Ya’ll have heard that phrase right? Well you have probably know it as “Keep It Simple Stupid” – followed by folks saying, “ya know – KISS”. In my world I have heard this advice from business classes, coworkers, friends, family- do we see a theme? Not only is it a popular phrase – but it is one that I apparently need to be applying to my life.
Through this summer Danny and I have talked even more about the need to keep pushing more out of our days, our nights, our world. Without fail during that conversation it leads to the fact that I like to over complicate a situation – yet I work very methodically. This translates to I have BIG plans, mile long to do lists, and limited time to do it all PERFECTLY. Well you can guess exactly where this leads – I don’t complete the task, feel badly, get anxiety, get grumpy (Dan may admit it is a little more than grumpy) and worst of all something I was SO excited about when making the plan, turns into a negative experience where I just get overwhelmed.
An easy example is YOGA. I LOVE the concept and have enjoyed the workout. So what do I do – buy ALL the clothes, buy the mat, google people that do yoga and dream about having their bodies. Next step make a calendar and agree to the incredible demand: I will do YOGA everyday until 3 weeks from now and then sign up for a class that I have do with a friend so I am forced into being ready. Day 1 comes -I get stuck at work, I am tired, I have really terrible stomach pains – whatever – and I miss it. Bad mark #1. Then by the time I get to day 4 and have not done it I am cursing myself, I am cursing yoga, I am cursing that person I met one time at a bachlorette party, who has turned into a YOGA Queen that posts a #poseoftheday and I imagine her judging me. Holy crazy batman…… yup, it is scary. One article on YOGA that motivates me to try it, is quickly translated to every yogi in the world thinks I am a loser. YIKES.
As much as my brain likes to go 0-90 on the regular – it can’t be healthy – in fact I think I am proving that in fact it is not healthy. This type of behavior in bigger sitautions has left me struck with panic attacks, bursting into tears for no reason, or laying on the floor of my living room swearing the only thing that matters anymore is my little Shiba and I have decided to live the rest of my days here, prostrate with him next to me – insert one very tired and emotionally drained Danny.
Getting older I have become more self aware to see this pattern happening before it even starts. I am cutting them off at the pass and helping myself stay a little bit more sane. Good news! Bad news about recognizing it – I still see that I do it ALL THE TIME. And I miss awesome opportunities, big and small, to enjoy life. This hospital stay in particular has reminded me to really heed my own advice. Priorities can change in a second with one hospital stay gone awry – and if I am spending extra energy berating myself, I am not going to survive it. And let’s be honest – I don’t want to just survive, I want to try and keep my normal life going as much as possible – so when Danny and I can rejoin it – there is something left. So the reality is that KISS is something that I really need in my life – but not because I am stupid…. so instead I have to make it work for me: Keep It Simple Sweetie. Hey – I need kid gloves and that is A-OK!
Maybe it is being the oldest child and stupid was a bad word in front of others, or perhaps I am a little bit of a perfectionist, maybe its the fact that I am a wee bit sensitive (yes, Danny I know), or just that I have heard the phrase repeated to me a lot – no matter the reason, I HATE that it ends with “stupid”. Really – how cruel is that? Now my husband, he loves it. It stops you in your tracks, motivates to change and the phrase sticks with you. But me, I don’t want to be stupid!!! To my ears it sounds like I am wrong twice. First wrong: I was doing something more complicated than I was supposed to be and second wrong – I am stupid. Ouch. So for me – Keep It Simple Sweetie it is!
As I begin to plaster KISS all over my home, desk at work, car – and hopefully memory, I envision many successes to come – but for now I am sharing just one little one KISS that was immediately point into practice – with my faith. One of my most important priorities is my quiet prayer time. Over the last few years as I have become a Pintirest aholoic – I have seen the life planners, I have bought the life organizer systems – and I have planned out my world to produce change and growth at every turn. I need to be the best version of myself every moment of everyday. This is not a bad thing. Striving to be the best you and live your life purposefully is important. To that point I loved the book “The Happiness Project” and really thought 2015 would be my happiness project year. However by February I was already behind, and come summer I had totally lost control and was “a bad version of Jackie.”
Recently I said to Danny “I love that book and I wanted that project for myself – but I am not in that season of my life and that does not make me a bad person.” Folks, it really was that simple. Gretchen is her own boss, her children are older, she does not have a moody shiba, and she and her husband have a lot of years of practice at the whole – “I will clean the bathrooms and you pay the bills” rhythm. My world has not been that concrete in several years. In fact I have not even been at my full time job FOR A YEAR. Silly rabbit, I thought I could change my life while starting a new job, enhancing my contract work, kicking off my blog….. Ok so MAYBE I was little stupid – but it was only out of my zest and excitement for life. Nothing wrong with that – I just needed to harness it.
I figured the best place to start was one of the most important aspects of my life that I want to improve – my quiet prayer time. I had been assigning myself that prayer half hour to talk to God, but also to review my goals, assess my personal growth, be grateful, think of others, plan my life – TOO MUCH! So I applied KISS:
1. What are the most important things I want to accomplish in this quiet time?
2. What are the best ways for me to accomplish these?
3. How can I leave this daily moment in my life with peace and tranquility?
Someday I really, really want to read the full bible. Also, I want to know how to be the perfect Christen wife via that 30 day prayer from Pintirest. Even more so I want to strive to fully understand and embrace my Catholicism. But for now, I really just want to pray daily, review my prayer list (when I say “I pray for you” to someone, I want to mean it), and I want to be truly grateful for what the Lord has given to me. Get rid of the folders, empty my bag of goal books, daily reads, devotions, and trade it for my daily book -where I will write my prayers to God, I will write my gratitude list, and I will keep my prayer list. Each day I will have this book coupled with my daily devotional prayer book for quiet time with God – just one small page a day of reading and a little journaling to Him – KISS.
Now that I have made it simple, I just needed the time and proper tools to write. So I grabbed the beautiful journal my husband gave me at Christmas and I will plan to just carve out a few moments each day, instead of the 30 minutes I wanted to give that I kept waiting to find in my day. Bingo! If I only need a few tools, there is a higher percentage I will have them with me and if I only need a few minutes here or there I won’t be waiting to only pray when I find a thirty minute block of silence. Sure this journal does not have all the tabs and highlighted tools or folder pockets to hold everything I need to remember to do during quiet time, and I may not have with me all the secrets I need to know to be the perfect Catholic via 100 prayer cards- what the OCD me assumes I need to accomplish each task – but that is okay. This is not overwhelming before I even begin.
Already KISS is paying off. Today I was really losing my marbles waiting to hear if Danny would be out of the hospital or in for another round of meds. Instead of letting my worry and emotion get the best of me, I took a ten minute break at work, wrote to God and then opened my daily prayer book only to quickly be reminded that God heals in his own time. Talk about feeling peace and knowing He is charge in the exact moment I feel so out of control….. KISS gave me a much needed pause and the strength to keeping going when we learned – he is in for another round.
How can I leave this moment in my day filled with peace and tranquility? Remember what it has always really been about, quiet time in prayer. And go ahead and keep it simple sweetie to feel refreshed and not behind.