April Jeppson: Slow down and do things to feed your soul
Published 8:45 pm Friday, August 12, 2022
Every Little Thing by April Jeppson
I painted my office last week and that was a huge win for me. It gave me a sense of accomplishment that I have been lacking. So many of the things I do every day do not have quick results. I make a newsletter for a program, but won’t know for weeks if it was received and had the desired effect. Sometimes it takes months for my work to show any progress or success. Think about raising children. We spend years doing our best, praying and even crossing our fingers — hoping that our hard work will result in a quality human. We may get glimpses of success as they age, but ultimately it’s not until they become adults and begin lives of their own that we are able to truly see the fruits of our labor.
It’s one of the main reasons I enjoy cleaning the bathroom. I mean, does anyone really like cleaning a bathroom? Probably not. However, it’s the smallest room in my house and has a lot of white smooth surfaces. Within minutes I can see the results of my scrubbing. It is satisfying for me to have an instant positive outcome from my hard work. I need that feeling occasionally.
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Another thing I need from time to time is to use my hands to create. My job allows me opportunities to be creative in my problem solving as well as creating documents on the computer. But there’s something lacking with digital creativity. I need to physically use my hands. The act of making bread is a good example. I prefer to knead the dough by hand versus using the mixer. If I were making bread weekly, I’m sure I would seek help from my KitchenAid. But as rarely as I do it, it’s almost therapeutic to work with the food and just enjoy the process.
So back to my freshly painted office. I had purchased some wall art months ago. I knew I needed to paint my room before I could put them up, so they have been leaning against my office wall this entire time. I was also aware when I purchased them that I would be repainting them with different colors. So as my weekend approached, I brought these pieces home and channeled my inner Bob Ross.
Finding the right colors. Playing around with different brushes and techniques. Telling Alexa to play the soundtrack from “The Greatest Showman.” I even encouraged my youngest to find something that she could paint alongside me. There was a tangible energy in the room. Time had no power over me, and I was simply one with my project.
Occasionally I’d realize my posture was suffering as my back would start to hurt. Or someone would break my hypnotic focus by asking me when we were eating lunch. But for the most part, it was just me and my creation and it was glorious.
I spend so much time working, that I forget to slow down and do the things that feed my soul. This entire week has been more calm and enjoyable. The same chaos is still happening every day, but I’m slower to react. It just doesn’t impact my mood as quickly. It’s almost as if I’ve taken a step back and I can better see this life for what it is. It’s an opportunity to learn and grow and enjoy, not simply endure.
Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.