I have noticed myself rushing lately, pushing myself to complete more and more tasks. Accomplish goals, meet deadlines, and rush ahead. I also notice that this pressure does not help me to move any faster. It only leaves me feeling burdened and as if I have let myself or someone else down. Instead of doing that right now I am making a practice of taking my time. I am only expecting myself to accomplish those items that must be accomplished today. I am not putting off work or leaving those things that I can do until later. I am simply trying to do my best not to start and stop.
This means that I often open up projects or leave larger items on my “to do,” list for an extended period of time. This places undue burdens on my current and future self to complete a task. The thing about these items is that they are rarely necessary. And I know they are not necessary because I clearly did not make the time to do them the first week they were on my list. I still did not find the time to do them the following month. Leaving these items on my list does not serve me as I very clearly do not want to do them and there is no urgency to get them done. Instead I will make time for those things that do nourish and fill me.
Instead of begrudging myself the incomplete task I will remove it from the list and feel a million times better. Because if it needed to be done or there was any motivating force to accomplishing this task, it would have shown up already. And if a task does not need to be done why am I holding it over my own head? Why am I beating up on myself or feeling unaccomplished because of it? Clearly my time has been filled with other things and clearly those things were either more urgent or more important.
This weekend I did not find the time to make a dentist appointment. This is a long range task because I only see the dentist every six months. Does it need to be done immediately? No. Are my teeth healthy and well? Yes. So why would I feel angry or disappointed in myself for not accomplishing this task when I did have enough time to cuddle with my children and watch a movie. I had enough time to go through old family albums and listen to my grandmother’s stories. These are the real and important tasks that never make my list but always fill my cup and my heart.
I don’t need to be petty with myself or with others and point out that one item that was not finished, when the larger picture, the big bold and beautiful works that make life worth living, that enhance our connections to other people and help us get to know ourselves better – those tasks get done. Those items are my priorities. I will not be sad or disappointed any more that basic tasks go unaccomplished because when they need to be done, they will be. And whatever I need to take away from the experience will be taken away.
Instead of feeling less than because I did not make a dentist appointment – I am going to rejoice that I followed my inner knowing. I spent time with my grandmother and I focused on my children. I gave my full attention where it was needed and important. I did not waste my time on small tasks – there will be time for those tasks in the future. The work of now is to be attentive to my priorities and proud of myself for having myself so aligned that I did not ignore the magic in the moment to complete some obligation that brought me no joy but satisfied my desire to scratch something off a list. Because I’ll tell you, movie night with kiddos is never on the list but it happens every week. And quality time with Grandma was not on the list but when I saw that she would be in town and i could inspire her to share some of what she knows with me and listen to stories of our family history that I have never heard or known. I am proud of myself for jumping on that opportunity and for building connections to my past with her as my guide. I know more about who I am by knowing where my family came from. I know more about myself, about her, and about our history because my Grandmother is willing to tell her stories and because I am willing to listen. This does not happen every visit and I am grateful to myself for recognizing the moment and jumping on it.
Routine and rudimentary tasks will always be there and some days are for making dental and doctors appointments. Some days are for errands and tasks and some days are for magic. Some days are for all of the things that are not on your list but belong at the top because they are worthy and wonderful – just like you are, just like I am. I am grateful to myself for doing this work and for showing up for myself and my family. I am grateful, pleased, and proud.