Electronic illustration – lifewash detergent bottleKind Promise: I will reinvent whimsically.

This promise is an invitation to think about what’s not working in my life (or what I wish would work better) and experiment with changing it. It is perhaps my most practical promise. It’s sort of like doing laundry with my life.

Step One: Throw the dirty clothes in the hamper. (I make a list of all the things that are bugging me in my life.)

Step Two. Separate whites from colors.
This is too complicated for a parenthetical remark. I review the list with the serenity prayer in mind.

Serenity prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept those things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Are the things on my list something I can change? I can’t change facts. I can’t control other people’s behavior or what goes on in their heads and hearts. I can try to change the way I behave and what I tell myself internally.

Anything that cannot be changed, gets tossed into the “accept this” pile.

Step Three: Put the clothes in hot water water. I go through the list again and write down actions to take that might make it better. I understand that these are experiments. I will try them and watch the results.

Rather than writing “have a better relationship with my husband.” I can try, “play Scrabble with my husband twice a month.” It’s an experiment. I don’t say we are going to play so that we have a better relationship. I ask him to play and watch, over time, to see what happens. (Who knows, maybe someday “playing Scrabble with my husband,” will end up on the list of things that bug me. If so, easy fix.) [Note: this is an example and should not be confused with actual husbands agreeing to play actual Scrabble games.]

Step Four: Add soap. The promise says “whimsically” and that’s important. I go back through my list and find ways to make the solutions and experiments fun. Honestly, this is where I am in my process right now. I need to consider the list as it stands now and find ways to add whimsy.

Step Five: Scrub. Notice that this is a manual washing metaphor. I can’t just wait for a machine to agitate my clothes. I actually have to scrub back and forth, giving a little extra elbow grease for stubborn stains. I have to look and see whether change is happening and make some consistent effort.

I’m going to leave it there and live into this promise for a week…

This gives whole new meaning to the idea of a soap opera.
Will Kate find ways to add whimsical solutions to her life? Will she continue to discover muddy stains of crabbiness marring her life laundry? And what about Naomi? Tune in next week…