Important and Urgent
Calgary is in the midst of a cleanup from the recent flooding-an amazing recovery is in progress from this disaster that has affected thousands of families, the town of High River, the Calgary downtown core and more. (Including my little incredible and wonderful community of Bowness.)
It all was and is urgent. Urgent to pack bags and get out of your house by 7pm. Urgent to watch the news and Facebook updates all day and all night. Urgent to fill bathtubs or jugs of tap water. Urgent to feel as though you should drop everything and start shoveling out basements. Urgent to purge your house of anything unnecessary and donate to families in need. Urgent to give food, clothes, money, anything you can scrape together.
The urgency makes it difficult to see what is the most important thing to do at any moment, and what could be considered less, or non-important.
To me, the more obvious non-important activity (unless your life is on social media) may be using the TV, social media, phone, etc, only as needed, but not as our everything. I started to feel better with a few less images of disaster in my life. My daughter has also calmed down with less screens and Internet on in our home.
If you ARE spreading the news, it is lovely to see the stories of neighbours (and strangers) helping each other, amazing rescues and recoveries, the helpers and the leaders, and the generosity of our community.
It's not my call for what is important and non-important to you, but our city does have some advice regarding non-important activities-like visiting affected areas if you don't need to. Or watering your lawn or flowers. City services and our safety and access are important.
What is most important to you? For some, it will be doing everything to recover homes. For me, it has been important to keep a calm schedule for my family and daughter, who has been sensitive to the events; to keep Elan open and continue to help our practice members; to remain healthy and sane; to contribute as I can through donations, and childcare, and be open to what is to come. I do feel it is important to continue my piece of routine and constancy. Perhaps my most important role may be in the future and not in this moment.
In all of this urgency, it has been helpful to continue to ask myself, is this important or non-important for me right now? It's a struggle to keep my goals and values at the forefront, but the question has been helping.
What does the above chart mean? It's a concept from author Stephen Covey, and its a way to examine where we spend our time and how to prioritize our tasks and commitments. Hopefully we spend it most in the top half with important things. In normal, ideal circumstances, our life operates in the non-urgent quadrant primarily, BUT, I think if life is urgent all around us, we can be on that left hand side for a while. I believe if we are largely in that Non-Urgent, Important Quadrant, we may be better prepared for emergencies and have the tools for recovery. That's my plan for when the urgency is done!
One gift that has surfaced from our recent disaster is a re-emphasis on many important values-community, gratitude, family, helping others, resilience, and simplicity.
I would love to hear what is important to you.