I'm getting a lot done, but accomplishing very little. I don't find it satisfying. I enjoy checking off to-dos, but without direction it's, ultimately, empty. Way too many directions in my life. I need focus.
Examples: the hundreds of email news sources I subscribe to. And the dozen, or more, tasks I load into a day. That's a weakness in the electronic-tools age. Keeping those emails to read "later" is so easy. Or just shuffle those tasks to another day. Then I get to a point where I have several hundred emails waiting to be read. Or I'm spending 15 minutes moving my collection of overdue tasks to today. It all creates a sensation of "spinning my wheels".
I'm tacking this, slowly, carefully. First, I'm now aggressively deleting email. And also unsubscribing. For things I've been subscribed to for years, I feel discomfort. But with so many I haven't even opened in years, it's just time. Time to accept that see the value, but don't feel. And give myself permission to feel it. Also, I'm culling tasks. Some have lingered for months, even years. My mind is telling me something here. Time to listen.
The next step for me requires stepping back, reprioritizing and focusing. I know it will be painful. Selecting that which I won't do; ugh. I want to do everything. I see, though, I can't do even half of everything well. Quality is important. Much more so than quantity. Time to embrace it, and live it.
Perhaps I'll embrace an agile approach. Re-evaluate every few weeks/months. Ensuring I'm meeting my needs; watching for those needs to change. I like that idea. Allowing my life to flow, fluid-like. Accepting my needs will change, and seeking to be ahead. Rather than waiting until I swirl into misery. There's zen.
Cool and grey out my window; Puget Sound’s traditional weather returns. Muted, calm light flows through trees, still bearing mostly summer leaves. A few flecks of yellow and brown, however, foreshadow fall’s approach. Time, I guess, to put away flip-flops and shorts. Cool air and breezes dominate outside. Uncovered feet now hurt. I sit, eyes following leaves pushed by a gentle breeze, wondering what autumn, and the ensuing winter, brings. A bitter winter, perhaps, laden with snow? With a great ski season ensuing, mitigating said bitterness? Or traffic regularly snarled by snow, sleet and hail? Or perhaps a gentler winter awaits? I expect a blend, snowy delights in the nearby mountains, with occasional impacts upon civilization. That, with much drinking of tea and hot cocoa, excite me.
Early in the morning, 10 years ago, I dozed listening to NPR and heard something about a plane flying into a building in New York. Imagining a terrible accident, I rose, turning on CNN. I'm unaware of how much time passed before the second plane flew into the towers. At that point I knew this was deliberate; and horrible beyond imagination. The office manager of a church, I made my way there and we opened our chapel for prayers (it's an inner city parish; unmonitored open doors are generally a recipe for trouble). A predominately progressive church, but with a diversity of political views, I heard angry diatribes about Bush's destructive policies, to raging demands of blasting all Arabs to dust. My personal reaction was more complex, more focused on compassion; solidly progressive. Anyway, ten-years out, I'm trying to ascertain how this changed me.
Clearly the world changed. But I wasn't at ground zero. Nor did I lose friends or family. My personal, direct impact was small. Yet, something(s) changed. For many, the change was a sudden awareness of the burning hatred so much of the world carries for the US. Having read such works as Zinn's "A People's History of the United States, I was well aware of my country's list of offenses. So the venom directed at the US was hardly news. So that's not it.
Air travel security seems an obvious change for us all. However, I haven't traveled by air much since. Thus the impact on me; very minimal. I'm hard pressed to find anything else obvious. Perhaps it's not so clear. So much has changed in ten years. How do I separate out 9/11 vs. the other changes of my life? Perhaps I need to look deeper than these minute details.
I have become more committed to my values. Embarking more deeply Christ's commandments towards compassion. I see their value at deeper level than before. I am more committed to redemption, to eradicating fear from my life, and to layering peace throughout my life. I also try to think bigger picture. Such things as remembering the less dramatic heroes. Like the Canadian families who took in our displaced citizens when we shut down our airspace. Important acts of kindness during moments of horror. Hold those examples up.
My world is dramatically different now. Separating out the effects of the terrorist attacks is futile. Yet 9/11 influences me deeply; a small, tight thread woven throughout my life. My life, my being is the gestalt. These subdivisions merely academic and, ultimately, empty. Perhaps that's the most fitting lesson to me of all.
When I logged into Blogger this evening, I was greeted with the option for a new interface. Being forever enchanted with all things new, I plunged forth. I like what I've seen so far. The interface is cleaner. From a design perspective, a much better use of white space. None of the old functionality is lost, though some of it looks different (stats is what I noticed right off). All in all, I like it well. And it's the most significant update from Google on the Blogger platform in some time.
My only disappointment is the lack of new features. I'd love to have an auto-publish to Twitter built in. Well, that's the biggest for me. I would've loved to see new features; more than just a new layout.
Well, that's what I have for an hour or so's worth of exploration.