Every day we have the choice of whether to remain in familiar thought territory, or to step into the awe inspiring potential of this moment and this moment and this moment. We can truly get stuck in living our TO DO list which, have you noticed, never gets done. Yes, some of those things need to be done, but we could probably take a hard look, winnow it down to the essentials and reduce the size of it quite a bit.
Stuck in the familiar way of doing things, we are often on that hamster wheel, slave to what needs to be done, not even considering another way of being. And this is at the expense of our very lives. Will we truly one day on our deathbed–and that day is coming, make no mistake—say “I am so glad I let the DOer in me run the show and keep my life tidy and chasing after perfection”?
How do you want to live your life, not according to your head, but by asking your heart? I am reminded by re-reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear about how juicy creative living is, and how much of our DOing is covering a fear of BEing—being who we truly are in our deepest heart; answering the call of our heart’s longing; expanding out from our DOing thoughts and allowing ourselves the experience of just BEing for a little while.
Our culture seems at times to be addicted to productivity, as if our value is solely found in what we are accomplishing. And when we buy that story, we actually miss a big part of life: deep engagement with nature, people and experiences on a level that moves us emotionally and transforms our soul.
This is where meditation is helpful. Even for 20 minutes a day, it gives us an experience of ourselves beyond the DOing and very much in the BEing. While our mind may be going a mile a minute, telling us all the things we really should be doing instead of sitting, after awhile, we realize, that is what our mind does: chatters away, telling us what we SHOULD be doing all the time.
In the recognition, we can see that we are not just our conditioned, small mind, but a larger consciousness looking at the mind. This gives us some space around, and detachment from, our incessant thinking, which gives us the power of choice—do I really want to spend my life, chasing after and obeying my thoughts, or is there a different choice to make?
Inspiring books, poetry, music, art, movies, nature, people, events are all good support for you to choose differently. Surround yourself and give your attention to such things. Your soul will find nourishment there.
When we choose differently, after some time our thoughts occasionally become the voice of our heart, speaking to us on a higher inspired level that just our To Do list. They might urge us to take a break and take in the beauty; or to take really good care of ourselves by doing something fun and relaxing. Our thoughts start working on our own behalf, urging us to stop and smell the roses or take in the view, to allow our nervous system to relax and let go so we can enjoy this life we work so hard to create.
Take a few deep releasing breaths and read this list of qualities: Awake, Awareness, Acceptance, Aliveness, Awe, Curiosity, Creativity, Courage, Connection, Gift, Heart, Intimacy, Inspiration, Joy, Magic, Meaning, Mystery, Open, Presence, Purpose, Sensitivity, Transformation, Trust, Vitality, Yes! Tune in to how you feel, holding these words in your heart. Are there any missing from this list? Which one calls out to you now? That is the quality that your soul most needs in this moment. Take a minute or two and breathe it in. Words have power—the mere thought of them creates the experience of their meaning.
How would life be different if you approached it as a magical, mystery tour? Because that is what it really is, although you need to be the tour guide, choosing the sights—not some old worn out thought pattern that takes you away from the magic and mystery. It’s all here. Slow down, relax, drop in, and enjoy the show.
Best to you,
Diane Ingram, PCC