Organizing Crazy

I haven’t written in a while. At some point, I told myself that I wanted to write and publish one piece a week. Of course, the next piece I tried to write was a disaster. There were good elements, but it needed to be scrapped. Facing a frustrating hurdle because I didn’t do it perfect, I subconsciously stopped writing, the rest of my life became overwhelming, and doubt settled in. I had failed. 

In order to combat the crazy swirling tangle that had become my mind, I decided to try to make sense out of my thoughts and, for me, that meant writing them down. My life, I decided, was just getting too crazy and I was getting lost trying to keep it all together.

“Life is crazy,” we hear it all the time, but there’s some relativism that we can’t see in the phrase. What is crazy to you? What is too busy? I know people who take on things that would drive me into a nut house and others who can hardly manage to keep their house clean and watch all their TV shows. I’m beginning to realize that we all have our own level of acceptable crazy. For some of us the level just looks ridiculously high. 

I’m one of those high level of crazy people. I really can’t say why, but if I didn’t have a bunch of stuff going on all the time, I’d go out and find it. It’s just my normal and I’d probably get really depressed and sleep all the time if I didn’t have a gazillion things to keep me occupied. Sometimes though, even my brain obviously needs to rest.

I sat down, (while teaching my children – apparently only doing one thing at a time is not enough for me) and attempted to put down on paper all the things that run around in my head everyday in some attempt to objectify it all and maybe organize it better. I started with a note pad. That didn’t work. By the time I was writing sideways I could see that I need a better format. I moved to digital and started up a new document. This brain map ended up two pages, small type, with bullet points, and I’m still needing to add things. 

It feels good to have things on paper. It’s like I can see them while they’re sitting still and really examine their purposes in my life. With this tool, I identified some things that could be finished in a relatively timely manner and then be removed from my tremendous web of life. 

I finished off a couple books and deleted them. Yay!!!

I added another book… 

I added some notes to things to remind myself how I feel about them and their place in my life. I made these notes in color to show the emotion or severity associated with it. 

I’ve been able to add weight to some things and remove weight from others. It’s helping me prioritize. 

I added a volunteer event..

To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever get my life below this set point of crazy, but being able to keep a running map of things I have going on has helped a lot to manage it all and remember what is more important and what will work itself out over time. 

I’m the kind of person who wants to have already learned all the things, read all the books, made all money, paid off all the bills, and accomplished all the milestones of life before I’ve even begun. If I can’t do the things perfectly the first time or if I’m not already set for life I get frustrated. I have a hard time with the process of life. I have an even harder time with failure. However, I’ve been practicing at this whole failure and process thing on purpose for quite a few years now. Like anything else, I had to recognize that I had a problem before I could fix it. 

This brain map exercise helped me realize that I’d slipped back into the old habit of needing to do everything all at once and do it perfect the first time. It also helped me realize why I hadn’t written anything for a few weeks. I’m shifting things around and not worrying about finishing everything as soon as possible anymore. I’m just letting it all have it’s time. There is, in fact time. Seasons rotate and so must the seasons of my life. 

This season I plan to focus on writing. Not writing perfectly, but getting to know my writing better. Next season, I’ll focus on something else. It’ll all get done when it gets done and it doesn’t all have to be at the same time. There will be more time. Relax.


Time to Leap

A while ago I took my youngest out with me to do some errands. At some point, and I still don’t know what inspired this, she looked at me and said, “Mom, you need to take a leap of faith.” Huh?  I though about it for a bit and explained that I had actually done that not too long ago when we packed up everything and moved and her dad and I got divorced. That leap had been a very scary decision that paid off well, for all parties I believe. She replied, “I think it’s time for another.” My tiniest is eight. This was an odd bit of insight coming from the child we’ve nicknamed “Tornado.” Whenever inspired it, even if it was a TV show, she saw that it was needed in my life. I’m choosing to take her wisdom to heart. 

I’m not a great leaper. I plan things and I generally have an idea of where I’m going and what my next goal is. So, jumping into something without knowing what’s at the bottom is slightly terror inspiring for me. I suppose that’s the point. I have actually done this many times, but it’s an anxious process and hasn’t always worked out for the best. Still, I’ve survived well enough that I know things generally work out as long as you keep working at it. 

This is part of my leap. The other part might take years and might never see the light of day, but I’m still doing it. 

And the thing is, this leap might be the only thing that gets me to where I really want to be. It might not, but my current path probably won’t either. There’s a little risk involved, but it wouldn’t be a Leap of Faith without risk right? 

I’ll leave you with some seriously meaningful lyrics. You might remember the group Hanson from the mid-90’s. They were very young kids with long hair, music that far deeper than it seemed on the surface, and seriously understated talent. I was a fan. Then, life happened and I totally missed their second album (which was pretty good too), probably due to the stigma they had picked up and the rise of harder, darker music in my life. Their third album got stuck in production for years and at every turn their label would thwart their efforts. They did a series on YouTube about the struggle if you’re interested. Finally, they took a Leap of Faith. They broke with their label and started their own. They’ve released four more albums including Underneath, the one that got stuck. The first song they recorded was Broken Angel, it chronicles their struggle to do right by themselves and their art. This song has meant a lot to me and serves as a reminder to, likewise, do right by myself and my art.

Broken Angel, by Hanson
So small, yet still so proud 

At night before he dreams he looks into the clouds 

A high-flyer’s what I want to be 

Seems they won’t let me

Says I’m too small 

I don’t feel small at all 
Break my dreams

That’s what they’ll do 

Well, I’m going to run away

And learn to fly like you 

I’m going to go so high

And swoop so low 

You can’t bring me down

Going to be so proud 
Little angel, you got to learn to fly 

Get up and earn your wings tonight 

Little angel, just look in my eyes 

Get up and earn your wings tonight 
Push and shove, then climb aboard 

This is the shuttle train to the top of the world 

When you look around, what do you see?

These are all high-flyers 

But none of these high-flyers look like me 
What is that supposed to mean 

What am I supposed to be 
I pull my way up through this crowd 

To find your body crushed on the ground 

It’s so obvious; why couldn’t you see

That you can’t go high-flying 

Without a pair of high-flyer wings?
Little one’s broken lying on the ground 

Trying to get up ’till his last breath out 

Wings are strewn everywhere; there’s blood all around 

‘Cause even angels die, but that light just fades 

It’s so sad, but he’d be so proud 
Broken angel, you’ve got to learn to fly 

Get up and earn your wings tonight 

Broken angel, just look in my eyes 

Get up and earn you wings tonight 

Get up and earn your wings, earn your wings tonight