Monday, October 26, 2009


I am going to try to be more attentive to my blog. I went through a writer's block and life intervened.

Lately I have been scanning my life to determine where stress is originating. I then try to think of ways to eliminate the stress. This has made a significant difference in the quality of my life-- and surprisingly, it has been small changes that have had the most impact.
Here are some examples:
Sock sorting and matching:

I realized a few days ago that in the morning rush, that I am really stressed when it is time to find matching socks for all of us. We have so many different but similar socks, it drives me crazy! So I decided that this was a project worth investing in. We washed all dirty clothes and sat in front of the TV matching as many as possible.
We are sock rich! This little investment has yielded great results. Pure bliss I tell you! If sock sorting sounds like fun, you can play this game here.

Bath Tub Stop Up:
Another area of stress came from my bathtub being stopped up. I knew from experience that the drain was clogged with hair but the stopper would not unscrew to let me in there to pull the hair out. I was frustrated at my inability to fix the problem and avoided the situation -- for two months or so-- it seemed easier to take quick showers. But, each time I would take a shower, I felt a nagging about it. I would slosh through the water (knee deep) feeling a soap film remain on my legs as I left the tub. Ugh.

Recently, I decided that with all the tenacity I could muster, I would fix the problem --even if that meant I would break the stopper. Isn't it ironic that sometimes solving a problem requires us being willing to break something in the process. Anyway, using my trusty pliers, I used brute force and undid the stopper. This made it possible to remove that drain clogging hair.

At that moment, I experienced pure joy as I watched the water flow down the drain. I set about cleaning the tub, shower curtain and tiles and took a celebratory shower (even though I did not need one). Another stress gone. Yay! I celebrated for a week with glee on my face. It just doesn't take much.

I use these examples only to demonstrate the process I have decided to employ. I realize that there are many stressors little and big that I endure each day--some that I am not even be totally cognizant. So, I have made a commitment to myself to pay more attention and to take a stressor at a time and do something about it.
What is stressing you? Don't overlook the nagging little things. Ask yourself how you can take steps to change these. Sometimes I get stuck in auto pilot mode and lose sight of goals or lose awareness of stressors. These recent lessons have awakened me some and have gently guided me to pay attention.


Frank said...

As you know, I try to be strategic about it. I try to scan the system from a bird's eye point of view to see where it's working and where it's not. I look for bottlenecks where energy is getting clogged up--the socks are a good example of that.

I also look for places where different parts of the system are countering each other.

My tendency is to start 10,000 things at one time, and sometimes it is fun to live in that sort of chaos, but right now I just want to simplify. It's not an empty statement, though, I do intend to actually do it.

Erin said...

Sounds like a threat!!

I am looking to simplify and do little things each day to ease stress. Stress tends to make it real difficult to appreciate what is around me, lose sight of what is important and spend my energy on worry or angst.

I want to play. I want to breathe. I want to spend my energy on possibilities and dreams.

Sarah said...

I have to let you know I just spent my last hour matching socks AND safety pinning dirty socks together :) All because of you Erin!

Anonymous said...

Erin - Five years ago, when I was burning out at a job I had loved, I sat on my bathroom floor and cried as the water stood in the bottom of my shower, refusing to drain even after a bottle of Liquid Plumber. I cried until I could cry no more. My dog Rocky and I walked to the neighborhood grocery store for a second bottle of Liquid Plumber and some marrow bones (his list). By the time, we were back, I knew I could finally release my much-loved but no longer life-giving job... and, as the clogged drain began to bubble and froth and the water finally drained, I felt that same surge of joy you experienced when your shower drained. It remains a truly great moment in my life.

I remember talking with you about stress when I was there in Columbus in October and, though we had just met, I had the sense that you are the kind woman to live her intentions. Congratulations...

See you in January.