Amanda Quraishi works full-time as an IT professional at Mobile Loaves and Fishes in Austin, Texas. She is also a blogger and an inter-faith activist.
I’m a planner. As a full-time-working-mother-of-two with an overflowing agenda of volunteering and extra-curricular activities, it’s really the only way I can get it all done. I rely heavily on my calendar and my ‘to do’ lists (yes, plural) to keep all my plates spinning.
It works great most of the time; I get a lot of stuff done, and don’t let many things slip through the cracks. It’s pretty rare that I have an hour or two (much less an entire day) when there isn’t something to do. I’ve become a master of efficiency, which, for this stage in my life, is a real triumph.
But there’s a downside; For one thing, I don’t have a lot of room for spontaneity. I don’t often deviate from my plan, and my intense focus on what I need to get done blocks out a lot of really interesting stuff that goes on around me.
Recently, I’ve made an effort to listen to that ‘little voice’ that tells me to stop and pay attention to things that aren’t part of my plan.
For example, during this past Lenten season I vowed to sincerely thank at least one person each day for something they do or have done that has made my life better. My first inclination was to make a list of everyone I know and start assigning days to thank them on my calendar, so I wouldn’t forget. Then I decided that it would be better to let myself be inspired to thank a different person each day. The result has been that I found myself in a state of reflective gratitude, as I recognized and appreciated the people around me based on the emotion I felt after interacting with them. It has been a truly beautiful exercise and I’m starting to open myself to more experiences throughout my day–simply observing the world around me and allowing myself to be moved to action.
Did you ever drive by a panhandler and feel something tug at your heart? Did you ever feel like you needed to go check your kids out of school and spend the afternoon with them at the park for no reason? Did you ever wake up in the morning thinking about someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time?
And if so, did you act on it?
I think that’s what’s missing in a lot of our lives. I think that’s why modernity is so hard on the soul. The lopsided way we experience our relationships and our environment is responsible for our failure to thrive, individually or collectively. A really good life requires balance in all things. As humans, we evolve and grow when we act on the things that really move holistically, at all levels of our existence: spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically.
It’s good to plot and plan and organize, but sometimes, it’s good to just go with what moves you, too.
You can connect with Amanda here on her website.
Today’s post is the eighth of the SOS Leadership Austin Leading Ladies’ Blog Series. The purpose of this blog series is to share the stories and insights of women who are answering the call to leadership in their lives. Come back each Friday to read more!