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Lightening Up

Fridays with Susan...

I take myself way-y-y-y too seriously.  If you don't believe me, just refer to my Friday posts of the last few months.  Granted, there have been some stressors which have been pretty intense this past year.  But after being away on vacation, and then a marriage renewal weekend with Ron, I've found something has changed .  It's not the circumstances themselves so much, but my attitude to them.  (I know this is a no-brainer for most of you, but please bear with this slo-o-ow learner.)

None of the following was adopted in a very intentional way.  It's just kind of happened.  But there are a bunch of things I've been doing lately which have allowed me to lighten up and to enjoy life a LOT more.  (Some of you will be most happy to hear that!)

1.  Look for the humour in EVERYTHING (especially in myself). 
I was deeply involved in a software program this week which I could not "get" and for which the deadline for submission of data was all too rapidly approaching - and I was already working a few hours past when I should have gone home.  My concentration was so intense that when I was interrupted with the fact that there was no hot water in the house, it actually took a few minutes for me to switch gears enough to care!  Even though it was a problem seriously and directly affecting a large number of people.  When I finally got my head around the fact that I needed to make this my immediate priority and pulled myself away from the computer, I had listened to the words, "Susan, you're not listening to me!" at least five times.  We solved the problem as best we could by figuring out together how to adapt to the situation at hand and by resigning to the fact that there was nothing to do but wait for the plumber to come the next morning.  Then we spent a long time laughing about the whole situation - especially zeroing in on the fact that the world can be coming to an end around me, but God help anyone who tries to get my attention when I'm hyper-focused on something else!  Suddenly what had been a serious problem a few minutes earlier turned into an adventure - with a great deal of hilarity along the way!

2.  Stop working so hard to figure out who is to blame and start solving the problem, or overcoming the obstacle.
Oh this is a good one for me...  There is a natural bent in me that wants to make everything someone else's fault before I can even begin to think about what to do about it.  My poor husband.  If I can't find my car keys or my cell phone, it has to be because HE moved them!  He's such a conspirator to ruin my day!  I'm trying not to do that anymore.

3.  Make a mental list of everything I DON'T have to do! 
It's much longer than the list of things I have to do, and makes me feel a lot better!  And it's such a ludicrous idea that it makes me laugh, which takes me back to # 1.

4.  Be grateful.  That attitude of gratitude thing is so powerful.  There is so much to be thankful for if we just stop for a minute and DO it!

5.  Celebrate the little things.  The really little things.  One day this week I walked in the back door - really late- and there was no-one around to greet me.  I stood just inside the door with my arms outstretched and my palms turned up and yelled, "I'm HO-O-O-O-OME!!"  No response.  "YooHOOOO!!!"  I tried again.  From the furthest corner of the living room I heard a small "I'm in here."  (He must have got tired of waiting for me.)  As soon as I had his attention I "demanded" a standing ovation.  "I'm here!  I'm home! I could have gone anywhere, but I chose to come here!  Could I have a little enthusiasm???"  Ron cracked up and began to hoot and holler and clap his hands on his way into the kitchen.  I took a step toward him as he came across the room, we collapsed into a big hug, and forgot about how late I was - again.

6.  Let go of some stuff.  I realized this week that I can worship from the back pew just as well as standing at the front with a microphone in my hand.  It was a decision I could make that would not essentially change anything, but would give me a few more options on Sunday mornings (like the option to actually ride to church in the same car as my husband!  Novel!) It would also serve to take away the stress of missing too many practices and feeling badly about that.  So I stepped down from singing on the worship team at church.  It didn't turn out to be as hard as I thought it was going to be and I'm really looking forward to experiencing some new pockets of time.

There are so many more things I could add to this list.  But how about you?  What are some of the ways you keep from letting life overwhelm you and drag you down?  We're all in this together, and I can still use use a lot of help...
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