Does anyone else struggle with thinking your day is only a “success” IF you get LOTS of stuff done? I’m a yoga teacher, which means my job is to care for, enliven, and help people transform inwardly and outwardly … YET part of me still feels like I failed or was “less than” unless I did or produced something more tangible and “productive”. I have a hunch I’m not alone in this feeling, and I think this societal pressure is hindering us from fully and freely doing the things that matter most in life. With that in mind, in our “to-do list” driven society, it seems to me a new list is in order: Be Grateful, Forgive, and Love.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying getting “stuff” done is bad, only that it’s not the most important thing. It’s not the juice in life, or deeper purpose of this all. All I’m saying, then, is to refocus our eyes on the sweet stuff because:
Choosing gratitude reconnects us to our inner child-like sense of wonder and awe of how fantastic it is to be alive, to be in relationship, to be one of God’s kids, and so on.
Deciding to forgive is an acknowledgment of the deep and foundational value, belonging, and goodness of us all.
Opening to and giving love is a affirmation of life, wherein we celebrate our existence being a team sport by using our energy and efforts to increase thriving and flourishing for all.
As I said, this doesn’t mean we ignore the usual to-do list tasks like projects, reports, meetings, chores, homework, bills, and so on. Instead, it’s that gratitude, forgiveness, and love lay beneath them as their foundation; our regular doings are carried along on the current of their goodness.
I think there are always things to be grateful for. In my darkest hours, as I went through my second divorce without knowing why she was leaving me, I started journaling three things a day I was grateful for. Even in the depths of my hell, it was SO easy to spot the gifts in my day I nearly always listed way more than three. Here are a few examples of how we can infuse mundane things with thanksgiving:
– Washing dishes helps us not get sick
– Working out gives us healthier bodies
– Doing a good job at whatever your occupation (be it employee, boss, student, parent, etc.) asks of you enables the company, organization, family, etc. to thrive and flourish
Forgiveness is wiping the slate clean. It’s remembering even though you messed something up, someone else hurt you, and/or life is hard, the “wrongs” don’t define any of them. To forgive is to name the recipient good. For instance, it means:
– Chuckling at yourself after a mistake
– Hugging someone who hurt your feelings
– Deciding to love life as it is, instead of how we wished it would be
Love is the energy animating Reality. It’s a communal dance wherein we pour our effort and energy into one another so we may all thrive and flourish. While when we don’t do this we suffer, when we do we blossom. Love is things like:
– Taking someone who is going through a hard time out for a drink and listening to her/him
– Saying kind, encouraging, and affirming things to anyone and everyone
– Having people over for dinner
– Giving time, money, and/or possessions to a good charity
Be Grateful, Forgive, & Love. What do you think of my to-do list? What’s yours?
Grace and peace,