My friend Sherrie‘s one talented lady.
Calligrapher, teacher (check out her amazing workshop coming up this summer at Ghost Ranch), writer, artist, fellow artrepreneur.
She’s also pretty smart.
In a recent email exchange, I shared with her that my Retreat was wonderful, but not at all in the ways I expected. And that made it honestly kind of hard.
That was a real gift — what you discovered [at the Retreat]. One of the questions I have been following in my work is, “what is the least I can do today” and still feel productive. This is a great change from my, what is the most I can get done. This has curbed my over-achieving, having to get everything done today, habit.
So today (and later tonight), as I was wracked with frustration that I didn’t get done the stuff I really wanted to today, it occurred to me that maybe, just like at the Retreat, the Universe is trying to teach me a lesson.
Maybe what this weekend was supposed to be about was “what is the least I can do today?”
Maybe the longer post-that-simply-isn’t-coming isn’t coming because it isn’t ready to be fully born yet, and maybe that’s okay.
Maybe the business projects can wait.
Maybe even the short list of stuff I’d written down on my “Sunday Triage” list doesn’t really have to get done today.
Maybe I can change my Daily Triage list from 3-5 items down to (gasp!) one item.
Maybe a blog post that simply poses the question “what is the least I can do today and still feel productive?” is enough.
In fact, there will always be some days that are more productive than others. Perhaps tomorrow (or if not tomorrow, another day this week) will feel wildly, thrillingly productive. And that will be lovely.
But maybe every day doesn’t have to be that way in order to be okay.
How might my life be different if I could unhook productivity from self-worth, and truly allow each day to be exactly what it is, and no more?
Perhaps, to follow Joseph Campbell’s lead in the graphic at the top of this post, the theme of this weekend is:
We must be willing to let go of the day we have planned, so as to have the day that is waiting for us.
What do you think? How would your life be different if, instead of “What’s the most I can do today?” you asked yourself “What’s the least I can do today and still feel productive?”
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!
Janine Whitling says
Hey Melissa, i am so on board with this blog. For the past year i have been slowly unraveling all my expectations and ideals from my self worth and it has been tough, let me tell you. We’ve been so programmed from early on that if we are not ‘busy’ then we are simply lazy or worthless or …(fill in whatever word you like here that you were told). Truth is that none of it really has anything to do with who we truly are. And that in our frenzied need to be the person we’ve been told to be (good, kind, smart, happy, obliging, intelligent, busy, superwoman, superman!)we’ve forgotten our soul, who when connected to and allowed to be naturally finds its own rhythms in a gentle and loving way. We don’t have to keep up with anyone, and we don’t have to do or be anyone that we think we should be. We can just ‘be’ and listen to what our body tells us in its wisdom. Listen to the feelings rather than to our heads and only do what feels right and natural at the time. No guilt, no ideals, no responsibility, no obligations. What a lovely way to be. ♥♥♥
Cindi Pugliese says
I like the way you think! Yesterday was beautiful outside and I had so much I could have done to taken advantage of the nice warm weather.I decided to take care of me and take a nice long walk to the lake.It did me more good than cleaning out the gardens or washing windows.Sometimes we just have to prioritize!
Melissa Dinwiddie says
Cindi, I love that you took advantage of the warm weather to take care of yourself. Aaaaahhh! You’ve got your priorities straight. 🙂 Such a wonderful role model!
Melissa Dinwiddie says
Thanks for your awesome comment, Janine! And congrats on the hard work of unraveling your expectations from your self-worth. Tough, indeed, in our “sleep is overrated”/”you can sleep when you’re dead” culture.
So well-put! But so challenging when so many messages tell us we’ve got to “keep up with the Joneses” and all that… Listening to our body, our feelings, is not at all how we’re programmed, but is so essential to true well-being, isn’t it?
A lovely way to be, indeed. 🙂
Dear, Melissa.I so agree with Janine. We have been so programmed since early age, HECK even in your own job they program that brain of yours! They are always making you compete with each other, you need to always be doing something to be worth while, its always run, run, run, and stress is the way of life!. Recently I have been in the middle of a decision with my life. My store is very slow right now and it freaks me out cause I need to pay bills. I wanted to look for a side job that would help me make some extra money. The job is just exactly what I love to do, visual merchandising, Dressing mannequins, merchandising, etc.The interview went even better than what I expected, way to good! Suddenly they tell me, well you need to work the weekends! That right their is when I look out for my store, then they are already thinking of a new store for me, traveling, etc. Taking this job would be letting go of my DREAMS that I have worked so hard to achieve. Its been a tough decision but one that I need to make soon.I left last year from working with a corporate company( Thank God) to achieve my dream and know I would be going back to that same thing, corporate America life! Why I brought this to the comment, well it applies to what you talked about. Having your own dream, you can manage the time, you don’t need to make everything happen in one day. Maybe those long days at my store were hardly customers come in and I feel bored are what they should be, relax and not have to be doing something every second like before. I’m still learning as I go, but sometimes when you do one thing, that is all you need to do, when you had a list of 5 things to do. Great subject to brain storm.!!! Thank,s once again for all your help. Laz
Melissa Dinwiddie says
Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Laz. And boy, do I sympathize with you on that challenging decision on your plate. We all need to make a living, and figuring out how to do that in a humane, sustaining way is not always easy.
I like your re-assessment of those long, slow days in your store. Maybe we all need to allow for more “boredom” in our lives..? (My problem tends to be filling every spare moment, just as nature abhors a vacuum and will seek to fill it…)
Bonnie Perry says
I found it interesting to note within me that the feeling-sense of being that I have with the statement “what’s the most I can do today” is tense and anxious. The feeling-sense I have with the statement “what’s the least I can do today and still feel productive” is more one of trust and comradery with the universe.
I think the idea of ‘unhooking productivity from self-worth’ is rich with opportunities for discovery of our authentic selves – so much of what we feel we have to do is caught up in meeting externally imposed standards.
Thanks for writing!
Melissa Dinwiddie says
When I first saw your comment, I was dashing out the door and only got a glimpse and I thought you were saying that “what’s the *least* I can do today?” made you feel tense and anxious. Ha! It was only when I came back and re-read it that I got your actual meaning.
That’s how I feel, too, and I just love the way you put it: “trust and comradery with the universe.” Ahhhh… Deep hand-on-heart sigh for that one!
And yes to opportunities for discovery of our authentic selves! That’s so much of what all of this is about: unhooking productivity from self-worth, letting go of perfectionism (Imperfectionists unite!), releasing the need to judge ourselves against externally imposed standards.
It’s not a fast or easy process, but soooooo worth it. 🙂
Thanks for commenting!