I’ve got this idea in the back of my mind that things have to be perfect–the booklist complete, the supplies in hand, the house organized, dinner planned–before I can start. It’s a fancy way of procrastinating. It’s a fine way to give into the fear of failing or not quite measuring up. It keeps me busy enough with the peripheral that I never actually get down to work. And it affects my homeschooling and my paid work.
Another good idea from Mystie Winckler’s ecourse, Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done, is the idea of iterations. She takes the idea from computer programmers–she’s married to one! You don’t wait to create the perfect product. You release an early version knowing that a later version will include tweaks and improvements.
This subtle shift in thinking has exposed the perfectionism and fear at the heart of my excuses. I don’t need to wait to begin. I can start where I am, with what I have in hand. Later on, I’ll know better and do better.
So as we try to create a balance–between activity and reflection, between paid work and homemaking, between the endless to-do lists and a bit of sanity–it can help to remember that these plans aren’t final. Things will change, and then they’ll change again, and we’ll find a new balance. What we need is here.
What We Need Is Here
by Wendell Berry
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.