I like certainty. Knowing what’s going on. What to expect. I like to be able to manage the variations. It’s been my survival mechanism, and one that has served me well.
When that environment changes, it unsettles me.
The bottom of my leaky bucket fell apart in 2012 and there was no management plan. All I was left with was the splintered handle and sheer confusion…what just happened? I have the receipt somewhere, I can get a replacement.
My bucket design rebuild has been long, well-intentioned but poorly designed. I’ve tried to build more flexibility in the design so I can hold more. Not more weight. More variety. Just like my farmers’ market bag.
In this bag I can throw my apples, lemons and pumpkin at the bottom with no fear that it’s going to drop out of the bottom, but I still have plenty space on top for my more fragile items – the herbs, the wild mushrooms and bright berries.
Unlike my trusty bucket, my farmer market stash looks ‘alive’
Previously I would have crammed as much as I could in my bag, and bucket, to the point it was overflowing. I would struggle to lift it, let alone carry it very far. But I would persevere, this bucket will not beat me!
I’ll be honest, I still struggle with my selection and packing process. In my 20’s I backpacked across North America, where I was dutifully taught to roll my clothes to create more space, avoid daggy creasing and, in my mind, justify those ridiculous heels!
I never learnt the packing technique taught to a check out chick – always assess weight and never trust the plastic bag!
Today, I try to make more conscious decisions. And it starts with what my three priorities for the day. That’s right, only three, and when one is non-negotiable – meals and snacks to keep me fuelled – that leaves me two priorities. Two things I can do, not must, to feel alive – conscious, mindful, engaged.
This often includes walks with Franki with an attempt at mindfulness whilst I am out with her. Observing my feet as they hit the pavement, hearing the leaves rustle in the trees or hearing the cockatoos squawking. Sometimes, the mindfulness simply extends to be alert to what else she has tried to sneak into her mouth.
On a good day, practising a simple 20 minute home yoga sequence feels right and rejuvenating. Walking to my local cafe and catching up on Sunday paper inserts is soothing. I get the sun on my back and a chat with the cafe owners, staff, random dog owners.
On a particularly leaky day, when I cannot bear the 45 stairs I must walk down from my 3rd level apartment to reach the outside world, I lay on the verandah amongst the canopy of the eucalypts and just try to breathe, and remind myself “it’s easy to be heavy, hard to be light.”
Of course on really great days I throw my mantra out the door. Not on purpose, I am just so excited to feel good, pain free (for me).
I am excited that my knees aren’t on fire or that the waves of fatigue haven’t hit, so I take a walk, do some work, eat without chewing properly, hit the local cafe, read a little, google too much and by mid-afternoon it hits me. The adrenalin rush will soon convert to an adrenalin hangover.
I’ve left no space in the market bag for the fragile goods, I’ve crammed it all with the exotic veges I don’t know what to do with, fresh crusty gluten-loaded rolls and those great looking salted caramel macarons that I love so much.
It’s a work in progress. I’m only just working out the right packing technique…and there are days where I simply misjudge quantity for quality.
Surely I’m not the only one?
Postscript: It appears I’m not the only one who uses a top-three priority list, it’s also used as a productivity tool & for peaceful zen…perhaps I’m on to something!