When I head into the office the next morning, Rachel is sitting at her desk with her eyes closed. One hand is open at shoulder height, the other hovers over her To Do list, which is spread out over several pages on her desk. Beside it is a note pad with today’s date and a pen.
I sit down quietly. I know not to interrupt this process.
After a few moments, the index finger of the hand above the list drops to the page. She opens her eyes, picks up the pen and makes a note. This process is repeated four more times.
When she is done, she drops her hands, focusses on me properly and smiles. “Hey! Good morning!”
What was she doing, you ask?
Rachel is a huge believer in the To Do list. Makes page after page after page of them. And for years, she got nothing done. Emergencies cropped up, forgetfulness set in, whatever. Life felt messy. Progress was not being made.
But in her endless quest to make her life a little better, she hit on energy work. Reiki, Feng Shui, Theta waves. If it has to do with energy, she’s taken the course. So she’s also proficient at Home Wiring and Furnace Repair. And is actually quite a gifted healer. She could probably make a career of it, except somewhere along the way, she decided that money is evil and won’t ever accept any for the work she does.
But she has finally (sort of) gotten control of her To Do list.
She believes that everything is energy. Every. Single. Thing. And not only is it energy. It is aware energy. You. Me. Plants (and I’m with her so far). Furniture (not so much). And our activities (nope). They, she believes, have an energy (ARE an energy) and have an awareness of themselves and a desire as to whether and when they would like to be accomplished.
So never mind, you know, deadlines and “What is the one thing that will move us most forward on this project?” No she’s all about, “Which of these little beauties most want to be accomplished today?”
And her input on the monthly newsletter (deadline: day after tomorrow) falls by the wayside because the kitchenette wants to be reorganized, the Volunteer Training Manual wants to be updated (never mind that the I Want You Dead Girls haven’t read the current edition and likely never will) and a few other things that I can’t really remember.
“OK,” I say. “I’ll get done what I can and send it on to you then.”
She gives me a big smile and I head in to my office.
I should be more bothered by all of this than I am.
It’s not just because in the big scheme of life, none of what we do in this office actually matters. I mean, it doesn’t, but I can forget that on a regular basis, get caught up in routines and schedules and deadlines till I start to feel like my job is important, that what we do matters and Rachel should stick to the plan, dammit.
But the weird thing is, everything gets done. Far more so than when she tried to work like normal people.
“What do you mean, ‘the donor list doesn’t want to be updated today?’ ” I’d asked about a year ago when she first floated this theory.
“I asked it,” she said. “It wants to wait.”
“But Lucy wants us to do it today!”
“I know,” she said. “But there’s no point in doing a task that doesn’t want to be done. It will throw up roadblocks. We’ll just get frustrated.”
I had begged her to just help me update the damned Donor List. And about twenty minutes in, my computer crashed and we spent the rest of the day getting it fixed. The Donor List was updated two days later, about the time that Rachel sensed it wanted to be done in the first place. Her hand was nowhere near my computer when it crashed, so I just take her word for it now. Far less frustration and misery.
“Have you told your kids this theory?” I asked once.
She just laughed. “No way. They’d keep telling me that the dishes didn’t want to get done or their test didn’t want to be studied for. Nope nope nope. This is my little secret.”
* * * * *
“I wonder if it works for destinations?” Odin asked that evening when I explained why the newsletter that I had headed off to work determined to finish that day still wasn’t done (“But, damn, you should see the shine on that kitchenette!”).
“Like,” he continued, “You know how all of a sudden some place in the world suddenly becomes the place everyone you talk to is going to this year?”
“Or the little restaurant that only we know about is suddenly packed every time we want grab a bite?”
“Yeah. Why does that happen?”
“The Mayan Riviera suddenly feels like having people over?”
“Tableau wants a party?”
“I hate to say it,” says Odin. “But I think Rachel might be on to something.”
Ha ha ha hahahahahah. Just finished my to do list and not doing it.