My coach Karen McMullen shared with me a process called the Placement Technique, so called because, when the idea first came through, the only item available to scribble down the details was a placemat. When she shared her story about successfully using this technique at a trying time in her life, I laughed out loud. It was a definite LOL (and that hasn’t been happening a lot lately).
Here it is, in all its glorious simplicity:
1) Take a sheet of paper (or a placemat if you are in a restaurant and paper is not available).
2) Draw a line down the middle of the paper.
3) At the top of the left hand side, write the words For the Universe to Handle (feel free to use God or Great Spirit or Creator or All That Is or whatever language you are most comfortable with).
4) Top right’s heading will be What I Need to Handle.
5) Make the respective lists.
Simple, right? Ha! Step #5 is both the hardest and the most fun IF you can allow yourself to fully enter into the spirit of this exercise and stop taking yourself so seriously – that would be a major challenge for Yours Truly.
I was so inspired and tickled by Karen’s story AND I was so tired of the same old pattern of doing, doing, working, grinding myself into a useless noodle (which always results in illness and discontent) that I decided to try it for myself.
Here’s my list.
For God to Handle
1. Line up all the perfect people to buy this book (that would be Leaf).
2. Find the perfect person to market Leaf at a price I can easily afford (thus freeing me up to do what I do best and what I love, which is write and create).
For Me to Handle
1. Cherish myself.
What the heck does that mean?
What immediately made their way on the list were all the usual things:
drink lots of water
get enough sleep/rest
and then this showed up,
I sat for awhile wrestling with the idea that I was asking God to take care of all the hard stuff that I did not enjoy doing while I lollygagged around and had fun. How utterly ridiculous, selfish and irresponsible was that?
And then I realized that I didn’t even know what ‘having fun’ meant. So the next thing on my list was:
figure out what is fun for me
Then I had another spurt:
write, write, write
have tea with friends
make more friends
laugh . . . a lot
Another pause while I thought about that, and then,
find out what tickles my funny bone and tickle it regularly
And then I sat again for a bit, checking in to see if anything was missing and one last thing bubbled to the surface:
That one felt the most delicious of them all.
As I slowly get my voice and energy back, I’ve been contemplating this list and thinking deeply about what I love, because what I love will ultimately lead me to discovering what is truly fun for me and what makes me laugh AND I am also coming to believe that God wants us to have and do and be who and what we love. That the things we love and that make us dance with joy are the very things (S)he wants for us, the very things (S)he created us for.
That’s a hard thing for this driven, hard working, perfectionistic human do-ing to embrace.
But I’m doing my best, because my old way of looking at God and the world and my place in it has not served me, or anyone around me, very well.
So I’ve started another list that I will share with you as the weeks go by in the hopes that my list will inspire you to make your own list and to start incorporating more and more of the things you love into your life.
Five Things I Love (and that I made sure I experienced this week)
1) Amaryllis plants.
I love how they quickly they grow, as if they couldn’t bear to waste even a moment in their desire to stretch and grow and blossom into the light.
I bought two a couple weeks ago – one for me and one for my mom-in-law as a Christmas gift – but I’m going to have to release hers from its prison and buy another one for her closer to Christmas. Look at how determined it is to get out its box! (Hmmm – there’s an interesting metaphor.)
2) Leisurely dinners with my family where there is time to connect and really talk about things. One of our conversations this week was about ‘what God looks like to you.’ It was veeerrrry interesting. (As you can probably tell, I’m doing a lot of contemplating about God these days as I try to make my way back to Hir)
3) Walks with my friend, Yvonne. We always have the best talks as we make our way to the end of Lover’s Lane and back. I love those walks but hadn’t had time for them during the self-inflicted slave-to-the-book schedule I had created for myself these last few months. We walked on Wednesday and it was wonderful.
4) Cozy nights in the living room with my family: a fire crackling, each of us with our book to read or to sketch in, Gabriel playing the piano. It is the best kind of contentment. And we did it three out of four evenings this week!
5) Attending the Didsbury High School Band Concerts. I sat in the gym last night, surrounded by people who have become good friends, and listened to heart-stirring music played by our sons and daughters. I was filled to the brim with gratitude that they (and we) have this amazing opportunity right here in our little town and for Kirk Wassmer, their teacher, who fills every square inch of that huge space with his passionate love of music. And there was an extra special moment when my son stepped deeper into his passion by taking microphone in hand and standing so courageously before us all to share a Rudyard Kipling poem. Brimming. Absolutely brimming.
So . . . these are five things I love and that I allowed myself to fully enjoy this week.
Now it’s your turn.
What do you love?
And are you willing to give them to yourself?