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  • Steph'nie Hoffmann

Manatee


My husband and I have a code word for a large amount of work falling on us in a short period of time. It comes from my teen years, when I was an avid fan of the books and radio stories of Douglass Adams. In one particularly interesting story line, a whale and a flowerpot pop into existence in the ozone above a planet and have a short conversation about it as they fall to the planet. The discussion was about if it hurts less when you fall on land or sea. The Flowerpot maintained it would be easier on the Whale if they had a sea landing. The Whale disagreed, arguing that it isn’t whether it is your natural habitat, it's how hard you hit it.

Personally, I was struck by what the person they landed on would think.

And so my husband and I have agreed, based on the aforementioned concept that someone can be going along their regular day… planning what they will do… making arrangements for what they can put off and what can be done later… until all at once a manatee falls from the sky and lands at your feet.

You see, we have agreed, and I am certain you will too, that once a manatee falls from the sky and lands in front of you; everything stops. It essentially cancels out your entire days’ plan, all the things you thought you were going to get done immediately go into the category of ‘not getting done now’ and you wipe the day (or longer) clear and you simply focus on the manatee in front of you at that moment.

I have taken, with Reiki, a new turn in life where I nearly always try and do things the minute they come up and try not to postpone things of importance as I never know when the next manatee will fall from the sky and I will not have time to follow through with my original plans. Do it now, I tell myself, because in the next 5 minutes the phone could ring and there could be a manatee to deal with.

Robert will walk in the door and respond to the standard ‘how was your day?’ with a meaningful glance and the one word: “Manatee” and I will know exactly how much running around and getting nothing done he has achieved. We find the code word quite useful.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love manatees. Big fan, overall. It's just… surprising, and sometimes the experiences that drop in our laps are amazing and wonderful and sometimes they are messy as well. We don’t judge the experience that demands immediate and sudden attention – only the impact crater it leaves in our best laid plans.

Why do I share all this?

January has been a bit of a manatee month for me. I think for Robert too, though I don’t remember seeing him since New Years Eve when we were sheet rocking the ceiling of the Reiki clinic together while I was simultaneously negotiating a real estate deal with men in Alaska. Oh, and ordering essential oils for a sick friend from another friend before the end of the year ran out.

It's been a whirlwind.

And I heard a friend say that in her experience as an astrologer, the first of a year is a bit of template to how the year will go. It being the first official 7 days of 2018, if this is my template, I have learned two very important lessons:

Lesson #1: Take care of myself/yourself – Self care has to be tip top priority so that when a manatee falls, your tank is full and you are ready to turn to the issues at hand.

And

Lesson #2: Do it now-

Whatever “it” is, if it really needs to be done, recognize you may not have time to get to it later. After all, a manatee might fall before you get to it, and so, do it NOW. There may not be another time.

The thing is, as I think about this, I get more and more excited for 2018.

You see, living in the moment of what needs to be done RIGHT NOW together with living in the ready for what is perfectly ripe for my attention is a uniquely rewarding existence.

It's not slow or dull, I can tell you that. And it has nice open spaces for rest and relaxation.

I'm picking my battles in 2018, and choosing my projects with care these days. Even calling and backing out of things I’d previously agreed to do because if I went, I wouldn’t have the energy to deal with a manatee afterward.

I think of meticulous self care as manatee insurance; and I think it's line item number one for my 2018 plan.

-SLHB


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