I met with my counselor last night. Yes, I'm in counseling. We talked about the Thanksgiving holiday break, family stress, me not doing the assignments she gave me in our last session, and me having trouble starting tasks.
In last month's session, I was supposed to drag out my Step 4 inventory and make a list of character defects. I also agreed to exercise with my kids daily. I fully intended to do the assignments, but didn't get very far.
I took out my inventory and begrudgingly thumbed through it, once. I also took my kids on a bike ride to the park. The trip to the park ended with a 45 minute tantrum by 4 year-old. I didn't pick up the inventory or touch the bikes again.
My reluctance starting tasks is rooted in my desire for perfection and completion. If I cannot complete a project perfectly, I'd rather not try. My mind is like a one way track--start at the beginning and hopefully don't derail on the way to the final destination. There is only one acceptable ending. Any divergence from the goal is failure. If I foresee failure I avoid the task.
I am working now to change my mind from a one way track to something more like a Rube Goldberg machine. Sounds silly, I know. The flow chart of my mind needs to have several acceptable paths to success. Sure, they may not be the most efficient paths, but the paths still get to the goal, eventually. When my path seem overwhelming or diverges from the straight one way track onto one of Goldberg's machines I can't allow frustration, anger, depression to lead to avoidance.
I realized a few years ago that I do best with projects that that I can complete in a relatively short period of time and that don't have to be perfect. This is why I don't scrapbook and why I do make cakes. Scrapbooking is never ending, and I'm never happy with what I've made. I find myself reworking pages and eventually giving up altogether. A cake has to be completed and presented, even if I think it looks like crap. I'm rarely fully satisfied with a cake, but I can still count it as a success. I learn from my cake mistakes so I do better the next time.
My counselor encouraged me to break tasks down into small portions and give myself credit for completing each portion. So far this morning, I snuggled with my girls, took the dog out, cleaned the kitchen table, made breakfast and ate with my kids, brushed my teeth, cleaned off my school table, washed the pan I used to make my egg, read my devotion, checked email, completed math with Little Man, and science with Tater, helped Baby Bee get dressed, and did a science experiment with the kids, all while blogging intermittently. It really didn't seem like I had accomplished much until I wrote it out. Wouldn't my path to completing this blog entry make a good Rube Goldberg machine drawing or Family Circus cartoon?
I need to help the kids finish their lessons, put on some real pants (I'm wearing Sponge Bob pj's), start SOME laundry, put away SOME folded laundry, fold SOME more laundry, and make lunch. I don't expect to finish with Mount Foldmore today, but that is okay. After lunch (and after real pants) I think I'll take the kids out for a walk, assign their chores, plan and begin dinner, go to the drug store, and get the car washed. I need to fit a shower into the list somewhere.
All of that seem overwhelming to me, so I'm going to take it small bites. It is okay if I don't finish all that I mentioned. It is okay things aren't perfect. I am going to try anyway.