Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Simple Life. Is it Possible? Part 2

Writer’s Journey Wednesday with O

The Simple Life. Is it Possible?

Part 2
by Ocieanna Fleiss

Talk about deadlines looming! This week definitely put my “simple life” objective to the test. I had two editing, one teaching, and a writing deadline. These, along with a nasty cold and my husband breaking his ankle, created a less-than-simple week.

Amazingly, even with all the pressures, I somehow avoided panic and anxiety. I didn’t even get grumpy! Observing this unusual calm in the whirlwind, I learned a couple things.

Rest Stop
First, when the chaos pressed in, I challenged myself to stop. Yes, stop. I know it sounds crazy. In the past I’d do the exact opposite. I’d force myself to push through and work harder. Stay up later. Get up earlier. Hire a babysitter. Push, push, push …

But this week, I tried to stop writing at four in the afternoon in order to make a good meal for my family. I chopped vegetables and taught my daughter how to cook. I laughed with my wannabe Jedi son. Most days we ate as a family. Then I went back to work refreshed and feeling blessed and loved. I worked till eight and no later. With the computer off, I watched TV with my husband or read a book. Rested.

The other tactic I tried was simple. I read books to my kids. I said, “Gabrielle, go get a book,” at least once a day. And when I read with her snuggled next to me, I savored her closeness. I relished the words and the story. The illustrations. I tried to delight in other small blessings too—a good laugh, a conversation with a friend, an opportunity to serve. I enjoyed the life God has given me.

That’s the point. I’m incredibly blessed with more precious gifts than I can name. Yet, sometimes I’m so focused on work (writing) that I miss out on these gifts. The ironic thing is that when I get all frenzied and intense trying to meet a deadline, I not only forfeit the joys in my non-writing life (family, church, friendships, homemaking, etc.), writing itself becomes a chore. I begin to even resent it.

Yet when I savored the God-given moments—like breaths of wind to my soul—writing again became a delight. Panic and anxiety flew away.

This concept of living simple is still a work in progress. I have much more to learn. What advice can you gift to me? How do you “keep it simple”?

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