Don’t Get Frazzled! Reflect and Lean In

billthecat_1984

[Bill the Cat, copyright Berkeley Breathed]

In between our kids’ soccer games today, I fell into some weekend reflection on my job, my service work, my personal life, and the state of our country currently.  Lots to think about on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It turned out to provide some helpful, if not revolutionary, insight.

There’s a common thread of difficulty and repeated obstacles that keep popping up, slowing things down, making life more challenging. This theme seems to run along all aspects of life currently. And if I really consider it, for the last several years. Maybe more. Some examples? Sure thing…

I started a new job a couple years ago. And I have to say, overall the people, company, and products are AWESOME. I give thanks everyday for the opportunity to work with such a great group of folks at a business on the brink of big things in their sector.

That said, it hasn’t been easy to get up to speed on so many different facets of the work I do. There are several diverse groups I interact with and am influenced by on a day to day basis. New processes, new systems, new requirements, new goals all swirl about, demanding attention and competency. It’s be very rewarding, but it’s been challenging too.

In my service work — I belong to a local Lions club — our group finds itself in transition of membership and charity activities in which we are engaged. Old and new interests seem to be colliding more, and we are struggling to find our way forward. Our club has been around near 50 years. We are working to keep the programs going we’ve long supported, and also attempting to diversify activities to a point. It’s a difficult process, for sure.

And then there’s the good ol’ U.S. of A., and the national conversation that seems increasingly rooted in conflict, inequality, and strife. When I consider the situation, it goes back more than twenty years, really. It seems that we grow further apart in attitudes and perspectives as time goes on, walls to common progress go up endlessly. It’s the Democrats versus the Republicans, the Right versus the Left, #MeToo versus the Kavanaugh Supreme Court Nomination, and on and on and on.

There’s more I could list from my afternoon wandering of mind, but you get the idea. And with all this piled up, how does one keep from getting frazzled, from growing flustered, from throwing one’s hands up and tossing in the towel…? It’s pretty simple, really.

Don’t expect that any great progress will be made quickly, that you’ll reach the other side and it will all suddenly get easier. When you sense things getting out of control, pressure building, frazzle starting, take a moment (or more) to STOP that process, those feelings. Give yourself time to reflect frequently the small things — what’s in front of you just now — and if you feel so moved, on the bigger world around you, too — and how you can help the given situation in the present.

It’s perfectly fine to also consider the big picture, long-term plans, strategy, etc. Just as important though is what can be done RIGHT NOW, to make things better. This simple approach applies to work, it applies to home, it applies to parenting, it applies to marriage, it applies to life.

Don’t get frazzled.

Pause, Reflect, Lean In. It WILL get better. It might be just a little bit, it might be a lot. It’s up to you to make the difference.

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Dim the Lights

I dim the lights, and try to steal a few minutes for myself.

Around my house, it’s a daily…process?  struggle?  battle?  game?…to get the kids into go-to-sleep mode.  Tonight is a little better — as a steal a few minutes to write this piece, just after 9:00pm, everyone is ready for bed (already).  Lot’s of times that’s not the case around this time.

I dimmed the lights, settled in for a five minute blog post, and in the back-ground, my four-year-old is dancing and singing, a made-up song in a made-up language.  Shortly, the other two kids come down the hall to see what’s going on.   They don’t really just “come down the hall…”, they sprint down the way, bare feet thumping on the hardwood.

It’s time for bed, but in these few seconds, the energy level is swiftly rising well beyond where it should be.  The dimmed lights are losing their effect.  Or maybe, like my wife says, dimming the lights doesn’t make a difference.  It does for me, but maybe not so much for the kids.

Ok, time for the kids’ dance party to end.  Time to parade down the hall to bed.

Time to turn the lights down, dim lights to…OFF.

GOOD NIGHT.

Honor Labor

[Image courtesy of Santa Clara University Alumni Association]

Thoughts today, being thankful for an extra day off work.

Thoughts today of my own list of things to do, things to squeeze into a holiday Monday.

Thoughts of gratitude for spending more time with my kids, seeing my mom, yummy dinner my wife made and we enjoyed with the neighbors.

Thoughts of those who worked, WORKED, on this Labor Day holiday.; Those who labor for us everyday; Those who keep our society and comforts and conveniences going day in and day out.

Those who provide the sweat and muscle and raw hours of raw effort and toil and tedious attention to those things that demand attention to be put together and organized and proper.

Thoughts to those who labor. Thoughts of respect and gratitude.

The day is done. What remains?

GRATITUDE.