Friday, December 21, 2012

Kindness is... Doing one thing at a time.

A few days ago, as I went into my usual pre-holiday panic, I had an opportunity to do a brief meditation on the subject of kindness.  In particular, my thoughts turned to kindness towards oneself, and how often it gets put on the back burner (and, on occasion, off the stove altogether, out the back door and down the stairs).

At this time of year, the mood at Astrejurhof tends to be a bit lively for all the wrong reasons.  Some people's seasonal traditions involve putting up ornaments.  Mine generally involve some noble but questionable attempt to do an Extreme Makeover on the entire house, starting at the last possible minute and going into double overtime... Or until I collapse in a corner in a sweaty, cursing heap with paint in my hair and a back pocket full of drywall screws.

Drywall screws are very sharp things to sit on, by the way.

This year, things were just a little bit different.  I still spent an inordinate amount of time running around to lumberyards, and on more than one occasion caught myself mucking about with drywall mud at a quarter after one in the morning.  I did, however, make a bit of progress in the kindness department with this one simple aphorism:

The greatest kindness you can show yourself is to take things one at a time.

Stay in the moment, and stay with what you're doing.  Multitasking is worse than useless -- It's evil.  In fact, it's technically impossible.  At best, it's task-switching; at worst, it's abandoning work in progress to start something that may not even need to be done.

The more it sunk in, the more I tried to make it work.  Mix one batch of cookie dough before starting another batch.  Take that box all the way to where it's going, instead of leaving it on top of the shoe rack till later.  Finish sanding the corner of the wall all the way to the floor, then do the next corner.

It works.

It works very, very well.

Best of all, I was able to make more realistic time estimates and know which projects not to start.  When my Yule party went 'live' this evening, I didn't have a half-installed electric fireplace in the living room or a pile of lumber on the front porch -- just a clean house, a nicely-set table, and my sanity.

Gleðileg Jól to one and all!