Cheryl Miller on
Apr 17th, 2005 |
I rented two movies Friday night and went into the weekend with a mild sense of dread. The movies would help me feel better. I had set aside this weekend to handle paper – my least favorite task. I’ll do just about anything before I’ll file. While I headed into the weekend with a grey cloud hanging over my head, the journey that followed was totally delightful and unexpected.
Knowing I’d be busy and would need to stay focused, I decided this would also be a good weekend to do a simple spring cleansing diet of fruits and vegetables. This cleanse had been inspired by my colleague, Christi Lehner
, a holistic health counselor. As a guide, I used her newly published ebook – The Ultimate Spring Cleanse: A Fast, Easy Detox Program for Beginners
which by the way I highly recommend for its simplicity and do-ability.
I sorted and filed and recycled paper yesterday and took a long spa bath that night while reading Anthony Robbins’ book Awaken the Giant Within
. I love that book. Just 10 pages to go.
This morning as I sat on my deck munching a bowl of fresh fruit salad, I noticed armies of weeds advancing and taking control of my yard. I don’t have grass, everything’s mulched. But because I haven’t had the mulch delivered yet this year, the weeds were getting the upper hand. I thought "Gosh darn, I don’t have time to weed the yard, but if I don’t, they’ll take over and be even harder to get rid of." Then I remembered some of my own coaching advice. So I set a timer and weeded for just 30 minutes. If I weed 30 minutes a day, the job will be accomplished this week. I got inspired and sprung into action without even changing my clothes. To me there are no good clothes and work clothes. They’re just clothes.
I’ve written about the benefits of joining the Earth Gym where your daily activities are your workout and it occurred to me that this weeding opportunity would be my fitness routine this week.
I don’t use chemicals in my house or yard, so I needed to think of an efficient way to get this job done. The simple hoe was my answer. Leaning forward making multiple quick chops into the dirt was a little hard on my deconditioned lower back, so I frequently switched sides – chopping on my right side and then switching hands and chopping on the left – and back and forth every couple of minutes. I also welcomed a chance to give my low back a rest as I squatted to unearth an elm tree seedling that needed to be uprooted rather than hoed. I was surprised at how quickly I weeded the entire pathway and am eager to take up the hoe again tomorrow evening.
The mental shift I made to break the big job down into small tasks over a week and using it as part of my fitness routine made the project sound appealing. And there’s something fun about a timer too – kind of like playing beat the clock. Once a timer is activated most of us start to play mental games trying to guess how much we can complete before the timer dings.
I rarely take naps, but my little weeding workout made me tired and I laid down on the couch for a few minutes … which turned into 30 minutes as I fell deeply, instantly asleep. Upon awakening…enjoying a few more minutes of leisurely lounging…I took up the thought about why I fell asleep so uncharacteristically. It occurred to me that it must be partly due to the cleansing diet I was enjoying. The cleanse was making me conscious of… everything. My body needed a rest and I was actually tuned in and paying attention! I felt just a little proud of myself. Here’s the list of weekend accomplishments that surfaced in my awareness as I lounged the last few minutes before getting up from my nap:
- I felt disciplined. I was doing a cleansing diet – how cool is that?
- I was getting a workout and handling an important maintenance task.
- I was paying attention to my body and letting it rest.
- I was stopping to soak up the spring sounds, smells, and colors.
- And I was doing everything a little more consciously than usual so that time seemed to expand in an enjoyable way. My weekend wasn’t flying by. I was savoring it.
- I felt on top of life. Successful.
I got up, washed an apple with my veggie wash and went back out onto the deck to eat it and look at the yard again. It was a beautiful spring day and I was looking for opportunities to go outside and look at the red bud trees, lilacs, iris, flowering quince, and baby birdies demanding to be fed. All of this occurred because I set aside a weekend to focus on just one thing – sorting through and filing paper. And because I knew that cooking would potentially sidetrack me, the simple fruit and veggie cleanse was a great unifying solution that made the whole weekend work. I focused more on how cool the cleanse was and how good I felt, than on how much I didn’t want to file paper.
Because of the way the weekend unfolded, I expanded into the task of filing. I took the time to break the big job down into small tasks, had the tools I needed at the ready, and took frequent breaks to enjoy the simple things in life – the flowers, the sun, the bowl of fruit, the sweet apple. Funny, but I feel like I’ve been to a spa this weekend and have been taken care of with good food, simple pleasures, planned gentle activities, rest breaks, and a clearly focused goal that allowed me to set aside the entire weekend to leisurely accomplish what I wanted to get on top of. Usually we try to cram too many things into a weekend and by Sunday night feel a little depressed that we didn’t get to half of it. Setting aside an entire weekend to accomplish one goal felt great. It felt luxurious. I’ll definitely do more of that in the future and highly recommend that you try it too.
Here are some additional tips
Move More – Consider your yard work this spring as your Earth Gym.
Healthy Fast Food Kitchen – I thought you’d enjoy the "recipes" of some of the fruit and veggie dishes I made this weekend. Enjoy the simple, subtle flavors without a lot of added flavoring. It may take a day to adjust to and enjoy the simple flavors.
- Fruit salad – strawberries, mango, kiwi
- Sauteed asparagus with onion and garlic – saute in olive oil or coconut oil. Add a little sea salt or Bragg’s liquid aminos. This dish is fantastic and takes just a few minutes to prepare.
- Raw veggie salad – diced red, green, and orange peppers; avocado; tomatoes; onion; cucumber and fresh cilantro. Sprinkle with a little lemon or lime juice and olive oil. Or dilute your usual salad dressing with apple cider vinegar, basalmic vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
- Snacks – apple, banana, veggie strips, total fruit smoothie
- Salad – greens, strawberries or pineapple, various diced or sliced veggies. Dressing of olive oil and lemon.
- Beverages – herbal teas, water, water, water
Packrats & Paper Hounds – don’t be afraid to schedule an entire weekend to leisurely handle a project that you’ve been putting off for a long time. Consider it your closet spa weekend, or the basement spa program, or the paper filing spa experience. Intersperse the decluttering and organizing with other things you enjoy like taking a spa bath, calling your mother, or watching a video or DVD. Break the task into chunks and take frequent breaks – and set a timer.
Simple, Clean, Green Living – Take a little time to simplify your life by choosing to do just one thing instead of multi tasking. Reduce the complexity of trying to accomplish a long list of items. Pick a few, enjoy them, wallow in them even. And if you’ve been using chemicals in your yard maintenance, consider getting a hoe and joining the Earth Gym instead. There will be plenty of opportunities for fitness when you stop using chemicals.
Perfect Environments for Healthy, Happy Living – A weekend is an environment. It is a block of time that acts as a "container" for things we typically do when we are not at work. It’s usually a busy time of getting things done that we don’t have time to do during the week like laundry, grocery shopping, socializing with friends or family, and working around the house or in the yard.
Just for fun, consider using the entire weekend once a season, or more often if you like, as a mini vacation, spa, retreat, or other themed event to experience something that’s meaningful to you. You may enjoy the luxury of lounging and reading a great big book for an entire weekend. Or you may want to have a writer’s weekend and develop the table of contents for your new book. Or you may want to do nothing but see the sites in your city. Mark your calendar for a special themed weekend sometime this spring. See how much you can enjoy using the weekend environment as a sabbatical, mini vacation, spa, movie marathon, or other fun themed event.
Smoke Now, Quit Later – when you decide that you’re ready to go tobacco free, earmark a weekend and select a really fun theme to help you enjoy the weekend and take your mind a little off the task of quitting smoking. Consider doing something active outside that you would really enjoy. There’s always hiking, bird watching, of golfing. Or just pitch a tent on the river.
The timer just went off. It’s time to file some papers and eat an apple on my deck.
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