Yesterday morning, I was on the phone with a mentor of mine, talking about how busy I am, and how bone-weary I am as a result. Sure, busy with good things. That’s what I tell people at the “How was your weekend?” congenial Monday-morning chat. "It was busy, but busy with good things." So that, of course, makes it okay.
My mentor asked me why I thought I was so busy – and I know, and have known, the answer: TIME.
Damacles’ sword. The tale of the king(?) who had a sword suspended over his throne, he sat and ruled from under the constant threat of annihilation, never knowing if it ever would indeed fall.
How do you live from that place? Certainly, we all are living under that sword. Some of us are more aware of it than others.
Sometimes I hear people talk about things they’ll do when they’re old, or older. Things like travel, or tell their grandkids, or when they retire. All of these future plans, all under an assumption of life. All under a naïve assumption that life will be there when they get there.
Ignorance sure is bliss. Because when I listen to them say this, my heart steels and in my head I say, “Maybe.” By which I know I mean, loathe though I am to admit it to you, “Maybe, or you could be dead.”
So, TIME. I am so very busy, because I don’t believe there is enough time for me to be The Great And Powerful Molly that I want to be. This wasn’t a cancer-causation. I felt this way long before cancer, that I have missed the bus on things, or that I just know there are so many things I want to do, I lament how to do them all – while I’m alive.
Cancer just rubbed rock salt into the wound. Brought my attention to a pin-prick of the value of life. And cancer has made me a little sour on others' assumptions that it will be there.
Hence, my goal to prioritize. What is important now? What can’t wait? What feeds me the most, brings me the most joy, is a 5 on a joy-scale of 1 - 5?
That’s what my friends and I spoke about yesterday morning, after I got off the phone with my mentor. As I’d said, I wanted to get help with how to prioritize the bevy of interests I have. And, we did. We talked about a lot. I cried a little. I got to see how fear, rather than joy, is motivating many of my projects.
And they told me it was okay. I'm allowed to feel frightened and desperate if that's what I'm feeling. I'm allowed to feel sorrow over the uncertainty of it all. I'm allowed to feel a sour-green envy of those not aware of the sword, and I'm allowed to feel self-righteous over them, too. But, I'm allowed to not feel this way also.
They charged me with the task of focusing on one interest, if only for one week. We created a “time plan,” sort of like the kind of money spending plan I have each month. It’s a goal, it’s an allotment of values. Everything is a choice, even paying rent. If I’m willing to accept the consequences of not paying rent, sure I could not pay it. But I’m not!
Performance, acting, right now, came up as a higher priority than anything I’m currently involved in. Though painting was the only thing that earned a 5 (though, I imagine, mostly because I’m not engaged in it at all right now).
This value judgment will have consequences. It means the reduction and phasing out of other things I’m involved in. AND, it’s only a guide, this new time plan. That’s the important thing for me to remember. It can change. And if I have more time for rest and centering, there may be more ease to do other things.
When we plugged in “Acting Activities” (e.g. researching roles, practicing monologues, etc.) as the only creative activity this week, I could feel my hackles rise: “But what about painting??” My two friends encouraged me to just try this, just for one week, just to see how it feels.
If my goal is to “Focus, Prioritize, and Follow-through,” this is their suggestion. It’s just a trial. How does it feel to commit to one thing fully --- oh my G-D – COMMIT?????
Oh Lord, grant me strength to focus… to (gulp) commit. (shiver)
Because though the sword be there for all of us, for me, I have learned that racing to it all is wasting my time. I’m not getting better at any of my interests, because I’m not spending …committed… time on them.
It is an imperative in my life to use my time efficiently. And this is an avenue I’ve never tried before.