"If a rabbit shows up, it means:
This is a very creative time for you, so it's important to quickly take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way unexpectedly...Rather than steady, step-by-step progress, you'll see it happen in leaps and bounds...You're going to find yourself going through a period of quiet and stillness followed by a burst of intense activity. Express your love freely and readily to those you're closest to.
Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer
I never quite realize how important routines are to me until they are disrupted.
Nathan wasn't feeling well this morning--an extremely "hurting" throat, he insisted. (Of course, it cleared up two hours later, after the risk of being sent to school was well past, but that's beside the point.) My thoughts initially rushed to the "How sick is he? Is he 'going to the doctor' sick?" They didn't stay there long, though--that motherly intuition was telling me he was actually okay. But since I knew he was quite likely to go to the nurse and put on his puppy-dog sad face, and that I'd probably end up having to go and get him, I decided to just save us both the bother and keep him home.
So then my mind rushed to the "How am I going to do everything I need to do?"
My Wednesdays are the same, every week, and I have the morning schedule down pat:
While getting Nathan ready for school, I make and drink a green smoothie, strip the beds, start a load of laundry, get the second load sorted into the laundry basket, do a general pick up of the house, and unload the dish washer. After he's gone, I meditate, get dressed, go grocery shopping to two or three stores. I come home, put away the groceries, eat breakfast, play with the cat, write, remake the beds, and shift the laundry.
The afternoon schedule varies, but that's the my Wednesday morning, every week.
Except when Nathan unexpectedly stays home, and I haven't planned for it, and I go into complete mental break down mode. Unusually (for me, at least--and perhaps this means progress), the break down happened only in my own head--I didn't actually share any of it with Nathan or Mark. Even so, it was difficult enough.
The schedule had to be adjusted--and all my insecurities flooded to the top. I wasn't going to be able to maintain my "perfect" schedule--I would have to do things out of order, and maybe not at all--and my mind couldn't handle it. I felt on the verge of tears, or maybe anger--directed at myself and everyone around me. My brain was scrambling, trying to fit everything into new slots. Could I shift it all over one day? But Thursday has its own routine, and so does Friday...that made me feel even more anxious. Not just Wednesday messed up, but Thursday and Friday as well.
I paused, took a deep breath, and then something unexpected happened. I thought, "What if..."
What if I waited to have my smoothie until lunch? What if I went to only one store, right then, while Mark was still home and getting ready for work? What if I skipped the sheets today? What if I postponed the meditating until tonight? What if I saved the laundry for the weekend? What if I give the grocery list to Mark for him to take care of on his way home? What if...
It's not that I had any illuminating answers...or that I ended up not doing most of what I needed (or thought I needed) to do. It's that I gave myself a moment to actually think about a different scenario, to actually consider why I do things the way I do, and whether that order is valid or necessary. By asking myself "What if," I was able to see that the world (my world) wouldn't fall apart if I changed it.
When I finally did move, my actions felt effortless. I finished almost everything I had planned to do--not in the same order, and not completely--but enough to calm me.
And all before noon.