Monday, April 16, 2012

Enjoy Life


“Enjoy life.”

Two words. Instructions given to me by my agent (aka momentary life coach) recently. Easy enough to digest, right? To heed every waking moment…maybe not so much.

I’ve already confessed to you my keen ability to turn thoughts over in my mind with intensity that rivals Uncle Bob’s best cracklin’ producing pig roast. A simple “I like your shirt” can get dissected more than Freddy the frog with his pinned arms and legs splayed out on a 7th grade science table reeking of formaldehyde.

I grasp worries about the future as though they’re a dog I’m running to catch up with on a leash. Conversely, I scoop up reflections of the past as though they’re that same dog’s droppings. Stuck carrying them with me more often than I’d like, for longer than I’d like. My frolicking imagination (active thought life), the leaping and dancing between time, space, and character’s heads for that matter, sets me up for life as a writer. 

However, all this to say I often find it incredibly difficult to remain still. To live in the moment. To slow down. To appreciate the now. To enjoy life.

This has been a lifelong quest—this grounding myself in the here and now, living wholly present and engaged in my current surroundings. Simmering the mental fireworks to listen to gentle noises that are so soft, so much like whispers they could almost not be considered sounds at all.

And my agent knows this about me. This comforts me. She also knows what awaits, the harried schedules I’ll face, the deadline pressures. So she passes along the kindest truth she can think of, rooted in experience, expressed gently, but with some push behind it.

“Enjoy life.”

A blended Yin and Yang, both encouragement and warning.

So you know what I did this weekend? I gave myself permission.

How about you, is it difficult for you to slow down and savor moment to moment? To remember to live in the here and now?

*It’s animal farm here today. Notice my analogies included: a pig, a frog, and a dog?
**photo by flickr

55 comments:

  1. Ah, Rachelle gives great advice. I've struggled with that same thing, though I feel I've done better over the past few years. What I've learned is that being able to live in the moment is directly related to how much we really trust God with our future. Kind of like manna and the children of Israel. They were only allowed to gather enough for each day, except before the Sabbath. Then came the real test. Could they trust God to make what they'd gathered last for 2 days? It's the same with life. Each day has enough worry of its own. We have to live in the now, not in the "what's to come." And just knowing that about yourself is a huge step in the right direction! :)

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    1. Yep, it keeps coming back to that trust thing, doesn't it? Excellent point, Anne! You nailed it.

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  2. Definitely difficult. I have to make myself plan special time with my family to just enjoy.

    Thanks so much for the reminder, Wendy!

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    1. And when I plan time like that they generally flop. I find the real moments to savor sneak up on me. Always need to be paying attention, willing to stop at a moment's notice.

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  3. I get where you're coming from! I'm totally driven, especially when it comes to my writing, so it can be well-nigh impossible to "unplug" and stop platform-building/revising/interviewing or whatever I have on my plate at the moment. Yes, it's good to have that agent that will tell you to slow down and take a break! And a husband who does that, too!

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    1. My husband tries, I'll give him that. There's something very satisfying but self-defeating in the process of multitasking for me sometimes.

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  4. Pretty sure you just described me. I am not good at letting go. I was talking to my mom this weekend about the mountain of things on my To-Do List that is ever increasing and how I wished I had the life of someone who could take my child to the zoo on a Sat. instead of doing chores.
    She reminded me the chores will always be there but these precious years with my kiddo won't!
    I think next weekend I'm going to take this advice and let the To-Do List go and enjoy my family!

    With that said, This week I'm going to squeeze as much productivity out as possible. I have a writing schedule to maintain and a goal to achieve: get an agent and get published!

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    1. Chores? Not computing. ;) Glad I'm not alone in this. Let's learn to savor together, eh?

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  5. Yes, yes, yes! This is me to a T. It's hard for me to relax. It's hard for me to sit down and NOT think about the future, about all the things I have to do and get done and yada yada yada.

    But I'm trying to focus on God instead of achieving. His will for me is not to be harried all the time, but to live in peace. To work hard, yes, but to live abundantly.

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    1. And it's an odd deal b/c I can be sitting reading a book and my mind's still finding a way to make a million connections and I'm practically creating lists as I read. It's that crazy acrobatic thought life...I tell ya.

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  6. Oh sister, it is difficult. And it doesn't get any easier!! Love, love, love this two-word, yet so incredibly powerful advice.

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    1. Yeah, I liked & appreciated the power behind it. Knowing it doesn't get any easier makes the advice that much more powerful now.

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  7. Sometimes it's easy to savor and sometimes I'm moving so fast, I blink and the day is over. after reading Ann Voskamp's book, I'm reminded more to stop and really look at things more. I think it is something we have to learn to do.

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    1. Her book did (and still does) wonders for me in my quest for stillness. Peace.

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  8. Deep breath. You're so right. Some days I'm just running to catch myself, others I flake out completely and do just about nothing. What I need to find is some balance of accomplishing tasks and yet reflecting on my life.

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    1. Balance? Not computing. ;) Someday, right?

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  9. Great thoughts as always. :) Although I think I tend to be the opposite. Sometimes I take so much time having fun and enjoying my day to day that I have to remind myself that the things I want to accomplish take work! :)

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  10. Wonderful advice! And something I constantly need to be reminded.

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    1. I agree! It certainly came at a good time for me from a trusted source.

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  11. Yeah, I definitely get sucked into looking ahead and forget to enjoy NOW. Your agent's advice reminds me of my Mom...she likes to ask me, "Are you enjoying this? Are you having fun? Do you have peace?" It's her nice, usually subtle but sometimes direct, way of saying, "Dude, chill, deep breath, enjoy. TRUST."

    Agent or mom, I love when we get encouragement right when we need.

    Hope you enjoy today!

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    1. I think it was my agent's way of saying "Dude, chill, deep breath, enjoy. Trust." Received. Love encouragement like this...truth!

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  12. I like my day to day life, but there are times when I forget to enjoy it. I have to be intentional about it! :)

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    1. I have to be intentional about so many things like, say showering for instance. Might want to do that sometime in the next few days, righto, Jessica. Can't blow that one off forever now can I?

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  13. My life is super busy right now, but I still enjoy it. I know this phase will pass in the next decade, so I try to savor the craziness as much as I can!

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    1. Savoring the craziness, now if that isn't a blog post title in the making I don't know what is! So true. My kiddos will grow.

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  14. I'll never forget something my Gramma told me when I was 13. "You kids can't wait to grow up and then you grow up and you missed your whole childhood. ENJOY TODAY!" Those words stuck like a porcupine quill in my backside. In fact, I still can't get it out. Needless to say, I vowed at 13 to cherish even the little things during a "normal" day. It's SUCH a fulfilling way to live. Of course, I don't ALWAYS have that perspective, but my Gramma's wisdom sticks nonetheless. Great post, Wendy!

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    1. Woot Gramma brilliance at its best! Love this. And love the quill. A blessed quill to have stuck there I'd say.

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  15. Such great advice! And yes, it's so difficult for me to slow down and enjoy the moment. I think that's why I'm constantly reprioritizing my life, to make sure I'm specifically making time to enjoy the little things.

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    1. What a good practice to do regularly--re-prioritizing. Good stuff to get down on paper.

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  16. Great advice. Sometimes we just need to stop, look around, and enjoy. It goes so quickly.

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    1. Bueller? Bueller? Nine times. Sorry 80s movie quoting is over now.

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  17. Great advice for the waiting game, my friend. I'm in it, too! On one hand I feel so driven to produce more, but on the other I just feel tired. It's wonderful to take days off, where I can enjoy life, my family, friends and the world around me. We're told so often to "Write every day! Write write write!" Thanks for the reminder that it's okay to take a deep breath every now and then. :)

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    1. Breathing is good. As well as I work under pressure, it sure is freeing to take some of that pressure off myself every once in a while. Can't wait to hear your news soon!

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  18. I'm so glad you took her advice. I could hear the change in your voice between Friday and Saturday. Hmm, I'm thinking up an "enjoy life" homework assignment I could give you. Does that make me weird...or just obnoxious? :)

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    1. As long as it doesn't include writing the same sentence over and over on a chalkboard I'm game. Assign away. And yes, I relaxed this weekend. Go figure!

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  19. What a refreshing post with a very important message, Wendy, one I need to heed. Rachelle is wise, and so are you.

    You're also an amazing writer. I love, love, love how you put words together. Your similes and metaphors in this post are beyond clever. I can't wait until the day I get to read an entire book filled with your amazing writing.

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    1. Keli, You are a consistent blessing in my life! I thank God for you. And yes, Rachelle is a wise one.

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  20. One of your most beautiful posts, Wendy. I loved this.

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    1. Thanks Heather. Yours really hit home with me today too. Heart and mind.

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  21. I'm so glad you gave yourself permission to do so this weekend! Wendy, your words transport and move me. Be prepared for a very busy future with deadlines because it's just a matter of time, friend. In the meantime, your agent is very wise. :)

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    1. So cool you were moved. Makes so much of this worth it.

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  22. Deadlines have the ability to suck the life right out of the here and now.
    And so I have to force myself to push away from the computer -- the reality of my deadlines -- and remember that here and now won't be waiting for me later.
    Does that even make sense?
    It's late ... and yeah, I'm tired.
    But I appreciate your post.
    Writing is part of my life, part of who I am. But it's not all of my life. Not all of who I am. And I don't want it to take all my time, all my effort.
    Even though when a deadline looms, it feels that way.

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    1. Trying to learn this and let it soak in good before I'll really be in the midst of it.

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  23. Man, can I relate! Having twins has cured me as much as I think I can be cured. I had to learn how to take one day at a time and live in the here and now if I wanted to survive, because once I lost that perspective it was game over for my emotions and stress level.

    Now as I learn more and more about the writing industry, I face the same dilemma. Take it a day at a time...

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    1. Aw...twins. And I bet that would be a great perspective bringer!

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  24. This is such a great reminder of letting go of the things you can't control and just enjoy the here and now.

    I'm going to try and do that more often in every part of my life not just writing.

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    1. I seriously need to work on it in every area as well. We'll let go together!

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  25. I hear you. My mind is ever racing, and it always seems there is something to do, think about, or working to steal my peace and joy. I have done better of late at slowing down and savoring the moments. It hit me like a ton of bricks on one particular day when my kids were in their teens. Since then, I've practiced it better, and somehow it does seem to come a bit more easily as the years march on.

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    1. I think I'm getting better at it. At least I hope I am. Life is such a teacher! ;)

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  26. Hi Wendy -

    My written to-do list is only rivaled by the one in my head.

    Last Saturday, I ignored the screaming have-to's, and Mom and I took off for the day. We enjoyed a leisurely drive, marveled at the spring blossoms, and experienced real life.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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    1. Love those kind of drives! And you are so right about the dueling to-do lists. Doesn't matter if it's written or not, it's coming at me.

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  27. I stuggle with this too, always looking ahead, seldom savoring the moment. Days with kids are insanity and nights are restless. So often I find myself filling in the blanks that follow the milestones... when they sleep through the night, then I'll have the energy to slow down. When he starts talking, then things won't be so difficult. When we get past this one rough path, then I'll be able to relax. All of those thoughts rob us of the beautiful chaos of the moment.

    We can't rewind the clock. We will never get those moments back. And as I can attest to now, looking at my children who are growing up too fast, time truly flies.

    In the words of my favorite 80's movie icon "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might miss it."

    Loved the post, Wendy. Great perspective!

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    1. Ha! Quoted Mr. Bueller above. This post reminded me of him. I want to be remembered for "living deep and sucking out all the marrow of life."

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  28. Wendy I sure want to. I want to smell the dandelion my preschooler proudly hands me. I desire to hear my 13 year old's heart. I long to stay connected to my 16 yo. I need to see my kindergartner's dance of joy in the carpool line. The simple moments of my life pass me by if I don't slow down and capture them in my heart. I want to enjoy my life!

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    1. Cheers to that! We can work on it together--the savoring! Loved your post over at my dear friend Katie's today!

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