We have lots of choices about how we spend our time.
Some of us like to be social.
Some of us like to be out and about.
Some of us like to work.
Some of us like to be relaxed.
For me, I like to spend time on my work and my family, and what I’ve come to understand is that when you’re really committed to something, there isn’t a lot of room for much else.
Thus, I glean time: I actively gather and select and choose those commitments that hold personal value to me, from the larger crop of what’s available.
I don’t do “shoulds” any more.
I don’t do peer pressure.
I know what I hold as valuable.
I gather that.
I glean time, so that I can put my attention on what’s most important to me.
Of course, we aren’t always in a passage of our life where this can happen immediately. During the years I had four kids at home and several jobs, I had to do a lot of things I didn’t like, all the time.
At first, I just ran on overwhelm and adrenaline.
But later, as choices came up, I started to make them. After being overwhelmed by the schedule of competitive soccer and basketball with two older kids, I said no to competitive sports for the two younger ones. After being drained by the pressure to be on every volunteer committee at school and church, I resigned from all committees. After being exhausted by a city job that required a two-hour commute each day, I took a less glamorous job close to home. And so on.
I made choices.
I pared down.
I said no.
I gleaned out every single minute that was available to me, and pretty soon this gleaning gained momentum, and soon it came to pass that I was no longer a busy person: I wasn’t on the teams, I wasn’t on the committees, I didn’t work in the city.
And with each “no,” with each boundary, with each gleaning of what I wanted vs. what I was “supposed” to do, I became happier and more clear about my true purpose in this life.
In those years, it was a foreign language to say “no.”
Now, I say it all the time!
I have gotten so clear on the value of downtime as the key to creativity, to spaciousness as a gateway to joy, to the understanding that it is much more important to notice and expand, then to go hurtling through this amazing life.
Try it. Say “no.” Glean some time for yourself, and see what happens.
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