Every day life is full of shoulds and ought-tos.
I ought to be more organized.
I ought to prioritize more exercise.
This house needs to be decluttered.
I forgot to follow up with those teachers – wonder if they’ll check their email before they leave for the day.
I can’t forget to do that work thing.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen the grandparents; I need to call them and arrange a visit.
Why doesn’t life issue personal assistants to each of us? Speaking of, I should make those dentist appointments.
So. many. shoulds.
There are so many things I should do, but I don’t…or at least I do those things first. And in so doing (or not doing), there are times when I ignore responsibility and chores, putting off for tomorrow what ought to be done today.
However, there are also times when by delaying those “shoulds”, I’m taking a gamble on myself.
I’m taking a gamble on finding meaningful work that allows me to use my creativity, that gives me an opportunity to experiment and explore the world I create wth words or layers of paints and papers. I’m putting my own interests, passions and dreams ahead of the tasks that will still be there to do later today and all the rest of the days to come.
It’s scary stuff, taking a chance on ourselves.
It’s hard to put aside the expectations of others and ourselves, whether those expectations come by way of our personality, training, environment or background.
In my mind, I’m supposed to be organized, driven, scheduled, and clutter free in all ways. I’m also supposed to be compassionate, mindful, wholehearted, brave, healthy, understanding, and an advocate for the disenfranchised. There’s also the side of expectations that demands I be creative, in tune with my intuition, deliver fresh ideas, see the angles other don’t see, chase the light.
In reality, I’m rarely only some of these on my best day. Some days I just want to eat a milkshake in bed and watch old reruns of the Cosby Show. Mmmm, milkshake.
Comparison is a joy stealer.
If we see something done by someone we admire we think we can recreate it by implementing some strategy, some list of things we can do and then we’ll achieve that elusive place of status or contentment. We don’t stop to consider the process it took to get to that point — we only see someone’s current situation. Or we think the exact process can be recreated by anybody who just wants it bad enough.
Comparison easily becomes envy, and even if it doesn’t, it easily becomes one more whip we use to lash ourselves.
We get so busy looking outside to the people and things out there, we rarely stop to sit with ourselves and make friends with who we are.
When we focus on all the things we should do, we put our energy elsewhere, into the future (distant or immediate) rather than right now.
Let’s use this scenario…Have you ever had a child ask you to play with him or her? It’s easy to say no, since there are so many “productive” things to get done. And sometimes there’s truth to that – there are things that have to get done because if they don’t, there are consequences.
But what happens when you chose to say yes to the child’s request? There are big rewards, not only for the child. There’s a time shift that happens, a veil that gets pulled back to allow you to enter an enchanted world of slow time, time that is all-at-once and not-yet. Sometimes the spell only lasts a for a scene, before the dog shoves open the door with his nose and comes in (or the sibling barges in or the phone rings, etc.).
For right now, I want to remember to listen to my inner voice and pay attention and give my full atttention to what’s right in front of me. My to-do list (even that mental one) will still be there tomorrow.