Monday, January 20, 2014


It is Sunday evening.  A typical Sunday evening in my house.  I spent the afternoon doing laundry, paying bills, shopping, cooking for the week and tonight I begin to prepare mentally for all that is to come.  In the background 60 Minutes is playing, but I pay no attention.  Instead, I look at my calendar, I calendar in times for preparation, physical exercise and other necessary events that are not already within an already filled planner.  I make lists of “to dos” and “to remembers”.  And then I look at how my week looks as a whole.  Tonight, as of late, I look at a mass of booked times with little down time; I look at my overflowing “to dos”—more than any one person can possibly do, and my heart begins to race. 


With my heart beating rapidly with both anxiety and anticipation, I board a roller coaster, strap my seat belt across my chest and waist and slowly being my weekly ascent.  Chugging slowly in anticipation of the wild week before gravity pulls me back into my seat, hold on tight and prepare myself for a wild ride.  Inch by inch with each added “to do” I ascend toward the top, knowing that there will be a rapid descent with twists and turns, moments that take-my breath away, tunnels of confusion and lots of fun. 

When I ride this roller coaster of my life right now, I like to lift my arms high into the air with my body rising to the bar that is keeping me safe as I go up and down the hills of my days.  I like to lean into the twist and feel the breeze made by the quickly moving car clattering on the track.  This roller coaster ride can at moments be overwhelming, it can be exciting, it can be scary and it can be fun—it all depends on my attitude as I enter the ride.

What can I do to make this ride be all I want it to be right now?  Clearing my calendar really isn’t possible.  Between now and probably May I will just be one busy, busy girl.  Maybe my work in the future is to not commit to so many things.  But I have committed and here I am…ascending once again.  I can calendar in exercise.  I can make room for fun and connection.  I can make sure that I turn off my work after a certain time at night even though I am not done.  I can take a bath and do things to assure a full night’s sleep.  I can meditate.  And I can have an attitude of gratitude that I am doing so many things that I absolutely love—even though the white space is less than I would like.  I can take moments to create that space.  Or I can take five deep breaths in a moment to create that space.  Each of these things help me enjoy and anticipate the ride rather than fear and endure it.

This week in one of my workshops, I started with a piece of writing by Ralph Waldo Emerson entitled From a Letter to His Daughter where he encourages his daughter to enter each day “good and fair” and to live in the moment for it is “too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment” on anything but what is.

As I ride merrily through my busy week, I want to embrace his words and greet each twist and turn as an invitation, to hold my hands up in the air in anticipation and to let the breeze of the busyness catch me as I embrace each moment. 

So, I momentarily plan.  I look at what is to come and put in anchors of enjoyment for balance.  I remind myself that not all of my “to dos” will get done.  But the important stuff will.  I notice that I am clenching the bar in the cart of my roller coaster as I ascend to the top.  I choose to let go, lean back and feel the gravity that is pushing me into my seat as I go higher to the top. I lift my arms into the air and happily await another adventurous week. 


  1. Woo hoo, Deb! I can feel the ride as I read your words (and even though I hate rollercoasters, I can imagine your joy at embracing life as it is right now!).

  2. What a great analogy! I'm also on that roller coaster, but my ride will only last three weeks (this time). I will remember to let go of the bar and enjoy the ride. When things get hectic, I will be remembering your words (and Ralph's too). Thanks for planting them for me.

  3. Loved this part:
    I look at what is to come and put in anchors of enjoyment for balance. I remind myself that not all of my “to dos” will get done. But the important stuff will.
    Yes. And that's what we need to keep in mind as we board this particular roller coaster.

  4. This was such a great slice that made me feel like I was right there with you holding my hands high and riding the roller coaster. With everything going on in my life, I can definitely relate to the way that you're feeling. We just have to hold on tight and go with the flow of this crazy roller coaster ride called life.

  5. I certainly felt the rhythm of your ride. Today I got a bit more wiggle room at school because my inservice was done Friday...and it really, really felt good. I think I need to put it all down and carve more of the exercise time especially. Like tonight, I should be, I know I should be...but I also love reading and commenting and then off to Bible Study with the girls. Hmmmm maybe you should be my last contact. xo

  6. I think we all hop on that roller coaster at times. I read somewhere if you make your to-do list only three tasks long, you get more done. When you have a longer list, it becomes too overwhelming. Something I really try to do now!

    1. I think I would forget all of the things that eventually need to get done if I did that. My "to do" are also reminders. I usually only get a couple of things done besides what I need to do (e.g., work, meeting, etc.--stuff on the calendar)

  7. I love the way you took a common analogy and made me FEEL like I was WITH YOU on this roller coaster of life. The way I try to get through the day is the way I try to get through the ride: one hill at a time!

  8. I can definitely relate to the roller coaster ride metaphor. I like it. I like how you also mentioned that you know in anticipation that all your "to dos" will not get done even though you know the most important ones will.