Thursday, 27 October 2011

changing the story

Thanks to some wise readers' advice yesterday, I took off my watch for the day. Just to see what would happen. I know, radical.

It was a wonderful experiment - one I'll definitely do again. Whenever I checked my bare wrist, I said to myself: "You have enough time for today."

And you know what? I did. I really felt like I did. I felt myself breathing easier. I didn't feel as much like a chicken with its head cut off. I felt more rested. And satisfied with what was accomplished. And for the slower cups of tea that I drank too. When I did check the clock, it was usually much earlier than I predicted, and that felt like a gift. EXTRA time! What a bonus! My mind automatically thought: there isn't enough time. But looking at the clock, I was wrong, and I had much more time than I predicted. So it was good that I wasn't very in sync with the actual time.

I changed the story of my usual day.

Speaking of chickens, here's another story I have running through my head on a regular basis: it's about  the Little Red Hen. She asked for help, nobody came running, and she said, "Then I will do it myself." And she did. Over and over again.

I am the Little Red Hen in my mind. It's a martyr story that I tell myself pretty much daily. There are so many things to do, and I'm the only one that can/will do them. I've asked for help before, but sometimes think I shouldn't have to keep asking. People should just notice things, like I do. This story gets a bit tiring to hear over and over again, especially mixed with the "there's not enough time in the day" story.

Another story that needs changing.

I'm convinced that our thoughts can change our actions, so I want to change some of these not-so-helpful thought patterns. Take those useless broken records out of my mind and toss them in the trash. Yesterday, the bare wrist was a cue to try on another story for my day to expand my sense of time; I wonder what my Little Red Hen cue will be, and what my new story will sound like.


  1. Your readers must be really wise :) just like their fearless blog writer. May be the little red hens just need to put their feet up and let things crumble for a bit and then see how the pieces are picked back up. That being said, may be things would function just fine or "gasp" better? Keep us posted. Now "who will help me toss my broken records in the trash?" Good Day!

  2. Rebecca -- I think we might be twins, separated at birth. Just saying.

  3. Susan and Rebecca, yes, you do remind me of each other in some ways (and in other ways, of course, not at all.)

    How I love that you took off your watch! Will it stay off? Are you wearing it today?

    My kids always get upset by the ending of the Little Red Hen story, and there is something uncomfortable about it: the hen spitefully eating up all the bread while the others watch sadly. Does it make the hen feel good? The story seems to suggest so, but my kids have never bought it. They think the hen should share. And I guess I think so, too. She asked for help, didn't receive it (from the lazy animals--those lazy animals!), but she did the work anyway. Presumably, she did it because she wanted to do it. I am a lot like you--feeling indispensible in so many tasks, especially around the house, and grumbling when I'm overloaded. But if I keep doing the same things, I'm not really asking for change, am I? I must kind of like being in charge of so many things, being indispensible, being "the best" at whatever it may be--picking up socks? doing dishes? finding lost items? bandaging wounds? bedtime kisses? and on and on.

    Great questions you're asking these days.

  4. Two other sources for your consideration:


    look up the song Secrets by One Republic on YourTube.

  5. Shauna: Yes, they are. :) I know what you mean - sometimes I think things might just be better if I just backed out for a while. Then again... I can always help with record tossing!

    Susan: I love it. We need to get together so I can find out more about my twin. I loved that article in The Florentine - I could totally relate, and even found myself saying "good for you" to that priest! Oh, boy...

    I loved that Secrets song too. Exactly, I said.

    Carrie: The Watch stayed off for most of today too. So far so good! And I especially like that I miss it (look for it) because then I can repeat my little time mantra - gets it more stuck into my brain, hopefully!

    I don't like the ending of the Little Red Hen either. It's not a share and share alike kind of ending. It's more of a you-got-what's-coming-to-you kind of ending. Maybe she wanted to do the work; maybe she didn't. I usually don't - so that's why I'm having a hard time re-writing this story. Every other story I try on sounds trite. But I'm working on it. But, like you, I think there's a part of me that likes being this Little Red Hen that keeps on doing what she's always done. I do rather fancy the idea of being indispensible. And I hate that. Crazy.

  6. What I meant when I said she wanted to do the work, is that she chose to do it, I guess. And no, that's not quite the same thing, is it. Hm. At our house, we're constantly struggling with how to share the workload of jobs-that-nobody-really-wants-to-do.

    But I guess part of me still thinks that the Little Red Hen did the jobs because she really did want to do them. Because that was her personality, because she couldn't have stood not to see them done, because it satisfied something in her. And if it didn't, then it was her responsiblity NOT to do the work and to figure out how not to do it. Does that even make sense?

    Lastly, this story also reminds me of the story of Martha, which has always driven me absolutely crazy. Because I am a Martha. Because her hard work facilitated everyone else's happy listening-to-Jesus experience. And then Jesus disagrees, and I can't make sense of it. Who, exactly, is doing the dishes if everyone is listening to Jesus? Who is cooking and serving the food? What are they eating? How does this little domestic economy work, exactly, if Martha were to sit and listen?

    Or maybe I'm not thinking creatively enough, and it would all go just fine. Everyone in the kitchen, laughing and cooking and talking and working together ...

    Or maybe the person who wrote the story was a man who'd never been in the kitchen and had no idea how much work was required to get his food onto the table.

  7. Carrie, I love your train of thoughts, questions and ramblings. So many sides to every story.

  8. Carrie - I like thinking of the Little Red Hen as Martha the Little Red Hen. They are so very similar, and I've never put the two together. I've got Martha in me too and she can drive me crazy.

    I like your thoughts at the end too - that maybe they would have just done the job - differently, but it would get done. And I think the male author is a distinct possibility! :)