Original Article written for: PowHERhouse
Summer is long gone now; and you probably enjoyed an incredibly free and fancy few months. The kids were home from school, you went camping, and hopefully took some much needed vacation time. Summer is a time to toss the schedules out the window and ‘go with the flow’ – and it’s fun, isn’t it?
As we enter and embrace fall – the cozy, warm drink, pumpkin pie season – we may start feeling like it’s time to start re-structuring our lives. Getting back into routines and schedules and getting stuff DONE!
Typically, most blog posts would start there and then give you 1-10 ways to start organizing your disorganized life to get you ‘back on track’ since you’ve been such a heathen all summer long. You may start out with the best intentions, but somewhere along the way, things fall off the tracks, you get disgruntled and throw it all out, and then shame yourself endlessly for being so lazy and messy with your life.
Structure never works out the way you plan. Why? – Because, structure in its very nature is immovable, solid and not very flexible. Think about building structures. They are strong and solid yes, but they are also meant to be stationary and stable – flexing a little, but mostly staying in one spot. Human beings aren’t really made that way – especially if you are creative, innovative and exploratory. And if you are an entrepreneur, you are all of those things push a dash of crazy for good measure. Why do we put so much effort into being stationary? What is it in ‘Structure’ that attracts us, yet is really impossible to attain given our very human nature?
I think structure is a way to have the illusion of control – we all crave that at times. Structure makes us feel in control, safe, secure. But, as we go through life, we realize that it is just an illusion. The more we let GO of control, the more we can live our lives. Structure is a word we put to things that makes us feel like we are building something solid. It won’t go away, and we can rely on it when we need it. This all makes sense, and is perfectly reasonable. Except, how often does our structure fall apart right in front of us, and then we use it as a reason to beat up on ourselves and feel ‘less than’ or incomplete?
So then, how can we restructure (ahem) our thoughts on structure? As we move into a new season, craving some transition and some solid footing after our foot-loose summer – what can we do instead of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure and frustration?
Here I will insert the list – but this list won’t tell you WHAT to do or HOW to do it. Instead it’s a reminder of all the power that lies within; surrender, letting go and trusting when it comes to our lives, both professionally and personally.
1. Toss it all out.
If you’ve got a structure that works for you – then great, keep it going and keep working it. If you are like many of us and TRY to implement structure after summer to only end up tossing it out just before Christmas, then just start while you are still ahead. Toss it out before you begin. Now you have a blank slate – what you will put on that slate?
2. Set Goals.
On this blank slate I suggest ONLY writing down your goals for the coming year. If you are feeling very motivated, you can work with goals for the next six months. Write down what you want to achieve in your life. Not what you need to DO, but what you would like to experience. For example: An ease with household chores, quality time with family, stress-free school mornings, delicious home-cooked meals every night. Remember: It’s what you want to experience not what you feel you have to DO. This way, you can’t fail. You can only shrug and think – ‘next time’ if it doesn’t work out. Plus the pressure will be off, and you can be creative about how to achieve some of these goals. Pressure really kills creativity. And creativity is where the best things in life are created.
Once you’ve established your goals, let them all go and surrender to what life is right now. There is something interesting about ‘structure’ and how it keeps us from living in the ‘here and now’ but that’s another blog post entirely. For now, just set your intentions on those goals and then let those goals go. Seem wrong and counter intuitive? Exactly – it’s why you’ve failed before. So trust me on this one. This leads me to…
Trust that once you set your intention it will happen. Once you hold a picture in your mind of what you wish to feel, achieve, accomplish, experience that energy will start moving towards the realization of that goal. It’s science. It does work.
5. Let it all Flow.
This is the final point in the list. You start with tossing it all out, and you end with letting it all flow.
Life will be life in its many ups and downs and re-directs. The more you can bend and twist and dance with these changes the more (ironically) stable and structured your life will feel. And it is an illusion. Structure isn’t about CREATING lists of things to DO. Structure is ironically manifested by doing nothing. By simply being and creating your life around you based on your personal goals and being bendy and flexible in the meantime. Structure is REALLY your state of mind, how you adapt and how you dance.
Summer is probably the best teacher when it comes to living a life by flow. It is probably why we all love summer so much. Let those lessons linger into Fall and Winter and give yourself freedom all year round.
Give it a try! I promise the most you have to lose is your frustration and self-mutilation when you don’t achieve your ‘To Do’ list.
Let me know how it goes! And enjoy creating your life!