Making the Space for Change

"Did you get the July notes?" "No, I don't remember getting them." "I sent them on July first." "Hmm. I'll double check when I get home." This, more or less, was the conversation Stacey and I had tonight after she looked at the On Tap website for July, a website I designed and regularly update at least monthly when she sends out the new newsletter. I have loved doing this for her. It's fun and creative and is for someone I deeply believe in. Most of the time, I've been pretty good at posting the notes very quickly after she sends them, some months, within the hour. But, for the last couple of months, it hasn't happened that quickly. Not quickly at all. One month, it was weeks before I finally updated the page. Even in my book, especially in my book, that is not cool.

Keeping the website up is normally one of my priorities, something that gets done right away, and the fact that it hasn't been is quite telling. My own website was months behind until I got it updated. And as you all know, blogging slacked off big time. Three things that are important to me, not to mention time with my journal, writing poetry, and creating quilts, all in the garbage can of the not-to-do-cause-I'm-too-busy pile. This stops now.

It came to a head just a week or two ago when I was meeting with my spiritual director and I couldn't settle into that place where I can really talk about what I'm experiencing and learning with God. It was a lot about just how busy I've been and she made the comment she didn't think I wanted to change. Wow. Those words stayed with me and I had to ask myself quite sincerely, do I want to change? Then, not too long after, a small accident happened to an object and I was near tears. I realized then and there I could not continue living my life the way I have been. At the edge, no real rest, no real space. I had to stop. So I cleared a couple of days in my schedule between house sitting jobs and headed to a friend's cabin in the woods at the roots of Mount Hood. No electricity, no running water. Just me and God for three nights and two full days, alone. Finally, I listened to his advice, "Come to a lonely place by yourselves and rest." I was restless. It took me the first full day to detox from business and constant stimulation.

With me, I brought the book, "Velvet Elvis" which I highly recommend. The author, Rob Bell, says we become addicted to the adrenaline of constant activity. It wears us out. It even kills us and I realized it was killing me in many ways. So I stopped. I sat. I looked at the trees. I listened to the birds. I walked. I read and I wrote. I rested. I even took a nap in the sun. I stayed by that cabin the entire day. It wasn't easy. That night, I laid out under the stars and enjoyed the view. Day two I woke up leisurely and set out for Lost Lake which is nearby. There is a hike around the lake of about 3.5 miles. You can walk it in an hour. If you do it right, you can take four. With frequent stops on the dock to play with the newts or to sit on the bench and listen to the birds, sit on the bank and read, or take off your shoes and wade, it is a lovely day to spend by the water with the mountain looming above.

It was on the hike I finally started soaking in the quieter rhythms, the stillness. When I got back to the cabin, I sat down to write and as I was still struggling with taking pencil to paper, I asked myself why? The answer that came is that it still felt like one more thing to do, not the center of what I'm made to do. So I decided to make some rules, some structure for myself so I could make sure I had the space and time needed to be more focused and purposeful about what I need to be doing. I can now only get on facebook three times a day and it cannot just be open for the illusion of company. I have to be doing something. I can only check my e-mail three times a day. My you-tube and hulu watching is two hours a week at the most. As I don't have television or read the paper, unless I'm house sitting, these are my time wasters. Not so much the e-mail, but really, how many times do you need to check it in one day? I am also working on being more intentionally about making time to write in my journal and to schedule time for quilting and time to write. Last of all, I am going to say "no" to things more often. Yes, they may be good, but there are better things that are mine to do. Oh, and one more thing, my cell phone will be turned off more often too.

The problem with letting whatever comes up fill your time is that your time will get filled up and not necessarily by anything important. I look at much of what I've spent my time on and realized it's all for nothing. It's wasted. Even the stuff that seems to be important, really isn't and the stuff, more importantly the people, that get cast aside, really are the important things to which I want to devote my time and energies. It has been said that if something or someone is really important to you, then you will make the time for them/it. If you are not doing or spending time with those things and people, then I, rather like my spiritual director, would question their real importance in your/my life. If you care about them enough, you and I will make the change.

I know it won't be easy and it's going to take constant discipline and adjustments for me every day. But I know if I am going to be able to write, create things with my hands, and find a job I can be passionate about, those things need space and I really do want to make that space. I want to be able to write poetry regularly, I want Stacey to know she can count on me to have the website updated. (She had sent the notes.) I want to hear God and it's hard to do when so much else is competing for my attention. I'm clearing it out and making the space for change.

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Walking the Sea: Making the Space for Change

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Making the Space for Change

"Did you get the July notes?" "No, I don't remember getting them." "I sent them on July first." "Hmm. I'll double check when I get home." This, more or less, was the conversation Stacey and I had tonight after she looked at the On Tap website for July, a website I designed and regularly update at least monthly when she sends out the new newsletter. I have loved doing this for her. It's fun and creative and is for someone I deeply believe in. Most of the time, I've been pretty good at posting the notes very quickly after she sends them, some months, within the hour. But, for the last couple of months, it hasn't happened that quickly. Not quickly at all. One month, it was weeks before I finally updated the page. Even in my book, especially in my book, that is not cool.

Keeping the website up is normally one of my priorities, something that gets done right away, and the fact that it hasn't been is quite telling. My own website was months behind until I got it updated. And as you all know, blogging slacked off big time. Three things that are important to me, not to mention time with my journal, writing poetry, and creating quilts, all in the garbage can of the not-to-do-cause-I'm-too-busy pile. This stops now.

It came to a head just a week or two ago when I was meeting with my spiritual director and I couldn't settle into that place where I can really talk about what I'm experiencing and learning with God. It was a lot about just how busy I've been and she made the comment she didn't think I wanted to change. Wow. Those words stayed with me and I had to ask myself quite sincerely, do I want to change? Then, not too long after, a small accident happened to an object and I was near tears. I realized then and there I could not continue living my life the way I have been. At the edge, no real rest, no real space. I had to stop. So I cleared a couple of days in my schedule between house sitting jobs and headed to a friend's cabin in the woods at the roots of Mount Hood. No electricity, no running water. Just me and God for three nights and two full days, alone. Finally, I listened to his advice, "Come to a lonely place by yourselves and rest." I was restless. It took me the first full day to detox from business and constant stimulation.

With me, I brought the book, "Velvet Elvis" which I highly recommend. The author, Rob Bell, says we become addicted to the adrenaline of constant activity. It wears us out. It even kills us and I realized it was killing me in many ways. So I stopped. I sat. I looked at the trees. I listened to the birds. I walked. I read and I wrote. I rested. I even took a nap in the sun. I stayed by that cabin the entire day. It wasn't easy. That night, I laid out under the stars and enjoyed the view. Day two I woke up leisurely and set out for Lost Lake which is nearby. There is a hike around the lake of about 3.5 miles. You can walk it in an hour. If you do it right, you can take four. With frequent stops on the dock to play with the newts or to sit on the bench and listen to the birds, sit on the bank and read, or take off your shoes and wade, it is a lovely day to spend by the water with the mountain looming above.

It was on the hike I finally started soaking in the quieter rhythms, the stillness. When I got back to the cabin, I sat down to write and as I was still struggling with taking pencil to paper, I asked myself why? The answer that came is that it still felt like one more thing to do, not the center of what I'm made to do. So I decided to make some rules, some structure for myself so I could make sure I had the space and time needed to be more focused and purposeful about what I need to be doing. I can now only get on facebook three times a day and it cannot just be open for the illusion of company. I have to be doing something. I can only check my e-mail three times a day. My you-tube and hulu watching is two hours a week at the most. As I don't have television or read the paper, unless I'm house sitting, these are my time wasters. Not so much the e-mail, but really, how many times do you need to check it in one day? I am also working on being more intentionally about making time to write in my journal and to schedule time for quilting and time to write. Last of all, I am going to say "no" to things more often. Yes, they may be good, but there are better things that are mine to do. Oh, and one more thing, my cell phone will be turned off more often too.

The problem with letting whatever comes up fill your time is that your time will get filled up and not necessarily by anything important. I look at much of what I've spent my time on and realized it's all for nothing. It's wasted. Even the stuff that seems to be important, really isn't and the stuff, more importantly the people, that get cast aside, really are the important things to which I want to devote my time and energies. It has been said that if something or someone is really important to you, then you will make the time for them/it. If you are not doing or spending time with those things and people, then I, rather like my spiritual director, would question their real importance in your/my life. If you care about them enough, you and I will make the change.

I know it won't be easy and it's going to take constant discipline and adjustments for me every day. But I know if I am going to be able to write, create things with my hands, and find a job I can be passionate about, those things need space and I really do want to make that space. I want to be able to write poetry regularly, I want Stacey to know she can count on me to have the website updated. (She had sent the notes.) I want to hear God and it's hard to do when so much else is competing for my attention. I'm clearing it out and making the space for change.

Labels:

2 Comments:

At July 12, 2010 at 3:27 AM , Blogger Gil S said...

Thank you Sarah! Such a lot of what you say in this post feels like God speaking to me through you. I too need to make the space to listen.

Keep on writing -it is good for yourself and for others!

 
At September 22, 2010 at 9:27 PM , Anonymous Tim Magee said...

It's 9:20 PM and I'll be leaving for work in a few minutes. The graveyard shift can be a bit painful sometimes, but having a job is a very good thing.
Ensuring that important things are done, and the less so put back to a "perhaps" pile has been on my mind a lot.
It is weird, but self discipline seems to increase an individual's freedom if it's not too "Alice in Wonderland."

 

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