I am a slave to my closet. It's one spot that consistently gets away from me. I'll spend an afternoon organizing it, arranging clothes by type and color; only to have it fall apart within a week. When that happens, everything slows down a bit. The bedroom becomes an obstacle course and the morning routine is slowed down. Slowing down that morning routine makes everything stressful, and when there's stress in one parent, the entire family suffers. So, in a very real way, when I am a slave to my closet, my entire family is held hostage. I don't like that. I want to be free from the tyranny of my closet, but to date, I've not been willing to put in the work to keep that thing squared away.
So, I'm resolving to conquer that thing this week. By the time I go to bed Friday night, I will be master of that closet for good. Heck, I'll even post weekly photo updates if you want. Maybe i won't post them, but I'll take them anyway because it will track the two traits that will free me from the emotional bondage of that closet: discipline and consistency. One of resources I've been reading through to help me plan my siege of the closet, is Marie Kondo's book:
To be completely honest, it's not just my closet, but that is the one space that bothers me the most because it's the first thing that I look at in the morning when I get up. Waking up to a cluttered, disorganized mess is a pretty crappy way to start the day...and I'm just tired of it.
What "that space" in your house? What seems to always get away from you? What small, practical steps can you take this week to declare freedom from the tyranny of that space?
<---I probably say that a dozen times a week to a dozen different people, and the vast majority of the time it's to encourage someone to chill out. Truth is, there's not much in this life worth making a big deal out of, but we do it anyway. That car that cut me off on the way home was totally not a big deal until I made it a big deal with my verbal outburst. That email from a parent this evening was nothing until I chose to assume their tone and attitude. We do a great job of blowing things out of proportion don't we?
There is so much of our lives that we have no control over. The weather. The other driver. The poorly worded email we get at the end of a long day. We just don't have a lot of power over those things...but we do have some say in our response. Note, I said response and not reaction. A reaction is thoughtless while a response takes a certain level of reflection. How long does it take to move from reaction to response? Just one deep breath.
There's a reason we tell people who are in a stressful situation to take a deep breath. Besides the physical benefits of a deep breath, it also buys us a bit of time to think through our response. Was that driver intentionally being a jerk, or did they need to head to an emergency? Was that parent's tone one of arrogance, or fearful love for their kids? Taking a deep breath almost always allows us to give the benefit of the doubt and make the kind response. With that breath, you claim control over your flighty (often self-serving) emotions. Don't make it a big deal...just take a breath. Respond, don't react.
Completing the Phoenix 50 in July 2016 was one of the greatest accomplishments. The training in leading up to the event pushed me to new limits one a weekly basis. The actual event...may have pushed me a little too far. After all, I did end up in the hospital with rhabdo and acute renal failure.
Do I regret it? Not in the slightest. Would I do it again? Maybe. Why?! Well, for starters, I know more about myself having gone through that experience. Most importantly, I know where my limit is, or was, and can move on to set other goals.
From a training perspective, pushing yourself is the great risk vs. reward battle. To have or experience a great reward involves taking certain risks...but taking those risks does not necessarily mean you'll reap those reward. No risk, no reward. Yes risk, maybe reward. That's the battle we fight...is the potential reward work the risk? Is working on the makiwara, with the risk of breaking my hand worth the risk in order to strengthen my hand. Is doing a million burpees worth the risk of injury for a reward of improving muscular and cardiovascular endurance? Those are relatively easy battles nowadays.
The more difficult battles, where I almost always need to push a step too far, are relationally. Those battles often require that I continue a conversation one question more, or adding one more comment. The risk? You come off as a pushy jerk. The potential reward? You come off as someone who genuinely cares...and THAT is so needed by so many. Another risk is that by pushing one question more, you may offend someone. To that I'd say that's it's better to offend a friend or coworker and make them think about their actions and behavior than it is to say nothing, and let them continue without observation. Shoot, sometimes just asking that first question might feel like a step too far.
In either situation, relationships or training, I don't recommend pushing yourself too far every single time. There's a wisdom and discernment that goes with knowing when to push and when to relax. My observation though is that we generally don't want to push a little too far because we're either afraid of the risk or don't want to step out of our comfort zone.
You'll never know how far you can go until you go a little too far. You'll never know what you can make of the world, or your relationships, or yourself, unless you push past what you think are your limits.
From a training perspective, try this. Do pushups. How many? Do ALL of them. Do pushups until your arms and chest muscles fail. Then, take a break and do two more. Pushing yourself physically has a direct impact on your courage to push relationally. Find something...do something that pushes you past your preconceived limits this weekend. Be safe:-)