White Space – Experiment 1

So.  Norman is out of town.  A is at Sunday School.  I’m home alone in a quiet house thinking hard about what my “white space” time should be.  So far, the only appealing option is a bath.  And at the same time, I’m not really in the mood to get all hot and wrinkly and then get dressed to pick up the kidlet.  Maybe tonight.

I’m mentally walking through the house wondering what I could engage in.  No Xbox (since we got the red circle of death about an hour ago), no Wii, no movies, no TV, no cleaning up.  No cooking, no baking, no cook book reading, no cleaning up.  There isn’t anything to do in the dining room but eat or do work.  Lay on the couch and listen to music … maybe, but no cleaning up.  My office is a more organized disarray than last week, but no desire to sit in there for anything, no cleaning up.  So here I am in the bedroom writing a blog entry because I don’t want to sleep, read or clean up.

I have a lot of trouble sitting still to do nothing.  I can sit still.  As long as I’m engaged in some activity or brain function.  I’m not good at sitting still in silence.  But – who the hell would be?!  My mind races and my body feels guilty for not doing.  Doesn’t help that I feel lousy and doing my best to fight off a cold. 

My original plan was to go to the gym while A was at school.  Perhaps sit in the hot tub for as long as I could stand it.  Feeling crummy, didn’t see that as a wise move.  Not with holidays and pending trip back East. 

So I’m here.  At my writing desk.  Wondering what the hell to do.  I started writing this up thinking I could find the inspiration to fill up that white space.  My brain keeps coming back to laying on the bed.  Let’s see, I’ll try some reading, maybe an episode of Bones.  I do promise not to clean up.

November Quote While Taking Baby Steps

This month’s Quotable Calendar wisdom…

may your life be crowded with unexpected joys 
h. jackson brown jr.

My initial reaction to that is – my life is already crowded, so where is the joy? 

Oh poor me!  Let’s have a pity party for the busy, career mom.  sigh…so OLD news!  Besides, I don’t want to have a pity party.  I want to have a move forward party.  I’m saying baby steps.  That is just enough.  If my baby step is to walk away from my desk for 30 minutes a day to read a book, so be it.  If my other baby step is to scheduled “white space” during my week to do whatever the hell I want when that time arrives, so be it.

Last week I spent two days at the Microsoft Women’s Leadership & Development Conference. (or MSWoCo for those of you following me on twitter) It was pretty intense.  Think 2 days of personal development courses, networking, tips n’ tricks for forward progress at Microsoft.  Tuesday night I was spent.  By Wednesday afternoon I could barely speak complete sentences. 

My brain was on fire.  I would not have traded it for anything.

In my early 20’s I spent a considerable amount of time and money learning how to move through doors and walls I saw as roadblocks in my life.  Individual therapy, group therapy, Context Associated, support groups, like-minded people…  By my late 20’s I was in a pretty good space.  I had a great network around me.  Relatively happy in my job (great mentor/boss)  I went on a dating spree that led me to Norman (my spouse). 

My early 30’s were spent learning about love, relationships and my own commitment issues.  I also got married.  Had a kid.  Bought a house, bought a car, returned to work (isn’t this a TV commercial?) got promoted, got a new job, kid started school…  I found myself in a routine.  Whoops!  What happened to me in all that planning and scheduling?  I saw a therapist for awhile that talked to me about recharging my batteries.  Things like “nights off” from my family and house, “single girl weekends”, girls night out, book club, spa visits, reading, boundaries, etc etc etc.

Yep.  So…

That rejuvenating part continues to be my personal struggle on a daily, hour to hour basis.  For instance, it’s Monday and I have not walked away from my desk to read.  Granted, I am updating my blog instead.  I think about all the stuff that “has” to get done tonight and where I can figure in some time to breathe.  I don’t think I need time management courses, I think I need lessons on how to deal with clutter a little bit longer.  Not days or weeks mind you.  More like, if I don’t clean the dishes tonight, is it really so bad?  They will still be dirty tomorrow (OCD brain kicked right to – sure still dirty, and more difficult to clean).  Yep, this is one place where I need to do some work.

Lastly…so I can speak them all to the world and commit to all you public people out there, here is the list of commitments I made to myself at the conference last week:

    1. Read every day
    2. Schedule White Space, 2-4 hours a week (maybe even during the week when I “should” be working, how novel!)
    3. Look into Jennifer Louden retreats here in WA.
    4. Look into Dr Pamela Peeke Zion retreat.  Particularly since I made that same commitment 2 years ago at the last Women’s Conference

That feels like something I can bite off and maintain…

    1. Already on Jennifer’s mailing list to hear about the next retreat. 
    2. Have looked at Dr Peeke’s site, will sign up on mailing list soon. 
    3. My first White Space time was yesterday.  No agenda, no plan…Stopped…Listened…folded laundry and caught up on Heroes.  Yay!
    4. Reading…been doing well on the personal reading part.  Now to throw in some professional books as well.  How serendipitous that Never Check Email in the Morning by Julie Morgenstern arrived today from the MS Library.

It began last week.  It continues today.