Stepping Out of the Frantic, Urgent Mode

Yesterday they delivered the April Horizons Magazine and we spent the day getting it into the mail and to the drivers.  Subscribers: look for it by Friday. Stores: you’ll have it earlier. Each month I am surprised by how quickly the time flies in between one issue of the magazine and the next.  My free time doesn’t begin the day the magazine goes to the printer, it begins a week later after the magazine has been delivered and all distributors have checked in.  Then I get to sleep in and spend a few days running errands and attending to the rest of my life until I need to glue myself to the computer once again 10 days later.  It’s a schedule that works well for me, however I have a tendency to try to hurry up and work as much as I can so that I can take lots of time off later.  Later of course, that never comes.

I tend to let my mind overwork sometimes, and I begin to feel a sense of urgency in getting everyone responded to.  I always run about 100 emails behind – not bad – and of those, half I need to respond to.  I get a dozen handwritten letters in the postal mail each week that I respond to.  I’ve learned to use double window envelopes, so that answering snail mail can be as easy as answering email.  Many of the inquiries are standard questions such as What are the ad rates? (Answer: see page 6 of each issue and online at the website.)  For those, it just takes a minute to send a link or print the page and mail to them.  I try to do these all the same day they come in.

Much of the mail that comes in are requests for referrals to various practitioners.  I try to answer them the same day.  Much mail is articles to be considered, and links to websites someone is promoting.  These get put in a stack and I get to them as I can.  Having said that, some mail I am led to open and respond to on the spot.  There is usually a lot of synchronicity about that, so I’ve learned to follow my guidance.

There are several publicists that email me excerpts and press releases on new books, and three of them I will open right away for a quick glance, since it is generally what I like and want to use.  People who submit cover art, I try to look at their emails as they come in.  Since none of these things require immediate responses, I recognize my mind is on overload when I feel an urgency to answer them all Now.

One way I step out of that frantic/urgent mode is to put on my hiking boots and get out in my yard.  Even if I feel like I can’t spare the time – especially then – if I can make myself put a pair of hand clippers in my pocket, and turn on the garden hose, within a few minutes I can be in another world. A world where life moves at a slower pace.  A world that can soothe my ruffled feathers.

I can see the turk’s cap coming back, and I trim away the brown stalks, burnt by winter’s frost.  The night blooming jasmine looks very bare, but the several cuttings I made of it survived the frost and are growing fast and strong.  The arbicola is all coming back, even one of the ficus has a small branch and leaf sprouting at the base.

The trees are full of new fruit, mulberries and loquats.  The live oaks are once again fully leaved.  The trails through the woods are closing in with new palmetto growth and need some pruning with the lopers.  The grapevines need to be rerouted.  The bay tree has some dead branches which will smell wonderful in the full moon fire.  I pick up small sticks and twigs and toss them into the pile of kindling.  A few larger branches have fallen from the oaks and pines, and I drag them over near the firepit as well.

By the time I’ve gotten to this part of the yard, 30 minutes will have easily passed and I will be out of my frantic/urgent mindset.  When I’m out in the yard, working with nature, hauling the rainwater to the trees, I know that the mail and emails can wait.  I know that just this quick re-booting session in nature will send me back to the computer with a fresh mind.

When I’m smart, I make myself do this every day.

When I forget, feel free to remind me.

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