Friday, May 20, 2011

Got Momentum?

That's a big 10-4, Good Buddy.

After Eli and I attended Unleash the Power Within, I absorbed even more of Tony's teaching in his Time of Your Life time management course. I, too, had been to the time management courses that taught me how to prioritize my to-do list (A, B, C), and instructed me to be ruthless about doing the things on my list in the order proscribed. That particular ABC course was in 1986. I was a young college grad working for the College while Greg did his graduate work, and I actually found the concept pretty helpful. But nowhere in that or any other course until this one was the question of fulfillment addressed. TR points out that you can complete everything on your list, yet if you end up no more fulfilled than you were when you started, it's simply a to-do list. Tasks without meaning behind them are nothing more than tasks.

Contrast that with first figuring out what you want, and why, and THEN figuring out the how's, or the to-do portion of the list.

Valerie graduates tomorrow. A few weeks ago I heard she and the other seniors were going out for dinner tonight. That sparked an idea for me to host a dinner for them in our home. Well, first of all, we have a really. little. home. Big yard, yes, but small home. Where was I going to put them all (total of 13)? And from that stress-inducing question, I could go into major "how" mode, and probably come up with a plan, and probably be a-stressin about it every step of the way. Instead, I started with "What do I want?" and realized that I wanted to provide a space for the students to share a meal, make memories, laugh, and have fun together; with a menu, layout and agenda that would empower these students to be launched into their future; celebrate their accomplishments by giving them a place to just be together without any pressure to perform.

The second piece, the "why" of the "what," is also essential. It's the piece I need to have in place to refer to in the process of bringing the vision to fruition. The answer to the "why" was because I believe that making memories is a valuable, worthwhile, meaningful activity, especially when the memories involve laughter, fun, and joy.

It was at THIS point that I felt sufficiently focused to come up with the "how."

The dinner was last evening. Even though Greg was still out of town and I was therefore responsible for all the logistics myself and/or for enlisting the help of several others such as my sisters and b-in-law, I enjoyed the entire process from start to finish. Planning the menu, communicating with the students, shopping for and preparing the food, enlisting the help of Eli and two of his friends to be my "wait staff." (They were adorable, hilarious, and added a lot of fun to the proceedings). Decorating the table. Using some of the beautiful things I have (china, goblets), and enjoying the eclectic nature of the table since everything I have comes in sets of 1-8, but certainly not 12 or 13!

This concept -- getting clear about what I want, and why -- has empowered me to go beyond the mere crossing-off of things on my list. I was trying to remember this Nietzsche quote: "If you know the why, you can live any how." but I think that quote has a different emphasis than the point I'm trying to make, which is: "If you build the why, the how will come." Having a how that is fulfilling a why? That really works.

The senior dinner was easily the singularly most relaxed entertaining I have ever done, and I made all the food myself, including homemade bread! (H/T to Costco, though, for the super cake). And when I look back at the description of what I wanted, I realize I got every bit of that. And the why? Yes, it was the reason I hosted the dinner, and I think, the reason it went so smoothly.

Check it out. Time of Your Life. The Cincinnati Public library system has a few copies, and it is WELL worth listening to the CD and watching the DVD. Of course, when I came to this course, I had already been converted to this mindset of going TO something, the idea of PULL motivation, so TOYL made perfect sense.

I created a tangible memory for the seniors, which you see in the picture (to be posted later). I used the Hobbiton font that Valerie loves. On the back of the page, I put the lyrics to City of Blinding Lights. And oh, the kids looked SO beautiful last night in all their youth and potential and yet-to-be-ness.

At the end of the day, many small decisions I had made over the course of the past few weeks had come together in a lovely harmony of homemaking and hospitality.

Congratulations, Class of 2011! I am so proud of all of you!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now!

My cousin asked me to blog about my recent Lasik eye surgery, and I started a post the other day. I had to stop when I realized that my focus was on some of my past experiences with glasses and contacts, and that most of those experiences were painful in some way. Maybe those painful experiences will be a blog post sometime, but they weren't where I wanted to go.

I've been thinking about getting my vision corrected for years, since the early 1990's, when it was still RK and PRK, before Lasik even came along. I had my first Lasik eval in about 2002 but rejected the procedure because it was explained to me that my short-distance vision would be lost. What that meant to me was that I would never be able to see the faces of my babies and loved ones clear, at a close distance, and I simply could not give up that sweet closeness.

I decided to check into it again about a year ago, and started the process by getting mono-vision contacts to simulate having one eye corrected for distance and one for close-up. I liked the mono-vision, but wearing contacts was less than desirable to me, so I wore them infrequently, although enough to know that the MV would work for me.

After UPW (the Tony Robbins event I attended in March), I decided to take the next step, a full evaluation by my eye doc to determine how appropriate Lasik would be for me. They said all systems go, as did the eye surgeon, and surgery was scheduled for a couple of weeks out.

I felt very confident about having the procedure done ... until the night before the scheduled time. That's when I read the consent form, and I got very nervous about all the "what ifs" that were flying around in my brain. The main problem? I believed there was no possible way I could put myself out of commission (if something were to go less than optimally). I don't really have time right now to be sick or unable to drive or having to focus on some physical symptom. Valerie's graduation is coming up, Greg and Anna-Jessie's trip starts Thursday, GO Cincinnati is this weekend, and oh did I mention I have five kids, a husband, and a home to care for? And I've got the most marvelous momentum going, and I think my biggest fear was that the surgery would slow, stop, or actually reverse that momentum.

What got me to the table was remembering something I recently heard: If you CAN'T do something, you MUST do it. I understand this to mean that courage is called for in the face of fear. And so I dug down and found some courage and texted Greg that I thought it was going to be ok. And went to sleep.

Friday morning, we arrived early and went through a few details and then I walked into the operating theater, and Greg sat in the observation room, and actually watched (and VIDEOed!) the procedure.

The actual operation was pretty straightforward and easy. My biggest job was to remember to breathe and to keep focusing on that little blinking light. It was over almost before it started. I walked back into the examination room and sat in the patient chair. I could see out into the hall, and I was able to focus on the shelves that were 20 feet away, something I haven't been able to do for 6/7 of my life, and I almost cried at the miracle this was to be able to see.

Friday was a resting day, a sleeping day, a recovery day. Friday was a smooth day, but the night was not. The disturbance in the night was unrelated to my vision or the surgery, but demanded courage of a different kind. Maybe a blog post about that sometime; we'll see.

Saturday morning was the 24hr follow-up and all looked great to the doc.

Fluctuations in vision during the healing process are normal. Blinking usually clears things up, and I'm quickly forgetting what dependency on glasses feels like. I love being able to see. It's been a dream for years, to be able to see the world without some type of external lens to focus through, and that dream has now been realized.

As for the issue with the close vision, it's different than I thought. When I wore glasses, they corrected my nearsightedness and my farsightedness, but I had this precious close vision where I could see without any glasses at all -- a clarity unmatched by any corrected vision. Now I have the ability to see close AND far, and I can actually see close-up as well. There are some conditions where I can't see completely clearly, REALLY close-up, but I didn't actually lose the precious close-up vision, I gained a heck of a whole lot instead.