Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gettin' in the Flow

Proverbs 4:25
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.
Valerie Burton calls it "flow", but I call it "focus". You've probably had one of those moments- the one where everything just falls into place and you are working on something, devoting your all, with no interruptions and nothing to sway you from your purpose.
I used to have those moments a lot, but not so much lately.
One of the things that my daughter hates to do the most is clean house with me. There I will be cleaning the living room when I make a stack of old magazines to throw away. I go to the trashcan and the trashcan is full, so of course I have to take the time to empty it. I can't have just a HALF bag of trash, so I empty ALL of the trashcans in the house. Then I have to take out the garbage. I sweep and vacuum the floors, but there are spots in the kitchen floor that really need mopping, so I dig out the mop. The spots won't come up, so I end up on my knees scrubbing away.
See a pattern?
I always thought that I was focused on one task- cleaning. After reading this week's chapter of Happy Women Live Better I now realize that I am allowing myself to be distracted from the task at hand. I may have set out with the purpose of just cleaning the living room, but I end up like the Energizer bunny, going....going.....going.....from one small thing to another, until either I don't see anything else that can be done or I simply collapse from exhaustion.
It isn't just cleaning that distracts me either. I have always been a "list person". Even if I don't take the time to actually write the list down or enter it into my cell phone notes, my mental list is still there. I really MUST get these 5 things completed today! Then I end up rushing from one thing to the next, trying desperately to check those things off my list.
The problem is that I am not taking the time to actually ENJOY anything that I am doing. I do it quickly; I do it concisely. Then I move to the next task. That list is always there looming in my mind, taunting me with the number of things that I have YET to finish.
So... what is the alternative?
Turn off that cell phone, unplug that television, and take the time to really devote your full attention to one task. FIND YOUR FLOW!
For me, the one time these days when I really "flow" is when I am doing some type of crafting. Just this past weekend I found myself, early on a Sunday morning in my silent craft room as the rest of the house slept. I needed a graduation card THAT DAY and I was determined to make it myself. A quick search on the internet and I found a card that I could use as a model. For the next hour or so I cut paper, folded it, cut more paper, trimmed, glued, and assembled until finally I had finished the card. I did not realize how long I had been working because I actually allowed myself to enjoy it!
The result?
THIS card.....
which my daughter says is her favorite card of all that I have ever created. (I secretly think it is probably one of my favorites too.)
I think that I need to do things like this more often. Crafting has always relieved my stress and now I know why- it makes me happier! I need to allow myself to truly put my eyes in one direction and not allow the stresses of today's to-do list or the dust around me to sway me from my purpose. I need to give myself a silent "ok" to focus on crafting something with my hands because the dust will still be there later.
What about you? What do you focus on that gives you happiness? What do find yourself lost in, savoring the moment and making you a happier YOU? I would love to hear your comments!

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