Today I did something really different and very unusual, even for me. It stemmed from a conversation I had yesterday with a new friend, Jane, from the online course I’m taking. I was telling her about the problems I have being organized, and how I struggle with being distracted. She told me about another friend who discovered her “inner organizer,” an amazing
I was so excited that I posted about it on the group’s facebook page. Another group member, Sora, said she would love to read an interview with Lola. “Good idea!” I thought, “Why not?” So today, for my One New Thing, first I interviewed Lola, my very own personal organizer from my very own self. And now I am posting that uncut interview here. I hope you enjoy it. I did … well, most of it, anyway. 🙂
(Lola is, of course, a redhead. She is lean and sophisticated, always holding an unlit cigarette in one hand. She looks at it from time to time, as if its presence confuses her. Other than that little trait, she seems completely unflappable.)
ME: Lola, you came to me from my best self, but I don’t remember ever meeting you before. Can you tell me where you’ve been all these years?
L: Dahling, I don’t go where I’m not wanted. It’s just too terribly tedious.
ME: Why now, then?
L: You tell me; you’re the one who requested me.
ME: Well, I’m trying to work this program and I’m way behind and I’m distracted by every little thing and my desk is a mess…
L: No it isn’t, you just cleaned it two days ago.
L: Your desk. It isn’t a mess, Dahling. You just cleaned it two days ago. Don’t make trouble where there isn’t any.
ME: Oh. Um. Right.
L: Yes, right. First off, please stop minimizing your efforts and maximizing your difficulties. It’s boring. At least it is for me, and I really can’t imagine what you get out of it. Before you ask any more questions, let me recap what I’ve seen in the last months:
1) You committed to doing things that bring you pleasure. You’ve been very faithful to do that on a regular basis, usually one full day a week. This is no small accomplishment. Now, it would be better if you weren’t judging yourself all day and reminding yourself of the work waiting for you at home, but it is nonetheless a good start.
L: Please don’t interrupt, Dahling. 2) You’ve made a commitment to exercise. In your dramatizing, you tell yourself you’re failing because you haven’t gone to yoga class or jumped for your five minutes a day on that ridiculous mini-trampoline. But you don’t jump on the tramp because it is hurting your still-healing knee. That doesn’t make you a quitter or uncommitted. It makes you smart. Furthermore, these fun days you’re taking all involve serious outdoor activities, which means you are not just slothing about on the couch. You are, in fact, exercising. And when you spend hours out in the sun and on the trails or on the beach, of course you don’t want to go to a silly yoga class. You want to relax. This is normal and healthy. What is not normal and healthy is that you keep criticizing yourself about it when that is completely unnecessary.
L: 3) You’ve worked through four weeks of the classes, and the reason you’ve not finished week four is that you’re being wise – again, I might add – and allowing yourself to learn what you need to learn IN THIS MOMENT. I simply don’t understand why you judge yourself for not racing through a program that is far too extensive to be raced through! You are doing inner, healing work, Dahling, and that takes time and is also exhausting. It can have unexpected repercussions and bring up things that you, in your small mind, didn’t know you were ready for. You are ready for them, actually, or they wouldn’t be showing up now.
4) You very faithfully wrote every day on a story that you knew nothing about. That takes true commitment and, I shall add, courage. You wrote on the strength of your faith alone that at the right time the story would reveal itself to you. And it did. That accomplishment alone should be celebrated for forty days and forty nights: not everyone gets stories, you know. And you have been working on that story. You insist on criticizing yourself if you don’t work on it every single day. Now, it would be better if you did work on it every single day. But the fact is, if you work on it two or even three days a week, you are already showing vast improvement over two months ago, when you really weren’t writing at all. And you are, in fact, working on it more than that. Counting words is all very well, Dahling, but if you use it to prove to yourself either success or failure, you are not using the brains you were born with.
5) You have maintained a quite astonishing (and inexplicable, to my way of thinking) commitment to do something new every single day, and you’ve faithfully blogged about every one of those days, posting as many as five times a week since the beginning of the year. You’ve not kept a commitment such as this before, you know. It is quite impressive. Shall I go on?
ME: There’s more?
L: Of COURSE there is, Dahling! Haven’t you been listening?
L: Thank you. To continue: 6) You have been supporting many friends, old and new, frequently and generously. This is what you mean to be doing with your life, yes?
ME: Um, yes.
L: Well, then, it is a significant success. You’ve been longing for, working towards, a new community for a long time, haven’t you?
L: Here they are. You are supporting and being supported. This is what you asked for. Once again, you are criticizing yourself for doing exactly as you should be doing. I see no problem other than that.
Furthermore – and this is 7) – as you’ve felt overwhelmed, you have been diligent in training yourself brand new traits: you have trained yourself to turn off notifications and sound on your computer and phone, and considering the boundary issues you’ve had, this is a major accomplishment. In the same vein – 8) – you’ve been ruthless in unsubscribing from things you’re interested in, simply because you now know what you mean to be doing and you are committed to doing it – one more major accomplishment, I shall add, bringing my off-the-cuff total to 10. I could go on, Dahling, however I believe I’ve made my point. Next question.
ME: Um, okay, right. (I’m a little afraid to ask this….)
ME: Well, how do I actually get organized? How do I stay focused?
L: (Sigh) Haven’t you been listening, Dahling? You have been getting organized. You have been focusing. Your only true problem is, as I believe I’ve already mentioned, this deplorable – and I shall repeat terribly tedious – tendency you have to minimize your efforts and maximize your difficulties. You seem to expect that in one or two short months, the habits of a lifetime will do a complete turnaround and you’ll suddenly be a totally different human being from the one you’ve always been. You will never look like an exquisitely organized human. And if, for a short while, you did manage it, you would be nail-bitingly miserable. Why in heaven’s name would you desire such a fate? You’ve longed for a highly unstructured life, and here it is. And you have even managed, within that complete lack of structure, to become, in your own words, UNstuck, and to make huge progress in your everyday life and towards your not-inconsiderable goals. See that. Celebrate that.
And if you still want me to fix you, Dahling, here it is: every day, do a smidgen more of the same. Even just a smidgen more, and in a very short time, you will have succeeded beyond your wildest imaginings.
ME: Okay, well, there it is. Thank you so much for your time, Lola.
L: I’m here for you, Dahling. (YAWN)