Intention, Space, Latitude
Life sure has a way of taking control and leaving your agenda filled so completely that adding pleasure can seem more of a chore than a joy, and keeping up sounds as possible as defying the laws of gravity. This task sounds doable a month or two out. That event appears manageable when you book it as the sun shines high overhead, making you pretend the date doesn’t fall during the snowy season. And the other thing was put on your to-do list to prove that self-care is a priority. But you blink only to find you’ve added more than you wanted to.
So you vow that next month will be different, this holiday season will be peaceful, and next summer will be jam-packed with beach days, romantic evenings, and fun. But it doesn’t happen. Endless “doing” gets in the way and ruins your plans for a simpler experience.
So I was thinking...
September, one of the most transitional periods of the year, had me thinking. Was there a better way to navigate the pandemonium? Though not a panacea, I devised a plan around a few keywords to guide my way—intention, space, and latitude.
Busy, busy, busy
I began September with a mile-long to-do list that included a job that pays me, work that fulfills me, three fairs, jury duty, doctor’s appointments, a bathroom remodel, and meeting with contractors to install flooring. These were the tip of the iceberg, but enough to get anyone started. I felt ready because I’d been reading The Power of Now by Eckhardt Tolle (for the third time) and Stop Thinking Start Living by Richard Carlson. (Both recommended)
Where to begin
The first order of business was to set my intention to schedule a proportional amount of time for pleasure to balance the toil.
That was the easy part.
Using jury duty as an example of how I implemented the next two, I didn’t make assumptions based on my prior times of being summoned but not chosen. Being sprung early was unlikely, with this being my sixth time attending jury duty without serving. So I treated it as though being in a courtroom would be my full-time job for 1- 3 days, the average time spent if you’re impaneled. My dog walker was scheduled. A new book was procured to ensure my downtime would be filled with something enjoyable. (I read The Drift by C.J. Tudor. Gripping, suspenseful, and entertaining.) I packed plenty of food and water to avoid contempt of court with my tendency for becoming hangry.
Good things do happen
What a pleasant surprise it was being released at noon without being picked! With nothing to do because I didn’t fill potential space with ideas like If I finish early, I’ll do this, that, or the other thing (you three have had your moment), latitude resulted. (Latitude is defined as “Scope for freedom of action or thought.”)
What to do?
And what did I do with my freedom on a hot September day? I hightailed it to the beach and walked for as long as I wanted. Who cares that I was dressed business casual and the shore was packed with those sporting swimming trunks and bikinis? I got salty pant hems and sandy feet and found a handful of sand dollars—not a bad payout. Nothing pressing held me back; fresher ocean air breaths never existed.
Space and latitude blossomed from intention. By learning through reading these books (and others like them), I intended to approach jury duty with as much peace as possible. I didn’t want to hope for the best and have my dogs crossing their legs for my story-making tendencies, hence paying the dog walker. I buffered a painfully boring day with proper entertainment and snacks. I left space to allow my God-given right to be free and could fill in the blanks with a whimsical (something I struggle with) and favorite pastime.
Simply put, I’m learning to approach my busiest periods with the intention of balance, to allow space to bookend necessary commitments, and to embrace “scope for freedom or thought.”