Every day I write to-do lists. I’ve written thousands in my thirty years.
And beyond those physical to-do lists, I’ve also got mental and emotional “to do” lists I edit all day long. These lists are a combo of simple errands, big life goals, and anything in between.
On any given day, a compilation of tasks from my to-do lists might look something like this:
– read for school
– write a blog
– get an internship
– email my client
– grocery shop
– pay bills
– make chocolate
– get to yoga
– get inspired
– find love
All of these items, on one level or another, are of course, meant to either maintain, fix, or better certain aspects of my life.
Funny thing is, no matter how many to-do lists I write, no matter how many items I cross off, life stays generally the same. I still have good days and bad days. I still laugh and I still cry. I still seek and find, and I still lose and have to let go. I still feel loved and I still feel desperately alone. I might get an overdose of good, or an overdose of the not-so-good here or there, but in the big picture, life stays generally the same.
This started to make me wonder:
> what exactly are we striving for with all our to-do lists?
Are we getting so caught up in “getting somewhere” or “achieving something” that we fail to realize that this, the routine, the mundane details, this nowhere near perfect-ness, this mess, is in fact, life… ?
Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, and a man whose work truly inspires me, taught that we can choose to live in rapture, in joy, in ecstasy, that it is not “out there” in some other place or person, that we don’t have to go somewhere or have something, or someone.
Rather, he would say:
“It is here. It is here. It is here.”
Lately, whenever I have a wish or desire, I ask myself:
When I get it or achieve it… then what?
In other words,
Will I be happy forever?
Will everything fall into place?
Will life be perfect then?
And the answer is always no, no, and no.
So, should I stop growing, stop stretching myself, stop evolving? Of course not. But what I could do is become more aware that life is happening here, now, before and after the to-do list. And with that, learn to lean into and appreciate life as. it. is., which will prevent me from putting life “on hold until…”
> What are you putting life on hold for? Is it a clean house? Or maybe money? Love? The perfect body or perfect job?
Think for a sec about what minor and major goals fill your to-do lists, and consider what you’re actually striving for… Is it just a clean house? Or is it the feeling of peace and calm that might bring? Is it just the money? Or is it the sense of freedom and accomplishment you think it would offer you? Is it just the perfect body? Or is it the self-confidence, the love and attention you think would come with it?
As you start to ask these questions, you might be surprised to notice that what you truly want comes only from within you. And that you have access to it today, in this moment, and always.
Tonight I invite you put away the goal setting, the to-do lists, and to simply turn inward. Use the short 10-minute meditation below to bring awareness to all that’s inside of you and to your beautiful life, the one that is happening here and now.
Light a few candles
Play this song
Sit or lay comfortably
Close your eyes
Notice your breath
And mentally repeat: “It is here. It is here. It is here.”