass of unfriendly vegetation, the crowning jewel of the property couldn't be seen... the lake. It was a lot of hard work, but when we finished our goal, we had a million dollar view!
Once the view of the lake had been cleared, one of our favorite pastimes became throwing pebbles (and occasionally broken pieces of concrete cinder block) into the lake and admiring our splashes. We actually got the idea from the jumping bass that would leap up into the air to catch bugs and flop back down. My best friend and I were convinced that the other had been guilty of making the initial splash without the other one somehow seeing it until the fish made a guest appearance by jumping over my head while I waded out to the scene of the crime.
Now that I had collected my pebbles... the task then became to toss them back to the universe. I would get a shiver of pleasure as I put a checkmark next to the outstanding item. The bigger the task, the bigger the splash.
The list is far from being completed and continues to grow. But as I work my way through it, I stumbled upon a profound sense of ease. Being more proactive in the decluttering of my life has helped take away the feeling of being burdened and has helped reopen channels of thoughts and feelings. I could appreciate the sunset more now that I wasn't constantly worrying as things piled up around me. Who knew that a little black book would help open the doorway to a bigger journey?