SEEDS FOR THE SOUL: Priorities


Our weekends are relaxed. On most Saturdays, while my husband plays golf, I work on our garden, write, sew, cook or read (and sometimes spend hours on the phone catching up with old friends or our families). More often than not, we go to the movies and then dinner. Every now and then, on any given Sunday we take an early morning walk at the beach with Smoky, our pooch. But as a rule, Sundays are days of leisure, without defined plans, nor agendas. No emails, virtual communities, blogs, Web pages, calls to the Orient or crisis that involves delayed, back-ordered, or stuck-in-customs merchandise. Thus, Mondays arrive in supersonic train and often without brakes.
On this particular Monday, we are a merely twenty-four hours away from my parents’ imminent arrival in Cozumel. My list of errands to run and projects to complete is as long as the Great Wall of China and the hands of the clock are moving at the speed of the light.
I have time for everything and for everything I have time, I repeat under my breath, trying to maintain my calm as I go up and down the stairs carrying towels, sheets, soap, shampoo, disposable razors, body lotion and shaving cream.
I have time for everything and for everything I have time, going from room to room, arranging flower vases, napkin holders, books and candles; connecting the refrigerator, making sure the water valves are on, that the fans and the A/C are working, that the lamps have fresh light bulbs. Ready! Next item on the list…
Darling, where are we going for breakfast, asks my husband. Breakfast?!! I take a deep breath and nail my eyes on the list in front of me. Breakfast is not there, but I must understand that even though breakfast is not a priority for me, it is a fundamental part of my husband’s day. I am debating whether to tell him to go by himself so I can go about my own business when, capturing my hesitation, he comments, how are we supposed to do everything we have to do without energy? And then he adds, with an innocent tone, besides, you better eat something before you get too cranky, his mischievous eyes inviting mine to participate in a dance of mockery.
He’s got a point. But sometimes (only sometimes) I wonder what makes him think that his priorities are more important than mine. Then again, what makes me think that mine are more important than his?
It happens to all of us, and to many, more than once a day. Take for instance the urgency of that client or friend who has called you five times in two hours to ask for something that you assured him or her from the get go, that you would call back as soon as you had it. Or the colleague who interrupts what you are doing to ask you for advice or an opinion on something that is far and remote from what you are doing right at that moment.
Priorities are relative and subjective. For the person that has the urgency, that urgency is the most important thing at that moment. But for the person on the other side, the perspective is very different. Keeping a flexible attitude can rescue us from loosing our course in the ever changing tides of our daily lives. Flowing with the moment instead of sinking with frustration often opens our minds to ideas and possibilities that we had not considered in the first place.
That Monday my husband invited to me to have breakfast in one of our favorite restaurants. Once there, he said to me when he suggested the place, we are already in downtown, on our way to run our errands. Together –hum, I had not considered that option!
As if by magic, the ticking of the clock returned to its normal pace, our two lists became one; we enjoyed a delicious breakfast and accomplished everything we set out to do –all in a spirit of cooperation and affection that made our tasks a pleasurable experience.
Plant seeds of flexibility in the garden of your life. Make it the top of your priority list, flow with the moment and you’ll find that most days you have time for everything and for everything you have time.

©2010 MYRNA CLEGHORN / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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