Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 14: Little beads of time

I've been slightly obsessed with beads lately. A couple of weeks back, the Sunday paper had a coupon to a craft store, and it dawned on me that if I found myself in dire need of a cobalt blue necklace, or earrings to match my new green T-shirt, I had it within my power to make it happen. (In my mind, I'm a jewelry superhero, in training to respond to sparkle-related problems around the globe...)

So it caught my attention recently when a friend used a bead-related metaphor to describe how she gets through tough days. "Sometimes," she said, "it's just about getting through these tiny chunks of time. You pray, you talk to God, you distract yourself, you push ahead and keep going. Because once you've strung together enough of these chunks, you find you've got a pretty good day..."

It's true, right? When I think back over a good day, usually it's a string of nice moments rather than one super-phenomenal thing that happened. It's a parking space in front of the post office, an encouraging email from a friend, a phone call with my sister, a sense that God is near... These are the beads that make up a day I'm grateful for, one that's fun to live. Conversely, it's not usually a big hurt or disappointment that ruins a day. More often than not, it's a series of small frustrations, or the overriding fear that nothing will ever get better and my hopes are futile. If I string those thoughts together, the beads will choke me. No thanks.

Today, I'm working this metaphor. I'm approaching life like an Add-A-Bead necklace. (As the website indicates, it's like, totally 80s...and the 80s are back, so check me out, making spirituality hip?!?) I'll pray, talk to God, distract myself, focus... I'll take on the ten minute chunks, rather than trying to micro-manage the whole 24 hours. And today just might be a pretty good day.

I'll start by reflecting on these two inspiring quotes from great artists of deep social influence:

"No matter how vacant and vain, how dead life may appear to be, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, who knows something, will not be put off so easily." --Vincent Van Gogh

"Life is too short to blend in." --Paris Hilton

They're both right.

With these gems in mind, I need your help! Leave a comment with your suggestions for reclaiming the chunks of time where the bad thoughts seem to be winning. What do you focus on--and I love silly ideas best--to give you a little lift & life during the day?


Gretchen said...

This is also one of the ways of coping that Therese Bouchard posted today on her "Beyond Blue" blog. Confirmation to take it in little chunks rather than chuck the whole thing down the drain. Thanks!

Anna said...

The phrase "in the course of time" is used repeatedly in 2 Samuel as David navigates his purpose and role as King. He converses and waits for God just like we/I am trying to do.

The last year or so, some days I literally had to live my life minutes or one hour at a time. Looking to the future meant nothing further than what I'd eat for lunch. And in planning for lunch, someone may have called and made plans for dinner. It all added up so that today I can say "last year" while being in a better place.

I like the analogy.

Sarakastic said...

One of the biggest changes in my life as I was praying for peace during the last few years of 40 days of faith was that I was able to move to my dream area which was always unobtainable because since it is such a beautiful place to live it's also crazy expensive. I was blessed enough to get an apartment with a seven million dollar view.

Now, I'm not like nature girl because nature is where there aren't any bathrooms or stores but ever since I moved here a year ago and I start to get upset I just have to look out my window and just see this majestic beauty and think "ohh pretty". In fact my friends and family in mid rant have really just been like 'Ok, go look out the window". I love the bead analogy because it uses sparkly things and again that's something I love.

larramiefg said...

How about not focusing on anything. I take a20-minute power nap and awaken feeling as though I've restarted the day.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes have to do hour by hour. Life is pretty rough right now and I'm praying for God to do something BIG this week. Day by day, hour by hour, He's my only hope.

Holly said...

I don't have suggestions for what to focus on, but Lent 2009 I did a Brain Fast, and allowed myself not to wrestle with things in my mind. (Because I'm a classic over-thinker, gross impulsiveness was not going to be a danger.) More feeling, more intuition, more action, less cerebellum! It freed me up so much! Anytime I had a struggle or a question or even a logistical issue at work, I'd lift it up to God and not try to figure it out. I'm happy to report that my life did not crash around me, and I was so much happier, not having to be inside my own head all the time. If troubles are made worse by thinking about them, then such a fast can be helpful.

Jane said...

These words make me think of Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music when she sings 'My favorite Things'....
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

For me, I think of my nieces, Grace and Katie, who are 3 and 5 years old and who I only see a couple of times a year because they live in the UK where I'm from. I think of them dancing around in their new dresses and playing with their friends in the garden. I think of the quiet that comes over Manhattan when the snow falls and covers the ground. I think of the sound of the waves on the beach as the sea pulls away from the shore. I think of ice cream as it melts in the heat of summer and has to be licked fast! I think of the smell of orange blossom in parks at night that fill my whole being with a sense of comfort and the sheer pleasure of shopping in the flea market with a good friend.......And I think of how blessed I am to know God.

Kristi E. said...

Yesterday, in the middle of wrestling with cell physiology for an upcoming quiz, I just couldn't take it anymore, so I spent ten minutes on Youtube watching mini dacshund puppies chase each other, jump into hot tubs, and attack themselves in the mirror. Then I made myself go to a previously-planned study group because I knew I would be happier and more effective around other people. Humor, support, a bit of gentle self-discipline...all help me immensely. Just my $.02.

vee said...

In reading the posts I realized I could relate to the Julie Andrews song 'My Favorite Things', because whenever I "think of my favorite things," well "and then I don't feel so bad." :}

I just need to work on doing this more often, in the midst of my toughest moments.