I'm reading a very good book right now - perfect for this time of year when I tend to take on more. It's called A Life of Being, Having and Doing Enough by Wayne Muller.
One part that I read last week has stuck with me. He writes about resetting our inner thermostat - that we all have a regulator inside ourselves that tells us when we are doing enough or too much. When we know how to "read" our body, it can tell us when our activity level has reached a comfortable level, or when it is uncomfortably busy.
BUT many people don't take time to read their inner thermostat (like me). Or the thermostat is broken and the house is on fire.
How do we know when we have taken on too much? Muller recommends asking this question when you approach a new task or responsibility:
- Am I truly able to say that I really love this or is it more honest to say that I can handle this?
He says that if we take on too many things that we can merely "handle", then we get to a point where we feel we are barely able to handle our days - that we have too much. If we choose based on things we love, we are more likely to be nourished and feel "enough" at the end of the day.
I struggle with this. I know I tend to take things on with the "I can handle this" attitude. Because I think "well, SOMEONE has to do this." If I'm at a committee meeting, I want it to end as soon as possible so I go away with more jobs than I probably should, just to speed the meeting along and because I can handle it. Or so I think.
But I want to keep this love/handle question in front of me this fall. I want to hit my pillow at night and think "That was a good day. That was enough."