Tax Season & Lent are not the same things, although there are commonalities. For instance, they come around the same time. Tax Season is longer. Also, they both involve giving up things that are important to me so that I can have something else. Lent is about getting rid of crap that keeps me away from God. Tax Season is about working long hours for four months so that I can work fewer hours later. I also enjoy the challenge of interesting tax returns and the short-term companionship of tax clients. But when it comes down to it, it's about giving up spring, family, and myself. It's about working from one crisis to another, because that's how we roll. It's about having my integrity questioned every damn day by someone who ought to know better by now.
Bottom line, it's about keeping me away from God and what I am coming to believe God expects from me.
And this is my choice. And this is something I'm choosing differently this year. I'm still working. There are too many people who are counting on me for now, and (contrary to my boss' opinion) I have a boat load of integrity and feelings of responsibility.
How am I choosing to be different?
Well, right now, it's all theory. I'm sucking out loud at making better choices. I am tired, grumpy, impatient. I keep having mental scenarios in which I deal with situations that not only haven't happened, but probably won't happen. I am angry all the time. Even when I'm faking calm and peace and sincerity.
So, this is the theory:
I am not taking worry home. I admit, I woke up this morning and immediately started to dread going to work. And today is Sunday. And tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment and personal training until about 3. To practice my new happiness project, I played a game and concentrated on digging diamonds instead of crap. Then I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for everything in my life. And I prayed for courage, discernment, and hope. And I drank coffee, got the kids ready for church, and off I went. At church, I was with people I love and who love me. Or at least like me. And I had no patience. I couldn't enjoy the blueberry yum-yum. I worried about things and started crying during one of my favorite hymns. It's a happy hymn too.
Now I'm home and trying to decide whether to read a novel or go to work. The reason I would go to work is that I would (God willing) be alone and I might actually get work done without someone dropping shit on my desk and telling me to handle it now. But I might not. And the thought of getting in the car is making my heart explode in my chest. I am thinking book... or maybe going to Lowe's to buy paint and supplies...
My friend had a stroke. He has recovered and is probably healthier now than he has been in a long time. He told me he has had to let it go. And he has, too. When I get crazy, I try to model his demeanor, hoping that the inside stuff will fall into place. That works better than you'd think. Not so much today, but most days.
And now.. Monday. It struck me that I am filling my time with mindless activity in an effort to distract my brain and make it relax. And that isn't working. Because if I don't have to think about what I'm doing, my mind fills with garbage. The scenarios that won't happen. The scenarios that might happen. Lunch.
So, new theory.
Begin mindless mindfulness. Plan my day, don't go with what I think I might feel like doing. Add something new: discipline. (Insert shades of grey jokes. No wait, don't). Structure. Not too much, or I won't do it. Not too little, or I won't do it. Enough.
Plan what I eat. Not a diet. Crap, I gained five pounds just typing the word. Know what I'm going to eat, make it available, so I don't have to think about it. I can't think about it right now. I'm too depressed. My only option appears to be chocolate and pretzels. Prepare other things. Enough.
Plan to spend time with the people I love, even though all I think I want to do is soak in the bathtub for about a week. Don't invite people to sit in the bathroom while I soak. That's too much. Spend time with people. Not too little not too much. Enough.