I am in a great mood this afternoon. I attribute this to midday yoga classes and glorious weather. In all seriousness, when do you feel great on a Monday afternoon? I don't, not often, or maybe ever. I realized this walking back to my desk and I thought: NOTICE THIS. Moments like this are important.
Sunshine always helps.
I've been reading a lot of blogs recently where people post lists of things they hope to accomplish in their life. I was reminded of this because the instructor for today's class just returned from a week in Costa Rica leading a yoga retreat, and I just kept thinking, "I've got to attend a yoga retreat someday..." and then I thought, well, add it to the bucket list. And then I thought, hey, I should actually make a bucket list.
The last week or two I've been very purposefully trying to avoid to-do lists. I've been trying to spend my energy being present in the moment, and trying to feel happy about that - the moment - instead of desperately imagining that happiness is just around the next bend, when I accomplish xyz thing or task or goal. I have a lifelong bad habit of putting off any happiness for today that could be felt sometime next year. I know this about myself, but it's a hard habit to kill. In all honesty this blog has actually been a good catalyst for me; I spent months blogging some version of "there is so much I'm not getting done / time is moving so fast / I am totally unproductive / so much to do / arghhhh self loathing arghhhh" and that got tiresome very quickly. (And if that's true for me, I can't imagine what it was like for you! I'm amazed any of you are still here.) Trying to enjoy what was actually going on around me - instead of what I haven't accomplished yet - helped me open up when it was time to sit down and write in this space. More than that, even, it made me want to sit down and write in this space, instead of feeling like it was another obligation I was not fulfilling.
So despite having never been successful at relieving myself of the to-do list productivity trap before, somehow the last few weeks have felt like a real breakthrough. Of course I'm still very much looking forward to futuristic things, and there were nights when I stressed over getting stuck making dinner instead of working on something. But overall, I'm really feeling much better. Less anxious, less frustrated. In fact a lot of the things I've walked away from during this time, to try to relieve my anxiety, I now feel legitimately excited to return to. Would you believe it? Two weeks of giving up all hope of productivity and suddenly the things I enjoyed stopped feeling like obligations and started looking really exciting again.
Don't get me wrong: I'm a very anxious, very control-oriented, planner-type person. I am NOT cured of this by spending two weeks throwing up my hands, making cocktails and knitting in bed. But it feels really good to focus on the holistic things, the feelings of things, and let go of the logistical aspects for awhile. So in the spirit of happiness and finding more of it, I think I'll compile some things I'd like to chase down in this limited time I have on our planet. Things that focus more on that feeling good part of being here, instead of the productivity part of heading there. Who knows - maybe I'll even publish it here and revisit it every once and awhile. Is this in total opposition to everything I just wrote about giving up the productivity ratrace? Maybe? I don't know. But I know I'm feeling really good today - here, now, presently, currently good. And a thought or two about some nice good things I'd like to do for myself actually sounds pretty good, and pretty anti-stressful, too.
What about you? Do you have a life list, a bucket list, a top 100? Does it keep you feeling focused on the good things - does it make you happy? Do you have a number one, most important thing you want to do before it's all over? Because going on a yoga retreat might not be my number one, but I think it's pretty high up there. And that is quite a reasonably attainable thing - and that feels pretty good, too.