As Larry and I were having a conversation about the holidays coming up, I thought about my family and friends and what I wanted to buy them for gifts. One of my love languages is giving gifts (and receiving them) so I wanted to find something that they would like. As I thought about this, I decided that I wanted to love myself first and give myself a gift (as well as buying gifts for my loved ones). I didn’t want it to be a gift-gift, but something different and special. Before I share with you how I will love myself and the gift I’m giving myself, I will give you a glimpse of what my life was like.
There was a time in my life that I was the “Queen of Multitasking” and rushing. With four children under the age of 10, there never seemed to be enough time in the day and I learned to do many things at the same time. I could be classified as an overachiever. Can you relate?
For example, I was holding my son in my left arm nursing him, while counseling a friend on the phone and stirring something on the stove with my right arm. I felt proud of myself and loved writing lists and crossing things off because at the end of the day, I felt like I had accomplished something and my day wasn’t wasted. I didn’t know any better and thought it was a necessity to get everything done that I wanted to do. When we multitask, our attention is divided between other tasks which means that the quality of what we’re doing suffers. When we focus on one task at a time, the quality is definitely much higher.
I grew up in a home where I heard “hurry up” a lot. I didn’t know how to do things slowly and one thing at a time. Perhaps because I’m also a New Yorker, I did just about everything fast, from eating to driving to talking – and felt proud of it. Thank God, I have learned a better way and that is to relax and stop DOING so much. I have learned to BE, to enjoy and let fun and pleasure be the priority in my life.
That brings me to the gift I’m giving myself this Christmas, but not only at Christmas, but every day as a way of life. Have you ever heard of the word “lollygagging”? I had to look it up in the dictionary to make sure it really was a word. It says: “To spend time doing things that are not useful or serious or to fool around and waste time, to spend time idly, loaf.”
I wasn’t taught or encouraged to lollygag, but was taught the opposite; to be serious and get things done. I have memories of being reprimanded for lollygagging and heard, “Stop lollygagging and get your room cleaned now.” Perhaps I knew the importance of lollygagging at one time but thought it was wrong or bad. As an adult, I felt guilty if I wasn’t doing or accomplishing something. I thought I was lazy if I just wanted to do nothing and relax. I sometimes still have to fight the belief that I’m lazy and that it is bad or wrong to do nothing.
I have a completely new understanding of what it means to lollygag today. Lollygagging is being in the moment, having fun, being free, enjoying, relaxing, experiencing pleasure, being playful and kind of mindless. It is really about letting Spirit lead me and doing what feels right in the moment. It is not a time to produce, to please, to impress, or to accomplish anything and there is no agenda. Can you imagine what it would be like to feel good about wasting time on yourself and to just fool around? It’s glorious.
I am proud to say that I am now the “Queen of Lollygagging” and pleasure. I waste time on myself doing what I love and want to do. Larry and I lollygag when we go to Costco and just kind of float around looking at new things and tasting all the food samples they give out. We have so much fun and laugh and he calls it “Pollygagging” because we are now partners. I mean really, how can you have fun and play at Costco?
You may be thinking, “Sure Pat, you’re retired and have the time to lollygag, but, I have a job and family to take care of and that is the last thing I can do.” I know what it is like to have a family and a job and go to school at the same time. I know what it is like to go from one thing to another and still feel like there is so much more to do. At one time, I put everybody else’s needs ahead of my own so there wasn’t time or energy for my needs and I was stressed and exhausted all the time.
With all the stress and demands in our lives, it makes it even more important to give yourself the gift of lollygagging once in a while. Perhaps a few hours on the weekend or 1 hour a day, whatever feels good and works for you. When our tanks are full because we have spent time loving and honoring ourselves we will be able to give to others from our surplus. You will also teach your children the importance of taking care of yourself and not being a martyr or saint because of all you do for others.
What gives you pleasure? Whatever it is, give it to yourself and make yourself a priority. You are important and worth it. Start with doing one good thing for yourself every day and it will feel so good, that you will want to do it more and more.
This is the season of giving – to yourself FIRST and watch the miracles unfold. Then you will be able to receive with an open heart. You won’t look to others to fill and complete you because you have already given it to yourself.
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