The Power of 10: wrap it up

An impulse buy – wrap it up!
Finishing a meeting – wrap it up!
Last minute of a timed test – wrap it up!
A gift for under the tree – wrap it up!

Wrap it up is a phrase that may have many meanings depending on who and where you are. Under pressure it can seem like a 10-ton weight or a door closing. As a treat, it may feel like an experience of generosity and joy. Sometimes and ending and other times a launch.

In November 2015 Recovery Partners Montgomery held a symposium at the Bolger Center which, to me, was an awesome and inspiring few days. Among the many excellent guests and speakers was Judith Clark, Director of Women Who Care Ministries in Gaithersburg (for info go to http://www.womenwhocareministries.org/about_us). Judith is a woman I had never met before but I was familiar with her work to close a gap on childhood hunger. Her ministry facilitates the “Backpack” program by delivering hundreds of backpacks of food to schools so that students will have nutritious meals on weekends. The media uses the euphemism “food insecurity” to describe this condition of not knowing where your next meal is coming from. The fact is, even in Montgomery County, almost 78,000 residents are “food insecure.” In 2014 almost 52,000 or 34% of students received free or reduced price breakfast and lunch at school. Judith’s passion is to make sure that no matter what, children and families eat when schools are not in session.

During her presentation on SUCCCESS, she spoke about being quick to take on projects or people but less quick to let go of what isn’t working. This might be an employee, a job, a roommate, or something material like a broken-down car. The point of her challenge was to focus on what she (or you or me) need to let go of before the end of the year. What do you or I want to leave behind in 2016? What decision, baggage or leftovers should we say “Wrap it Up” before we move into 2017?

Last month I wrote about EXPECTATIONS and have been working on winnowing down what I carry around each day. Often my expectations are impossible. They are a weight on me, an obstacle to success. Other times carrying around expectations is a way of procrastinating. I can disappoint myself instead of doing or completing something. Another phrase Judith used was “Ants are busy, I’m productive.” This saying hit home with me. So, looking around my life and thinking of Judith’s comment here is my list for the Power of Ten as I move through December.

• I will “wrap it up” by donating clothes my children have outgrown or just don’t need. Their dresser drawers are overflowing. Plus 3 coats and household items (apple canister set) that I just don’t need or use. Goodbye clutter!
• I will “wrap it up” by closing a small debt to my accountant for 2015. I need to do this before I can start the next round of filing taxes.
• I will “wrap it up” by finishing a house job. I choose finally installing rain barrels around my house. I have been doing this off/on for almost 3 years. Enough!
• I will “wrap it up” reading from page 387 to the end of Gone with the Wind. This is my 15th time with GWTW but I’m only ½ way through. I started last summer (2014) so it is time to follow Scarlett to Atlanta after the Civil War ends. It is a book that connects me to my mother – a story for another day.
• I will “wrap it up” my small kitchen renovation that has lingered for almost 3 months. That should take about 4 hours so I will commit the time on my calendar.
• I will “wrap it up” planning an exercise for a workshop on the 13th. I have the privilege of co-facilitating this day with my sister. The theme focuses on her book and how leadership comes with fair allocation of resources.
• I will “wrap it up” by releasing any need to splurge for gifts this Christmas. I will focus instead on an experience my children will remember – a day of skiing if the weather is right.
• I will “wrap it up” by letting go of the myth that my car will last forever. I will become open to having to buy a car. This means a financial WRAP as well as how emotionally invested I am in the Volvo I’ve had for 13 years.
• I will “wrap it up” by making real the idea of supporting a group for people who have survived overdose – themselves or as friends and family. I will make 4-10 contacts that I know will bring this together. We will set a start date.
• I will “wrap it up” for creating an act of joy and peace in my home. I will close 2016 with a tidy house. This brings me a sense of both relief and gratitude by knowing that commitment and action have linked to changes by taking care of what needs to be done next in my life. Freshly made beds, folded towels and clean floors give me a sense of accomplishment. These acts also remind me of my mother who always cleaned before a trip so she wouldn’t come home to a messy house. She also reminded me that if I just made my bed, everything would look better. She was right. Thank you, Judith Andrews, McAlpine (1940-1977).

“When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.” Spoken by former First Lady and Activist, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Peace be with you,
Dr. Catherine