This morning when I took Mo for his morning walk, we saw our first bunny of spring. Now, I know some of you are just coming out of the polar vortex and reading words like “spring” seem thoughtless and taunting, and for those of you who feel that way, I have two words: Georgia Summer. We all have our own nightmares to deal with. Anyway, this morning in the not-quite-light of dawn, Mo flushed a bunny and lost his damn mind.
He bayed and barked. He lunged and grumbled. He chuffed and snorted. He would have given anything for me to release the leash at that moment so he could chase a little bunny, who by that time was so far gone she was barely a memory. So I just stood there and held his harness and reminded him of our purpose: Poop, Mo. We came out here for poop, not bunnies.
If you follow my Instagram, you saw some thoughts last night about toxic productivity. Not everyone is like me in this regard, but I have this weird one-up-manship with myself where if I have one productive day, it’s obvious that the next day, I could be even more productive. I mean, being productive feels good so it stands to reason that being more productive will feel MORE good (Dear Grammar police, “more good” is me using creative license. I know about good, better, best). And it does, for a while.
But eventually, I can’t do any more. I can’t be more efficient. I can’t pack it any tighter. Or even worse, a day will come where nothing goes as planned, as life does, and all those unchecked items on my list drive me right over the edge into despair.
It’s a sickness, I know.
Last week I felt ragged around the edges. I understood the danger signs of pushing too hard and expecting too much out of myself. I recognized that packed-too-tightly feeling like I might explode out of my own skin. Fortunately, I’ve crashed and burned enough times that began to mindfully retreat from the edge of insanity.
For February, I instituted a weekly play day every Sunday. I filled the first one with rest and relaxation and creativity and a long walk by a stream I didn’t know existed. At least twenty times I started to do something “productive” and made myself put it down and walk away. I was a lot like Mo and the bunny. I chuffed and huffed and strained at the leash, certain I could catch my elusive quarry, but finally allowing a quiet voice to redirect my focus to the relaxation at hand.
I’ve never been great at the concept of slow and steady. Most things come easily to me. Once I begin, I tend to move quickly and decisively through the process, regardless of whether a slower pace would be the wiser course. But the fact is time, energy, even possibilities are finite resources every day. I cannot do, live, experience or accomplish all the things which fill my mind. I must choose and accept that it is enough. I can’t keep chasing every rabbit I see, but will never catch.
This time I was able to stop myself before the crash and burn. Perhaps eventually, I’ll gain enough wisdom that I won’t even be singed around the edges when my leash pulls me up short. Mo, however, is never going to lose his desire to finally catch a delicious rabbit.