The little in a little makes a lot process does actually work, even if it can feel weird to an intensive. But sometimes, especially when we’ve already given everything we’ve got, it’s the only way to make progress. And the good news? You don’t have to give up you intensiveness or your intensive way of being to make it work.
notes and transcript:
Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in.
I want to remind us all in this moment, this chaos moment, this seasonal moment, this world politics moment, this who-knows-what's-coming-next moment, that sometimes it's okay to do things the expansive way, even if you're an intensive. Sometimes, in fact, that is the only way to survive, is by doing it the expansive way. Even if you're an intensive.
I know it feels better to start and speed run and and and collapse. And that collapse is kind of a blissful, drifting, softness, care place, to think and dream and get ready to get up and do it all again. And building your life on that structure is not a bad idea. Unlike what most people say, it's not a bad idea to do that. To know that that's how you are, and to plan your project and your life, and your commitments and your promises, and your hopes and your dreams around that kind of cycle.
That come-and-go, up-and-down phasic work cycle, phasic play cycle, phasic everything cycle. That phasic "I collected all of this stuff and do this hobby for three years, unabated, and then I stop, but I keep the stuff because I'm probably coming back to it" cycle.
The "I ran one marathon, and then I put away the shoes, but I didn't actually get rid of them, and then I ran another race. And then I hoped that maybe those shoes would be okay, but they weren't. So I ran out and bought some new shoes, because then I really really really wanted to run like five races in one year. And so I did that. And then I stopped. But then I kept the shoes as a reminder more than anything else, because I had learned that the shoes don't last that long. And then two years later, I picked up triathlons" cycle.
That is how we cycle. That is how we do things. And when everything is too much, when we are tired, when we are sick, when there's just too much happening at once- sometimes... sometimes we don't cycle. Sometimes we are too tired to rev up, to cycle out, to cycle up. Sometimes what we need instead is tiny nibbles. Those tiny nibbles that always irritate us, because everyone else always tells us that that's how we're supposed to be doing things and tiny nibbles, that's the right way. That's the mature way. That's the planful way. That's not true.
But sometimes it is the way that we need, also. Sometimes every time you walk through a room, pick up one piece of dirty clothing and put it in the hamper. And eventually all the clothes are in the hamper. Sometimes. Sometimes write one sentence every day, sometimes write for 15 minutes every day. Sometimes just cook enough food for one meal because your mouth is bored and your legs are tired. Sometimes just go for a walk around the block. It doesn't have to be a walk all the way to the butcher even though you like the butcher and it feels good to walk to get your food. Sometimes just sit up and then lie down again.
Sometimes just drink a glass of water and go back to bed.
There's a sound on TikTok that's going around right now. For those of you who might not know, TikTok will encourage people to put pre-recorded sounds underneath their videos. And there's a sound going around right now that basically says "some days, when you get up and it's a terrible day, it's just going to be a terrible day. Go back to bed." Just go back to bed. Some days cannot be redeemed. And that's true. But if you live in a world like the world that I live in, sometimes even an unredeemable day needs to have something happen in it.
So do one thing, one thing, read one page, talk to one person, send one email, make one appointment. And then tomorrow, maybe make one more appointment, just one. You have to keep those little promises to yourself. If you promise that it's just one little thing, you have to keep it at one little thing you can't just push yourself and force yourself. Now if you're inspired, that's one thing. But if it's exhausting, and you're like well I should be able to do more and you push yourself, then you're never going to trust yourself against it. So don't do that.
If you said "one thing," do one thing. do just one thing. And then maybe a little later in the day there's one other 'one thing' that you can do. It is possible to keep moving forward that way. It is possible to keep moving forward. If you have 85 steps to your project, just one step today, one step tomorrow and you'll be further along. And it'll be less daunting when you finally feel like you can gather yourself to rush across the finish line. Because we do like a good rush across the finish line. But even if that rush isn't giving you the dopamine you're used to, even if that rush doesn't feel amazing, but you are still getting things done, that's legit.
You don't have to give up your intensiveness or your intensive way of being, your love, your identity. You don't have to give it up. Just... it's taking a nap right now. And that's okay, too.
And in this season, especially this season of rush and hustle and bustle and end-of-year and have-you-accomplished? and did-you-make-your-numbers? and "oh my goodness, look at all the celebrations coming up," and "are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you done? Did you do it? Did you do it? Did you...?" Listen, if you got out of bed, that's a victory. And I mean that I know it's cliche. But I mean that. If you got out of bed, and you managed to be kind to one of the person, that's a victory.
In this world of bombardment, if you manage to not bombard someone, that's a victory. If you carried a little grace into the world, that's a victory. If you carried some grace for yourself, for not carrying grace for someone else, that's also a victory. That's all it has to be. We are three years into a pandemic that doesn't seem to be ending.
We are having to learn to live in motion, rest in motion, rest in crisis. Along with all the other crises, all the other stressors, all the other challenges, all the other difficult things. We're having to do it all, somehow. And the somehow is sometimes that we rush and we push, and we enjoy the adrenaline of it all. And sometimes, sometimes, it's that we take a break and take another break. I'm working on making a custom dress form right now.
I'm making a custom dress form instead of buying a dress form because my body shape is not represented by any of the dress forms available on the market. And having someone else make a custom dress form is substantially more expensive. So I'm making my own, like you do. I've been sick for two weeks, and two days ago.
Two days ago, I thought maybe, maybe I could cut out the pieces that I needed for the next step and then sew them on. That didn't seem like such a big deal. It's the armhole covers, they're small parts. Most of the big construction is done, it doesn't require a lot of thinking. But they are a little tricky because it's a flat circle set into a cylindrical circle. It's It's like doing a set-in sleeve. It's a little complicated geometrically.
And I realized that I wasn't going to be doing that on my sewing machine that I was going to be doing it by hand. And I realized that I did not have the energy to both cut and sew them into place in the same day. I cut them out. I got them ready. And then I was like, that's all the energy I have. And I put away my sewing stuff. And then yesterday I got it out. And I was like okay, I think I have the energy to just sew these two pieces in place. That's it. That's all. I also need to get some cardboard that's not happening today. And I sewed them in place by hand and that was all.
Is it weird to make progress on this project that I feel like I should be able to blast through in a weekend, one little tiny step at a time? Sure. But am I making progress? Yes. Because if I started waiting for the amount of energy that I would need to just finish it, I wouldn't have gotten this part, or the last part, or the part before that, or the part before that done. It would still be sitting in cut-out pieces waiting for me to sew the first stitch. And instead I'm almost there.
The little in a little makes a lot process does actually work.
It's hard to stay inspired. But if you're not feeling inspired anyway, and you still want the thing to get done, it's okay to take it slowly. It's okay to do just one step. One step is enough.
Thanks for tuning in.