Wednesday, January 7, 2009

time monsters

I wanted to share a great excerpt from Jennifer Louden's Life Organizer:

"Closely related but slightly different from shadow comforts are time monsters--anything we pretend is a creative, generative use of our time but is actually a way to dodge doing what we really want to do. We all have things we don't want to do but that we need to do (like paying bills), or maybe we want to take a risk (like starting a new painting), and yet neither of these activities feels easy or comfortable. So instead we make an elaborate dinner every night for our family, spend a week choosing the perfect font for the flyer for the annual neighforhood picnic, or become news junkies who have to read three newspapers and check five news sites every morning and don't understand why we never seem to have enough time.

I've coached many women whose lives consisted almost entirely of time monsters because they were too afraid to do what they really wanted to do--for fear of failure, for fear of what their mother/husband/children might think, for fear that when their long-held dream was realized it would become tarnished by daily living. The stories these women created to allwo them to live this way were full of conviction, and they held on to them with great determination. Spending a month planning and cooking and decorating for the holidays, spending a week decorating your child's classroom, insitsting the every trip be meticulously scrapbooked, running unnecessary errands: we tell ourselves that we must do these things and that in fact we are the only ones who can do them. We spend our lives doing things that don't matter, and meanwhile our desires are sobbing, locked away in the basement...

Life organizing necessitates that you learn to discern how you spend your precious energy--but you must do this with infinite mercy. Weep with tenderness the parts of you that are dedicated to keeping you busy and numb. Compassionately embrace the truth that you don't do this work only once. You get to do it again and again, and then again. The good news is that time monsters and shadow comforts do loosen their hold and can disappear entirely..."


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