Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Living intentionally

Living intentionally? What that have to do with being cheap or green? Well, I am cheap with time. This sounds cliche, but really, all we do have is time. I guard mine fiercely! I don't want to spend any of it frivolously or wastefully.

I read a lot of "mom" blogs and so frequently there are complaints of not having enough time and drowning in a multitude of chores. When I am in my last minutes of my life, I don't want to regret spending time on unending chores and errands...I want to remember time well spent with family and loved ones and moments of my own quiet solitude.

There is a sort of mental trap in which you feel like a hamster on a wheel and you can't get off. It's important to realize that you do have a choice in the matter. The key word here is CHOICE. You really have to look at your life and stop thinking about the day when you'll eventually have less to do. It's not going to "just happen"; you have to CHOOSE to do less.

Think about what you really value...I mean, if you don't do laundry today, are you really going to remember that 10 years down the line? But if you choose to do something lovely with your kids today, you will remember that. So why put so much importance on the unimportant?

A year or two ago, I found a book called "Take Your Time: Finding Balance in a Hurried World"by Eknath Easwaran. This, for me, was a life changing book. The author talks about slowing down, focusing on one thing at a time and doing it with real intention. He also talks about choosing what you do wisely. Here's an excerpt that really made an impression on me:

"...I have written [this book] for those who want to get the most of life by gaining freedom from the forces that hurry and hassle them through each day. The Buddha called this intentional living. It is the opposite of reflex living, which is scarcely living at all.

Over many years, I have found that for most of us the first step toward living intentionally is to slow down...and gain the capacity to make wise choices every day- choices of how we use our time, of where we place our resources and love."

Here's how to be cheap with your time:
Realize you don't have to do it all. Really.


Alissa said...

This is DEFINITELY how I try to live. I'm on a constant quest to simplify my life, and only include the things that are most important to me. Some people make fun of how organized I try to be, how caefully I stick to my schedule, etc., but what they don't realize is that by being organized and simplifying, I don't have to think about redundant things like laundry, meals, cleaning, etc., because they're more or less on auto pilot. I aim to have all of my chores finished by 10 am. That frees up my energy to focus on my children for the rest of the day. If my life was chaotic, I would be stressed, and not much fun to be around. You're so right, it is absolutely a choice. Each day, as I go through my cleaning chores, I ask myself "how can I make this easier next time", which leads me to be more ruthless with purging, etc. The less stuff we have, the less we have to clean. The less we have to clean, the quicker it goes, and the easier our lives get. :)

Love this post.

Christine said...

I agree that a little time spent planning pays off big later on!

Ka Nani Essentials said...

Wow - what a GREAT post!! Thanks for sharing this gentle reminder - that TIME is all we really have control over!!

Here's to Intentional Living!!