The Good LifeThe Healthy Life

Projects: Manual Labor and Emotional Ones

posted by Heather July 22, 2020 5 Comments

I like to think of things as “projects”. Just the idea of working on a “project” vs. fixing something or getting better at something sounds so much more motivating to me. Whether it’s a manual labor thing like power washing the deck or working on my fitness, changing my perspective on how I mentally approach it is actually a game changer for me.

Identifying with something as a project makes me feel like I just need to establish some sort of momentum, have an end product in mind, allow for flexibility with that end vision and what the road there will look like, expect that I will need to learn a lot of things from a lot of different sources, be prepared for a lot to not go the way I planned them to, breathe through the inevitable temptation to cry and lose patience, and…the most important…build up a great deal of trust and faith in the process that will eventually get me what I envisioned in the first place.

I say it to myself all of the time: “__________ is my ‘project’.”

Sometimes it’s one of my children. Sometimes it’s something with Ben or one of our parents. And, sometimes it’s within my own body, my mind, or a behavior of mine that I’m trying to change. And, that phrase usually chases on the heels of a deep breath I take to try and slow my response to something that sends blood racing through my veins in a mild form of rage.

Breathe. “________ is my project.” And, I’m back on track.


Ernie July 31, 2020 at 9:05 am

Hi Heather – I just read you post on projects and manual labor. Wonderful idea and great writing. I couldn’t agree more! In fact, I was power-washing a deck last week and had many of the the same feelings. I have often thought of the problems caused by our schooling system that devalues working with your hands and drives everyone towards so called “professional” careers. Shop classes are rare these days, but a common staple of my high school experience. You might enjoy a longtime favorite book…Shopclass as Soulcraft, An Inquiry into the Value of Work, by Matthew Crawford. Hope you are well, and thanks for the writing!

Heather July 31, 2020 at 9:13 am

Hey, Ernie! Great to hear from you! Long time no see 🙁 I have a little rule I live by: when Ernie recommends a book to you, immediately either reserve it at the library or go purchase it on Amazon. Thanks for reading and I fully agree with you that those classes we all took in high school have taught me some of the longest lived, most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned. We should definitely power wash and ponder more often 🙂

Ernie July 31, 2020 at 9:29 am

Oh, you are kind! What a nice compliment. Best to your gang. Off to do some burpees in your honor.

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