I’m a “To Do” list maker. Pretty advanced at it, too!! How about you?
I am a GREAT list maker. All kinds of lists mind you – on all kinds of mediums – with different colored inks. On post it notes with customized headers. On notebook paper. And digital memo apps even!! How do you make your lists?
Where I fall down is that I get more wrapped up in completing the tasks on the list – ahhhh that feeling of crossing it off and seeing all that I’ve accomplished; than really stopping to take the time to engage in the task at hand and seeing its greater value; my greater value. Been there, too?? I feel ya!!
So how does one overcome the egoic act of completing tasks – that colorful list is pretty enticing? How does one transition into a more mindful presence; a gratitude for each activity that shows up to be engaged with?
For me, it is all about intention.
Most people think that intention is something they must squeeze into an already full schedule – mind you we’re list makers which means we are by definition BUSY people!! We have a full work schedule, and raising kids, spouses to support and community commitments – oh and don’t forget an orderly house to keep and care for. All of which feeds the ego’s need to be important and valued, purposeful and . . . wait for it. . . worthy. aye de mi I don’t have time to be intentional!! I’ve too many other things to do.
And that is the key. . . the simple act of ‘doing’.
We’ve all heard the phrase – “we are human beings, not human doings”. And yet, we make lists; fantastic lists mind you, that feed our need to be busy, important, of value and purposeful – to define our worth to our family and communities. And yet no matter how many lists we make and complete – we continue to feel overwhelmed, unimportant, valueless and without purpose; we feel like we are letting down our families and our communities. And so we cannot see our worth. And the cycle continues. Hurry and make a new list here so that I can reverse all these feelings of ick!!
Do you see the pattern?? Do you feel the pattern?
Take a deep breath with me here. Deep inhale. . . . and a full exhale. . . let it all out!!
What is intention – really???
I love that when you google “define intention”, the second definition that appears is: “the healing process of a wound”. omigosh!!! Even Websters understands that intention is about healing!!
Your life need not be a frenzy of lists to create and complete. Let us set an intention. Let us begin to heal wounds we may not even know we are perpetuating.
No – don’t throw away your list (at least not to start). But learn to engage with your list in a new way. Here is an example.
I wanted to create a new morning routine. After committing to doing so for over six months and making a kajillion lists which included different elements of a morning routine, I failed to incorporate even one of those activities into my morning with any semblance of consistency.
So, what’s a girl to do?
During my quiet time one day (feel free to substitute the idea of prayer, meditation and/or contemplation for ‘quiet time’ – it’s all the same to me), I simply “put the idea in the middle of the room” that I wanted to be a person who felt fulfilled by the tasks I was completing.
For days I sat in seeming silence – apart from all the monkey mind noise going on in the background. But I was committed to my question. “how can I experience a sense of fulfillment from the tasks I complete”? And then one day as I proverbially swatted at racing thoughts and distracting ideas during my quiet time, the word ‘intention’ kept coming to thought. At first I did what any good student of meditation does – I pushed it out of my mind.
“For the love of all things holy and just, I just want an answer to my question!!!” (been there??)
And then a quietness came over my being. Sitting right there in the middle of my office floor. . . came these thoughts. . . ‘Intention. What is your intention? Why do you do the things you do? For whose purpose are you working? How are you being a blessing with the things you do?’
Holy Fish Ears Batman – the divine was speaking to me!! And in this instance, I was really listening.
And so – after sitting quietly for quite some time. I got up. I walked over to my desk and the plethora of lists that adorned it. I took each list in my hands . . . and tore them all up!! Each and every one. Into the smallest representation of scrap one might imagine possible.
I took out a fresh piece of paper and I wrote the word “INTENTION” across the top. And I asked myself those questions that had come to thought during my quiet time: What is your intention? Why do you do the things you do? For whose purpose are you working? How are you being a blessing with the things you do?
Fast forward to present day – this process has evolved into a deeply healing process for me. When I find I want to add something to my ‘intention list’ (note I no longer call it a to do list) I simply ask the question “what is my intention in engaging with this task?”. And for me I think deeply about how this task in question will interact with those questions provided me so mnay months ago during my quiet time; which has evolved into my Personal Mission Statement (more on that later). Then, and only then, when I have a clear idea about the intention attached to a specific task will I add it to my Intention List for the day.
One at a time. Each task is addressed lovingly, completely and without judgment. I am completely aware of the intention behind even the smallest and, previously labeled, mundane tasks.
Each task has purpose and value. Each task is a blessing and a contribution. Each task has worth.
Each task in my day is healing. . .
ACTION ITEM: Head on over to the Conversations of Consequence Facebook page and share with others there. In what areas of your life can you begin, one task at a time, to set a healing intention? I cannot wait to see what you have to share!
Being is LOVE!
Chief Travel Partner
Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I love you deeply, for in truth we are old friends. We are One.