Burnout is nature's way of telling you, you've been going through the motions, your soul has departed; you're a zombie, a member of the walking dead, a sleepwalker. False optimism is like administrating stimulants to an exhausted nervous system. Sam KeenOn the weekend, I was giving into false optimism. My list of To Do's was stretched out longer than Pinocchio's nose. I was lying to myself that I could 'get it all done' before the jolly old fat man squeezed through the chimney in a cloud of soot because I'd forgotten to have it cleaned out.
'Something's gotta give before I cave in' was the litany dancing through my head all muddled up with visions of sugar plums and fairy queens riding on a frosty white sleigh with flat tires being dragged through the mud by eight tiny reindeer.
I tried asking Christmas to wait. But, wouldn't you know it? The calendar pages are immune to my exhortations to flip back a few weeks so that I could have a 'do over' and get done the things I should have done six weeks ago if I wanted the Martha Stewart Christmas of my imaginings. Inexorably, the calendar pages kept flipping. Another day and another, constantly bringing 'the big day' closer as I checked over my list and found more to do than time to do it in.
At this busy time of year, it is easy to lose sight of 'love and joy' as the pressures of getting Christmas in order take over my remembering to be filled with goodwill towards men. I could feel burnout encroaching upon my well-being. I was testy. My sense of humour flagging. And, I was taking myself waaay too seriously.
I needed some healthy self-care. Christmas may be fast approaching, but I was taking the joy out of its arrival.
And so, with my list unattended, with presents to buy and things to do, I did the only thing a woman can do when faced with too much to do. I took to my bed for a day of indolence. Yup. Admidst the hundred and one things yet to do, I gave into the need to take care of me and curled up with a good book. Okay, not that good a book. Rather than read one of the countless 'must reads' that stand on my bedside table reminding me of all the things I need to learn to become a 'perfect' human being, I tucked into a good ole' spy novel. Me and Jason Bourne. We're like, soulmates. I dig him. He can save the world 'from sin and toil', and pave the way to 'tiding's of comfort and joy' without messing a hair on his head while disarming nuclear bombs and women of dubious character all in one deft slight of hand.
Sam Keen said, "We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly."
I surrendered and fell in love on Saturday. I had been looking at my world through its imperfections and coming up wanting on my list of what's working and what's not perfect in my life. I was looking for perfection and missing out on the beauty of my own imperfections and the imperfections of those I love. Just ask C.C. I wanted him to be perfect even though I fell in love with him and all his imperfections. They're so human. So endearing. So loving.
After a day of allowing myself to wallow in a good dose of self-pity (and Jason Bourne's baby blues) I awoke yesterday morning fired up. I hit the grocery store at the crack of dawn (did you know it's open twenty-four hours a day right now?). Was home by just after nine and had my mince meat tarts in the oven by 11. By evening, I'd baked another batch of Shortbread, had four vegetable dishes in the freezer ready for Christmas dinner, and had cleaned the house. I even managed to hang a couple of paintings, C.C. hung the new towel racks in the bathroom and put up a table in the kitchen for all the Christmas goodies. And, I did it all with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.
Sometimes, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. I may not have the front steps adorned with ice blocks filled with the words Love, Faith and Joy created out of holly and ivy, or tiny hand-crafted origami placecards ready by Christmas dinner, but what I do have is a heart full of gratitude and eyes wide open to the beauty of the imperfections of those I love.
Reality is, in my imperfect way I will create a perfectly loving Christmas surrounded by the one perfect thing in my life. Love.
The question is: What are you filling your heart with? Tension and stress over what's yet to be done by Christmas morn, or love and joy for all there is that fills your life with wonder of the beautiful imperfections around you?