Overwhelmed and remembering to take it ‘bird by bird’

Office Worker with Mountain of Paperwork

I often say, and have often heard, “everything happens at one time.” Right now, I am close to being overwhelmed with gathering and filling out paperwork for different companies, two with close deadlines. My mobile phone rings and before I can answer, the land line rings. My FAX machine and I are growing close. I am actually becoming familiar with its buttons and programs.

The inbox for my email, trimmed and manageable before the end of 2012, is once again approaching Behemoth status. Not to mention the pet dust bunnies have multiplied. Let me check my calendar, I do remember house guests arriving soon.

Oh, dear me. Which way do I go? Where do I start? Remember to breathe, Tanya. OK. I need a brownie. Don’t feel like baking. I will settle for a leisurely drink of afternoon tea, in a china cup, and a chocolate chip cookie. I owe it to myself.

I will pause and read again, words of wisdom flowing from the pages of a book my sister-friend Bev gave me a few years ago. Bird by Bird, by Ann Lamott, offers a quote that is a true nugget of sanity in a mess of reality.

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’ ”

Hmm. Bird by bird. Simple but wise advice. I think I’ll take it.

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