13 December 2006

Expanding to Reach the Edges of Myself

I made the leap. I bought the extra-huge Monarch Franklin Covey Planner. In the past, I'd always stuck to the compact size, reasoning that it would fit easily in the backpack, and therefore I'd carry it and use it more. Two years of not doing that, has led me to realize that smaller is not necessarily better, and that I cannot squeeze myself into 3.5 x 5" pages. My life is bigger than that. I'm lucky enough to have a FranklinCovey store not too far from me. So I went, in order to test-drive the pages myself. I have a bone to pick with FranklinCovey. The extra-large pages are all slanted towards business execs, and the "balance family with work" pages, clearly designed for women, are all the smaller pages. Clearly, these people have never encountered the lives of most of the working mamas I know. I'd write to the company, but I suspect that people who are basing an entire corporate marketing platform on the notion that women juggle these things and men do not are probably not going to want to hear from some upstart Californian looney. Maybe I'll take this on some day when I have no other bigger windmills to tilt at. I still have the same desktop graphic on my laptop that I put up on Nov. 1, that some creative soul offered up in the NaNo forums. It's an Aquarian clock, with a calendar, and the Scottish proverb "What may be done at any time will be done at no time," then lower down, it says, "Now's the time." I have been resonating with that for over a month now, and haven't changed my desktop, because every day, I remind myself that now's the time. I am reminded of one of my favorite Rachel Carson quotes:

One summer night, out on a flat headland, all but surrounded by the waters of the bay, the horizons were remote and distant rims on the edge of space. Millions of stars blazed in darkness, and on the far shore a few lights burned in cottages. Otherwise there was no reminder of human life. My companion and I were alone with the stars: the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon. It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century, this little headland would be thronged with spectators. But it can be see many scores of nights in any year, and so the lights burned in the cottages and the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead; and because they could see it almost any night, perhaps they never will.
She's right, of course, in this as she is in so many other things. We miss stuff, because we focus on that which is blaring in our face, and therefore the little mysteries slide by, sideways, taking with them that which makes the richness of a life. How does this tie back to the planner?
For the happiest life, rigorously plan your days, leave your nights open to chance. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
So here we are, back at the king-sized planner pages. I find myself wondering how I ever tried to make do, get by, stumble along through the smaller pages. I'm finding both my plans, and my ability to execute now, today, to be increasing, simply by the virtue of allowing myself to expand to the very edges. It's a good feeling, a nice stretch; planner yoga of a sort. With bigger scrawls come bigger hopes and aspirations. I'm not living in shorthand any more, which feels pretty good. Who knew that planning in complete sentences rather than bullet points greases the imagination? We're heading into one of my favorite times of the year; the season of the re-creation of the self, the zone of the New Years' Resolution. The first 21 Days of January, wherein new plans, new people, new selves and new habits are created. But before the slog on changing ruts, comes this beautiful prep time, where people envision the selves they want to have in the new year, and freed of the burden of execution, they imagine bigger, more expansively. So here's my advice to you. When you're thinking about creating your year, go for the big pages.


At 12/14/2006 06:14:00 PM, Anonymous Mom2 said...

good thing Allen doesn't read your blog or we would be buying that half a million dollar gold mine.

At 1/01/2007 11:26:00 AM, Blogger mama o' the matrices said...

Three years ago, a friend got me a calendar with BIG squares to write in. And stickers to catch my eye and remind me about birthdays and anniversaries. And a pocket at the back to shove birthday party invites, scraps of crucial paper into.

I'm in heaven. And running out of room!


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