The Great To Do List Conspiracy – part 3

I tell you, when I’m weeding my garden, my thoughts just go on and on…

So we’ve covered the differences between what I call cross-offs and practices.  We’ve realized (or I have anyway) that life is chaotic and the best list in the world isn’t going to change that.

And now it’s time to wonder…. If life is chaos, then what’s the opposite?  What embodies the order and predictability that we all seem to crave?  Well, wouldn’t that be the things without life in them?  Inanimate objects, stuff? Hmmmm…

So maybe our materialistic culture is a culture of people wanting to find a little relief from the chaos of life.  Maybe our huge attraction to the structure of the To Do list and by extension, the Shopping List,  to the organizational gurus, to being able to brag about how much we get done is an attempt to keep the chaos at bay.

It’s perfectly understandable, chaos is unpredictable and  scary.  Finding ways around it is a huge temptation, one to which most of us succumb most of the time.

But it begs the question: what do you really want?  Do you want to be alive?

Or do you want to be stuff?

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11 Responses to The Great To Do List Conspiracy – part 3

  1. sunny says:

    I think life around us is chaotic and our own lives can be as peaceful or as chaotic as we create them to be.

    (If I get lazy and don’t clean the kitchen for a week, I’ll be living in chaos. If I decide a clean kitchen is of the utmost importance to me, then I’ll maintain a clean kitchen and not live in chaos.)

    I used to live in a chaotic personal world – where I had too many commitments to keep up with (hadn’t realized “no” is a good word to keep in mind) and I had too much stuff around me. No wonder I couldn’t think clearly and was angry a lot of the time.

    Went off on a tangent there… to answer your question, I want to be alive.

    • Barb McMahon says:

      For different reasons, Yes and No are two of my favourite words. It’s amazing how often I use the wrong one – and how much better life is when I get it right.

      You’ve just given me an idea for another post!

      • sunny says:

        you’re exactly right! and re-reading my own words..I realized HELLO.. it’s not that easy to create your environment. I mean you CAN but then life barrels at you and you have to respond to all of that stuff. so I amend my answer to “who the heck knows?!”

        happy you have material for a new post! can’t wait to read it. I love your discussions.

  2. douglass says:

    I seem to be in some kind of in between world. I make lists all the time — and then lose them, coming upon them later, when whatever the list was about is long and better done, and wonder just what I was thinking.

    Perhaps that initial list is like putting on my shoes before I take the dogs for a walk. It is orderly and coherent — though often illegible when I find it later — and disposable.

    Stuff, on the other, vexes me. When the things we need become stuff, strikes me we don’t need them anymore.

    • Barb McMahon says:

      Which is a wonderful way to decide what to keep and what to let go of – Do I need this or is it just stuff?

      Thanks Douglass!

      • dr.d. says:

        Rain, which is not stuff, offers a perfect opportunity to go on a treasure hunt and find the things I need. Whatever is left is stuff — which may well be something someone else needs, so guess what — I’m probably going to make a list, and then, of course, lose it!

  3. Barb McMahon says:

    Sounds like a perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday.

    In our house, rain offered the opportunity to sleep in (me) and bake cookies (Alan). Is there any better scent to wake up to?

    I read somewhere that the best way to unclutter was to pick out the things that are important and let the rest go. So much easier than having to deal with all that stuff….

    • dr.d. says:

      Chocolate zucchini bread….and, free to good home: John Coltrane Giant Steps cd…with all that sessions alternate takes….because I just discovered I actually have two copies, which says something about the way stuff kind of expands if you don’t watch it. [ and don’t ask me about how many copies of Robert Lowell’s collected poems I found when I was filling my bookshelves after our last move…..]

  4. heidi says:

    Some things I learned in Physics class stuck with me (I know, it’s amazing!) and one of them is the Law of Entropy: all things tend toward randomness and disorder. I love that because it gives me an ‘out’ when life gets all piled up and bogs me down! Things just DO get messy, don’t they?

    An object at rest will remain at rest; an object in motion will carry on with the same old speed, same old direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. (Newton’s First Law of Motion) Don’t we all have a LOT of unbalanced forces coming at us every single day, and don’t they have an impact on our equilibrium? I’m not just talking ‘physical’, of course. Anything that comes our way requires us to respond. Our best mate is a force to reckon with! As soon as we respond, things aren’t exactly the same as they were a minute before! It’s the science of our lives.

    And each of us is alive…and we’re constantly growing and changing and that exerts its own little force on us! (ha! Weight that creeps up in our 30’s becomes a major force in our 40’s!) No list is going to change that!

    But I like lists too! Or maybe it’s writing I like because I can clarify my thoughts and remember ideas. Perhaps my responses to your posts will help me do that in a paperless way…because I, too, lose my lists!! 🙂

  5. Barb McMahon says:

    I love the paperless dream. Of course, then you have to remember where you stored those files….

    Thanks for the physics lesson, Heidi. Amazing how well it applies here!

  6. Pingback: Do I Say Yes or Do I Say No? | Happy Simple

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