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My darling friend from Tokyo is here! 

The World Domination Summit is happening this weekend in Portland, and all kinds of beloveds are arriving! (And if you’re in Portland this Friday, come say hi; I’m holding a meetup!)  

You know what’s on the top of my Very Important Things To Do list this week? 

To enjoy myself.  

To ENJOY World Domination Summit, and to enjoy my friends.  Really.  That’s my top priority.

Take a look.

How decadent!  How luxurious!  

How…embarrassing. 

I mean, honestly, I feel a little silly that it’s on there.  It seems ridiculous that I have to actually write down on a piece of paper that I should enjoy myself

But!  I will continue to embarrass myself in front of you guys because writing it down isn’t silly, it’s actually really important.    

You see, left to its own devices,  my mind doesn’t understand this concept of ‘fun.’  

My mind, it is a simple creature.  

It thinks its job is to think of things.  This is why it reminds me to buy light bulbs when I am reading a story to my daughter, but never EVER thinks of it when I am in the store.  My mind is a tad…anxious. 

Okay, actually that’s not completely accurate; the truth is that my mind is a seething roiling disco ball of shiny objects, squirrels, and anxious pinging reminders that arrive at utterly useless moments.

So it’s completely possible for me to get a massage and lie there on the table thinking about emails I need to write.  

Or to go out to dinner with a beloved friend and distractedly keep grabbing my phone to add things to my grocery list. 

Or pay lots of good money to go to an event, plus childcare, and then spend my whole time there distracted and angst-y, with a vague nagging feeling that I ought to be doing something else. 

Researcher Brigid Schulte calls this ‘contaminated time.’  

This one concept has helped me understand why so many of us feel rushed and ragged and anxious– and what the antidote is. 

Contaminated time is when we are doing one thing, yet thinking of another.  It’s when we are trying to think about two or three things at the same time.  It’s when we are one place but feeling guilty about it.  It’s when we are facebooking while doing our best to ignore that urgent project that needs our attention.  It’s OHMYGOD MY WHOLE LIFE. 

Living this way is exhausting.  It sends stress hormones coursing through our body, which shut down the prefrontal cortex, which makes us feel fuzzy and sluggish but also amped out of our minds with a sense of vague urgency.  

Last week I wrote about how want more of the saturated feeling of presence that comes from being really truly there for the moments of our lives. 

Here’s the most pragmatic, do-able way I know to help you get there: 

Decide what you want to be doing at any given moment, declare it, and then do it. 

I know!  It sounds so simple!  So facile!  

But bear with me.  If I have “ENJOY ONE’S PRECIOUS SELF FOR GOSH’S SAKE” written at the top of my to-do list, that sends an important message to my poor feeble anxious mind.  It tells it that it’s okay, it’s all right, back off already, go ahead and relax.  Because it tells my mind that having fun, in fact, that is exactly what it’s SUPPOSED to be doing. 

This is something I teach the women in my Queen Sweep class: that we need to be as deliberate about our joy as we are about paying our bills and getting our work done.  Maybe even more deliberate, because there’s no external force that will exert pressure on us; it has to come from within us.  

We are responsible for our own joy, and nothing works better than putting it right up at the top of the priority pile.  

Try this: 

Grab your to-do list.  Pick one delightful thing you really would do if you were living a rich and delicious list.  Now write that RIGHT ON your to-list.  Put a star next to it.  Want to make sure you don’t forget?  Write that delightful thing on a post-it and stick it on your phone.  Joy….check! 

So have a wonderful weekend, darlings– I certainly intend to!  

much love, 

Anna 

P.S.  And if you’re town, I’ll see you on Friday!  No RSVP necessary, feel free to bring a friend, and I’ll see you there

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