Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Zoom Zoom : Embracing Limitations Part Two

Getting out of my own head is one of the hardest things for me to do. 

I have way too much going on in there.

You know those times when you begin to Google which flowers hold up in direct sunlight, and two hours later you find yourself with 15 tabs open on your browser and you are all worked up over the amount of fluoride in your local drinking water? That's what it's like to be inside my head. All day. Every day.

It is exhausting.

For example, right now some of the tabs open on the internet browser of my mind are: 

* getting to bed early tonight
* friends I want to call
* there are so many people I miss

* this house needs to be cleaned
* need to do taxes
* remedies for seasonal allergies
* dog training
* scheduling A/C maintenance
* front yard needs attention
* baby's ongoing diaper rash
* way overdue for a haircut
* did I pay too much for the shoes I just bought

These are just a sampling from the smorgasbord that is my mind. My hunch is that this is how a lot of us function. (Especially us women...I think we are hard wired this way to an extent.) Often when I stop to look at the smorgasbord, the never-ending list of demands, I become paralyzed. I cannot possibly do it all, so how can I do any of it? Where do I even begin? This overwhelmed, paralyzed state is all too familiar to me.

Then, out of the blue the other day, this thought dawned on me: Zoom. There is always going to be a laundry list of things I could spend my time and energy on. What I need to do is Zoom In on some things, and Zoom Out from others. For some reason when I thought of it in terms of taking a photograph, it suddenly seemed attainable. Staying in the so-overwhelmed-I-am-paralyzed stage gets me nowhere. In fact, it just drains the energy I could be using to Zoom In on getting something done.

So, in that moment I identified the things I needed to Zoom In on. They were very few: my and my family's health (we are all recovering from weeks of being ill), and positive thoughts and affirmations. The things I did that day needed to be related to one of these things. I believed that if I focused on these things, the other necessary parts of my day would naturally fall into place. This is more than a "to-do" list or finding my "big rocks". This is a way to see my days, and my life. While some days tasks like "do taxes" might be on my Zoom In list, I need to purposefully make room for these things by Zooming Out on other things.

Closing all those other browser tabs is a scary thing to do. What if I forget about something? What if something important gets neglected? This is exactly why I need to close them. I am so easily distracted. I must be ruthless about clearing out cobwebs and simplifying down to what is essential for me that day. I am not limitless. (See my original post on embracing limitations here.) I have a very specific amount of mental, physical, and emotional energy allotted to me each day; therefore, I must Zoom Out from some things so that I can have the CHOICE of where to focus my energy.

I needed to Zoom Out from Facebook. I needed to Zoom Out from self put-downs about all the things that have been neglected while I've been sick. I needed to Zoom Out from other people's opinions of me (including Superwoman's). I also took a minute to set a few simple, reasonable, attainable goals for myself for the week. This kind of concrete goal-setting and intentional thinking is not something I'm in the habit of doing. It doesn't come naturally to my personality type. But, it felt SO good when I had these few things written down in my journal and had a little light shed on the path in front of me, showing me where I wanted to go.

The day I came up with and implemented this method was a great day for me! It felt easy, it felt right, and it felt like me. I realize that this will not be my every day. Many days things happen to us that thwart even our best efforts at Zooming. But, this is how I hope to handle a lot of my days. This will help my daily and weekly flow immensely.

As I reflect on these ideas, it occurs to me that this is simply part of learning about adulthood. Maybe these are things everyone else already knows and does regularly. Not me. This girl, even at age 31, is still transitioning from being a child to being an adult, and maybe that will be true for the rest of my life. But for now, I am content with my one recent lesson about taking a good picture, and leading a cleaner, simpler, more contented life.


  1. Great Rachel! I love reading your blog. Zoom in. Zoom out. Very practical and needed for everyday.

    Thanks! Sue