What is our most precious resource? Many would say it’s water, or clean air. One might argue that it’s our farmland. Some might say oil. My daughter would say it’s the sun. She is fascinated by science and found a You Tube video about what would happen if we lost our sun. She has told me all about it more than once. It’s scary stuff! There is no doubt that all of these natural resources are very important to our well-being.
If you are familiar with the Girl Scout Law, you know that one of the commitments we make in the Law is to use resources wisely. We teach our girls to care about this and take action by conserving water and paper, by not wasting food, and by practicing the guidelines of “Leave No Trace” when we spend time in the forest.
But there is one resource that’s been on my mind a lot lately. It’s time. No matter how hard we try, many of us find it very difficult to save time. We certainly can’t slow it down. It just keeps going like that Energizer Bunny. The older we get, the more important time becomes to us. As kids, we have no concept of it. Oh, those were the days! Now I find that it’s December, and another year is almost over, and I’m still wondering what happened to summer!?!?
I mull over the list of all the things I wish I had time to do. Remember my earlier blog post when I talked about the “have to do” and “want to do” lists? Now that it’s the holidays, those lists are longer than ever. I have a Christmas shopping list with 15 people on it. It’s important to me to wish everyone a Merry Christmas by giving them some sort of present. There are cards to write out and send. There are cookies to bake. There are craft projects to finish. There are charity events and volunteer activities to plan and attend. There are additional responsibilities at work. And all of that is on my “have to do” list!
What do I want to do, you ask? I want to go for a run on the trail. I don’t care how cold it is. I want to go to a yoga class — at least once a week. I want to begin a consistent home yoga practice. I want to set time aside each day for meditation. These things are on the “want to do” list. But I think they are things that I NEED to do, just like eating a healthy diet every day, or getting enough sleep. I am not taking care of myself if I am not creating time in each day for rest, play, calm, and stillness.
Two of Brene’ Brown’s Guideposts are: Cultivating Play and Rest and Cultivating Calm and Stillness. Reading her arguments for the importance of these elements in our lives validated what I knew in my heart. But seeing them on the page also made me feel better about raising them up to the top my personal priority list. If the things we “want to do” are stressing us out, maybe it’s time for an adjustment. It’s OK to question whether or not the things on your list are actually adding joy and meaning to your life or simply overwhelming you. Her advice? Take something off the list; add “take a nap” instead!
Brown explains that some of us respond to anxiety by “over- functioning.” Hello! That’s my middle name! These people will advise, rescue, take over, micromanage, and get into everything rather than look inward. She points out that, “If we stop long enough to create a quiet emotional clearing, the truth of our lives will invariably catch up with us.”
I’m beyond this already. I have the truth of my life nagging at me internally almost every minute of the day. And I must heed to it soon. I need time in each day to listen to that inner voice and nourish my soul. The over-functioner in me needs to step aside.
So I am making “Time” my most important resource. That’s my New Year’s resolution. To use my time more wisely. To make an effort to create space in my daily life for the things that will nourish my soul and to remove from the lists some things that just stress me out. I am going to take some of that over-functioner’ s spirit and direct it at ways to cut down on the items on my lists.
But first, I’m going to take a nap. Please, wish me luck!