How to look at weeds..

flyttefotI weed.
Weeds of course, dandelions mostly.
Flowers even, forget-me-nots mainly.

I weed clutter too, things crowding  my life.
I weed my lists every day, by crossing out all the tasks done, by deleting and adding.

I weed my mind too. By making lists of the most mundane details, just so I do not have to remember them.

I keep weeding to make room for the life I want to live, the work I want to do, the love and the values I want to cherish, I may weed and weed, and then the day will be gone, I will go to bed with a clean desk and mind and wake to a new day that presents itself readily cluttered and I might start weeding again.

blå blomstOn that track a whole life could be spent getting ready to live. Even if every thing was in it’s place, there is everything else. Our bodies, careers, relationships, we could always find something that is weaker than it should be, worse than our friends, far from our wishes.Willing or not, most of us weed, we even encourage and admire each other for it. Until we see only weeds, habits to be changed and goals to be reached. Why have flowers at all, isn’t it much easier to weed without them?

There are of course weeds that we should not allow in our lifes. The secret of gardening though is to plant and nourish what will thrive in the given circumstances. The plants that will grow stronger than the weeds.

Or, could it be that my garden would flourish if I turned all the energy spent on weeding, to mulching, tending, digging, nourishing and being amazed and grateful for the beauty, colors, smells and wonders of all my flowers in the middle of the weeds?

Could it even be that my life would suit me more, if the energy spent on getting ready to do, finding time to go, decluttering to find space to be, organizing to make room to create, were turned into just living, reading, writing, creating?

We visited Sofia this spring, guess what, the flowerbeds, the lawns, the woods, were full of dandelions and forget-me-nots, making the perfect backdrop for myriads of tulips.

I might try that!

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Viking ways

IMG_5834 (1280x853)This is how I felt today, crowded. By things I should do, by things I would have loved to be doing, by things I have to do, by things I never will come around to do. In short, from where I stand the only calm person to be seen is the viking surveying his town, sword in hand. I have to admit, if a slashing, sword-swinging bout of action could clear my lists, I would do it. As you can see, I am not in a position to do that. I took the picture while wheeling my heavy laden bike through the market of my town Trondheim, the only way to get going was by carefully weaving my way, stopping, waiting, smiling, not hurrying. I had one item to buy at the market, my summer breakfast favorite, honey cake, and kept going.

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But wait, I had the best clutter-clearing, worry-killing, task-quitting weapon at my side. Invisible to you, I was walking with a dear, wise and kind friend, Anita. We were heading home after coffee in town. Slowly we worked and talked, shared and sorted through big and small. Halfway we stopped for another coffee with waffles, kept talking, kept laughing, and suddenly we were home. I was ready to tackle my crowd.

IMG_5842 (1280x853)Then I saw it, the crowd was not an illusion. I had tried to make lists like some of my friends do, I even had bought a sweet blue notebook for it. They just add everything as they think of it, and handle it when they get to it, one item at the time. It did not work for me at all, the tasks felt like a swarm of bees or a crowd of vendors crying for my attention.

IMG_5841 (1280x853)I had to sort, not only by talking and sharing. I still and forever is the indexy type. Admitting for the long lists, I found four bigger index cards, still honouring my thought that what I do should be the four cornerstones of my life. Still knowing  the fact that more than that is simply too much. I sorted my tasks, divided them on the cards and are on my way to conquer them. Grouped like that I see what I do as part of a bigger picture and an ongoing life, not as irritating tasks that keep me from living.

No viking way of getting it done, no way to conquer and subdue for ever. As in life, if its is worth doing, keep at it. If not, let it go! And by all means, have some waffles with a friend while deciding! By the way, I did not find my cake, so instead I’ll find my grandmothers recipe book and make one myself, even if it is not on any card.

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Listless is clueless

Mad Hatter Teaparty

Mad Hatter Teaparty

I was having some girl friends over, and some of us had quite a lot on our plates just then. You know that middle age means being in the middle of all ages did you not? There were parents, spouses, kids, grandchildren, obligations and careers, and we were in the middle of it all, comforting, helping, advising and supporting. We got to talking about how we tackled stress, and how we sorted our priorities. No one surprised the others by saying she made a list, because we all do that.

Too much to consider

Too much to consider

The interesting part is how we make different lists and how we make lists differently. One of my friends said the trick was to make a narrow list, just wide enough for a single item, that would convince her that one step at a time would guide her through her day, and it would. My mother used to go to the other extreme, the bigger sheet of paper the better. She would make columns for each hour of the day, allot tasks to each hour, and then force ahead, being sure that if nothing happened it would be possible to achieve it all.

Too much on you plate...

Too much on you plate…

Then of course, as most of the elements on her lists were living creatures who did not know that we were committed to paper, she was always behind her schedule. She found it comforting to know though that life was the messy part, not her planning. To me all sorts of lists are basic survival tools. My head is always filled to the brim with ideas, plans, projects, dreams and pictures. I can handle that, what makes me reach for my notepad is when worries are trying to take over.

Just one task at the time

Just one task at the time

If I think I really have too much to do, I use a list to tell me it is not true.To me list making is a way of making sure that the pieces of my life’s puzzle will fit together and make a beautiful picture in the end. I jot down every thought that comes to mind, not categorizing or sorting, just everything. Like emptying the puzzle box on a big table. The rationale is that if it is crowding my head it needs to get out so I can see what it is all about. Normally it takes only a couple of minutes to know that whats left in my head might stay where it is.

They do not really care about the fuzz

They do not really care about the fuzz

Then I start sorting. Normally the categories would be family and friends, work and church. These are the corners holding my picture together. Then of course there will be different projects to do and to remember. The surprise that always elevates me is that is normally boils down to the small details of the big picture. Thinking it over, having a look at the pieces that want to be in my picture I can confer with the picture on the box of the puzzle and say, sorry you do not belong, or I can turn it over and say, this piece goes with the border, so let’s just keep it out of the middle for a while.

Let's get to work

Let’s get to work

Doing this I also discover that life is just like the old jigsaw puzzles at our cabin. Someone has been lazy when sorting the pieces. Mostly you will discover that by emptying the box. As in life, I can easily  spot and remove the big, clumsy pieces that clearly not belong.

One big picture

One big picture

It get’s tricky though, sometimes you can make a piece from another box fit. Not quite, but almost. That is when I get stressed, that is when I sense something is wrong, when I try to fit something into my life because somebody has dumped it into my box. As I get older, I am learning. Doing what others should do is not taking responsibility, it is robbing someone else of the blessings to being allowed to  walk in the work prepared for them.

Different tasks

Different tasks

Of course, when nobody is shouldering the task, when there is a real emergency, that is something else. If not, I have learned it is wise to just wait it out, sorting through my pieces once more. Resting in the blessing that I will have time for what I am called to do, quietly putting the other pieces back where they belong.

First things first, as pigs see it

First things first, as pigs see it

The pictures are from the County Fair this weekend. Busy, teeming with life, everybody concentrating on their own tasks.

Teamwork

Teamwork