I’ve always been one to go with my gut and do what feels good when it feels right. I follow my nose, so to speak. This makes me a very creative, artistic type. But in the real world this looks a whole lot like I’m selfish doing what I want, when I want. Having a strong intuitive side (you know that inner, crazy voice I was telling you about?) has its positive and negative points. It is excellent to have a built in GPS system about where to go next. Not so great when someone needs you to turn in a direction that feels like going into a deep, black abyss.
Best to find a way to navigate the two simultaneously (the needs of others and the intuitive voice).
I have spent my life learning how to do things the way they are expected of me. I can do what I am told and I can give myself away to others easily, especially if I think it is the right thing to do. Yet, it is only recently that I’ve begun to explore following my nose wholeheartedly. Or following my heart whole-nosedly, which ever comes first.
The trouble with the voice of the gut is that, for me anyway, it is terrible at making plans. It couldn’t write a schedule if its life depended on it. It needs space, time, maybe money (all privileges, I agree) and a long, long leash. You have to kind of let it wander and sniff around until it finds a trail it wants to follow.
But along with this crazy, talking stomach, I am sort of a control freak. No, lets rephrase that. I am addicted to and depend entirely on control in every aspect of my life. I like to know what is going to happen next. I like predictability. I like figuring out how things work and find out what the rules are. This made me an excellent scientist and a diligent government worker.
In all of this wandering lately I am starting to desperately crave a schedule in my days. I have been able to commit to a regular exercise routine that has given me enormous amounts of energy, confidence and endurance in everything I do, in a very short amount of time (less than a month?). I believe the reason why I have stuck with my routine is that I built in a lot of flexibility and was willing to adapt as potential set backs showed their faces. I knew how many times in a week, I carved out a couple of sure-thing blocks in the day that I could make it happen with a little inner pushing and then…followed my nose.
Now I need this kind of structure in my work projects. I have been making lists of things I want to accomplish. Songs I wish to record in my home studio. Submissions to magazines. People I need to ask advice from. More research I want to do.
I need to put one foot in front of the other and make sure I see it all through, regularly, every week. I need a plan. I need to know there is a beginning, middle and end so that I have something to measure when all this sniffing is over. Without it, it is impossible to have a sense of accomplishment. And us control freaks need to know they’ve gotten something done in a day.
It was my husband who suggested I approach it just like my (recently successful) exercise regime. Map out a few potential blocks of time in a day that will work, establish the number of blocks I want to fill in week and then be flexible and adapt as needed. I have written every bit of physical activity I have accomplished in a notebook this past month. I believe it will work really well to do this for my ‘work’ related projects as well.
My brother once suggested that I write down all of the home renovations, farming activities and child-care related jobs I did in a week. Then he said to attach a dollar figure as a way of knowing that I was in fact still earning an ‘income’. There was the dry walling I did last fall in the living room that we had been quoted over a thousand dollar to get done. These things added up. And my little A-type needed to see them on paper. Otherwise I felt like a floating bubble with no purpose and direction. But the trouble is that I can attach no dollar figure to these new endeavours. Not yet anyway.
As animal-keepers, parents, daughters, friends, sisters, women, humans, we all have to set up our lives so that we can respond to the needs of those around us, often quickly. The world never stops needing us. But we can build in little islands of refuge along the way where we can catch our breath, map out a plan, give ourselves some structure to a life of offering to the world. It seems, for me anyway, this structure needs a plan.
So it is time to put a framework around my intuitive wanderings. Not necessarily boundaries, but a bit of a leash, some control, some structure, a schedule and a reporting system.
Government scientist geek? Meet creative, artist person. We’ve got plans to make together.