Loose End Day
Loose End Day consisted of finishing items that have been draining me of time and energy for a while, but that I put on hold in service of bigger energy drains. On this particular day, all before two in the afternoon, I:
- Ironed 5 clothing items, effectively extending my wardrobe and emptying the ironing board which is always set up in our crafting area.
- Mended my favorite dress (it’s a flattering and oh-so-forgiving V-neck t-shirt dress that has waged the wars of my various shapes and sizes for over 17 years) so I can now lift my left arm with confidence.
- Cleaned the windows, screens, and front entry to invite in the abundance.
- Filed the miscellaneous papers and short stacks of this and that in my office (since it dubs as a guest room and we had wonderful folks incoming).
When Things Stop Working – Give In, Switch Gears
To be fair, this hasn’t been happening for just a day. It’s been a trend since Independence Day when the moon seemed to bring in a giant stale funk that exploded most everything I knew to be good and true about the flow of positive energy. An energetic clog was present that needed a serious roto-root, so when a ton of my well-laid business plans took a major dive (canceled meetings, everything seemed WAY harder than it needed to be, etc.), I made a list of more drains and we’ve been tackling them bit by bit.
- Pruned unruly bushes, ridding them of the brittle, dead ends and the bad hair look.
- Weeded several flower beds to allow the blooms some breathing room. (My husband weed-whacked the remaining beds, leaving the obvious flowers and crew cutting the surrounding weeds giving it such an interesting topiary look that it may just trend…)
- Replaced a toilet that’s been faulty since 2008, because no one needs to fear the potty cracking in half while they’re doing their business. (I admit, this one brought me a ridiculous amount of peace!)
- Dusted the ivy. (Wait, what?! Is that a euphemism?) Read on, I’ll explain.
Dusting the Ivy
I have had the good fortune of a cleaning service in the past. In this season of change and growth, we have chosen to mark that off the budget. Rather than begrudge, I’ve accepted and embraced a few things: dust, fur, smudgy windows, and a very different definition of “clean enough for now.”
There comes a time, though, when I reach the point that a “lick and a promise” (as Mom always said) just WON’T do. That time is now. We live in a rural area, and this year it’s been extremely dry. The dust has become unruly.
We have fake ivy on our stairwell ledge and it typically sees a dusting during the winter holidays because 1. It’s tedious and 2. It takes a “Flying Walendas” act to get up there. Every time I used the stairs, the “should” around the task sapped a bit of my energy. I’d avoided it for about 18 months since we were doing renovations in December causing the task to go on the “not now” list. If I added up all the energy sucked from me in the last 6 months from this one, unfinished task, it’d be an embarrassingly high number.
I typically kill real house plants, but greenery is important to me. Years ago, I took care to source the good fake ivy, so it really does look alive when it’s not under a thick layer of drywall particles, fireplace ash, and farm field dust. But, this stuff had definitely hit “imposter” stage.
No longer would a vacuuming, or a firm shaking outdoors do the trick. I took each leaf in my palm, gently wiping the layer of gook with a damp cloth, and repeated a few hundred times to bring my greens back to life. With each plant I finished, I could see the difference. I could smell it. I was filled with the sense of revival. I remembered the places where the ivy had “lived” before, what it may have seen. I’m a sucker for all those movies that give inanimate objects personalities, so I admit, we were having a chat.
If you’re still reading, you might be thinking I’m nuts. “Toss that out and get fresh, lady!” “How long did you wipe the stupid leaves? What’s your time worth?” The act of slowing down enough to properly care for this item with intention and reflection gave me an experience. It took me about 40 minutes to clean all the ivy. I know I’ve wasted more than that lamenting its filth. It wasn’t a waste. It was a necessary step to getting me away from the fretting about what wasn’t working and allowing me to be really present with what WAS working.
So, at the end of my Loose End Day, I opted for another Zen dusting experience. It didn’t take long at all. Giving it the intention it deserved made all the difference.
I began by dusting my office… noticing conscious choices on my bookshelves, owning the energy that drove me to want each book in the first place, and letting go of any “shoulds” that accompany their presence on the shelf (like whether or not I finished each book or read it thoroughly enough.)
I then moved to dusting the framed photos I have throughout my house… recalling when they were taken, reliving the heart behind the smiles, swallowing the blessings that I have, and really digesting how fortunate we are right now.
Not when xyz goal is met, not when abc comes to fruition… NOW.
What’s draining you?
What might you let go of?
What loose end could you tie today that might give way to untapped energy?
I challenge you to let me know what loose ends you’ve tied up and what it gave you in the process. Drop me an email.
Julie Ford is a certified life coach, speaker, trainer, and author of Creating Time and Energy. Individuals hire her to trade their “badges of busy” for intentionally full lives. Organizations hire her to attract, train, and retain our next generation of leaders, the Millennials.
Based on the foundation that when things are running smoothly at home, amazing things can happen at work, Julie uses one-on-one and group coaching to help her clients to define what matters most in their lives and to realize what is and isn’t working. Collaboratively, they move through a customized plan to implement habits that serve rather than sabotage their intentions. Her clients find more joy and less chaos in every stage of work and home one habit at a time.
Need a tip for reducing the “crazy busy” in YOUR life? ASK Julie! Leave a question in the comments or just talk with her.