I have struggled to find the rhythm that will lead me to success, by which I mean a life filled with the things I want to accomplish. My latest book is The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win and what I have come to realize is my issue is my process. I have yet to establish a routine that works for what I want to accomplish. One of the books in my line-up of library loans is called Pick Three: You Can Have It All (Just Not Every Day). I haven’t started reading it yet but it may be the answer. I definitely have competing priorities. My priorities (not necessarily in this order) are God, my husband, work, my health, writing, an orderly house, an enjoyable life – to name a few! Lately, because I want to be healthy – sharp and fit – exercise has become a priority. Unfortunately, while I have made strides in that direction, I have not fit the pieces together well enough to establish a rhythm that works. My writing routine has suffered which means my spiritual practice has suffered.
I know I am not a body (I am not a body. I am free), but in the dream I think of as my life, I am an overweight woman in my sixties and since both of my parents are still alive but in failing health, I am all too aware that it takes consistent, diligent effort to keep from declining. I plan on being around for nearly another half century. I want to be healthy. So I have been exercising daily but I find if I don’t start there first thing after I get up, it doesn’t happen.
Competing priorities. Sigh.
This morning, I got up early: translation about 4:45 a.m. Maybe it was closer to 5 by the time I relented. Anyway, I was aware and resisting the earliness of the hour when I opened my Kindle and read, “Once you set your goal, create a process that will help you reach that goal. (Remember, the main purpose of a goal is to establish the right process and routine to achieve that goal.)”*
Oops. Going back to sleep would not help me accomplish my goal. Neither would falling into my now usual rhythm of getting up and exercising for forty-five minutes. My goal was (is) to write. My goal is to sort out all the competing feelings/thoughts about work and settle into love. Allow me to explain.
I have a few different houses that I am updating. One of them is the house formally known as my son’s which is under contract and set to close next week.
Except, it’s not finished yet.
It was supposed to be done some six or so weeks ago and I feel like I have been playing taskmaster to contractors who cannot be trusted to keep their word. This arouses judgment in me. This shines a light on all the places within where I cannot be trusted to keep my word; such as writing and God and exercise and diet and cleaning up.
Everything is just another opportunity for forgiveness.
I was away on a spiritual retreat last weekend with most of the practitioners from my church. Perhaps unsurprisingly considering where I am in my life, one of the themes of the weekend revolved around people keeping their word/honoring their commitments to the church.
I can’t help but think of that John Muir quote, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”
Before I left for the weekend, my (2nd) contractor assured me that I need not worry, that all the items on the punch list of things to correct before the appraisal on Monday would be completed. They were not. In fact, the majority of them were not. I met the appraiser at the house on Monday with a sense of mortification. Was he going to return a second time to see that the work had (finally) been completed?
To be fair, a lot of it he didn’t check. He didn’t know that the wall unit and swamp cooler don’t work. He kindly overlooked that the pipes to the sinks were not connected. He even seemed willing to take my word that the door trims would be painted and the smoke detector would be installed. I’m fairly sure he will not require a 2nd trip.
But the whole situation arouses multiple opportunities for forgiveness. I had to consciously choose peace. I had to sit with my impulse to feel upset and shine light on why this was happening and why it was a problem for me. After missing the first deadline, the contractor was supposed to finish up all the stuff yesterday. But he never made it over and I wondered where along the way I had made it all right for him to not do what he said he was going to do. Yes, he was a million times better than the first contractor who not only wouldn’t be counted on to do what he said he would do but then did shitty work to boot, but still….
So yesterday, as I found myself at the house formally known as my son’s, cleaning off the paint from the cabinets from the shitty job the first contractors did, I managed to stay calm. I noticed even more items for the punch list. Let all things be exactly as they are.
I found myself contemplating competing goals and priorities and what it means to do what we say we are going to do and what it means to let go of the disappointment what wants to parade its ass around like it is justified in owning the place.
On a daily basis, I do not manage to do what I say I want to do, what I said I was going to do. It’s not that I am unreliable, but somewhere along the way, I decided that I could forgive myself for my shortcomings.
On the plus side, I honestly don’t get all riled up when people fail to live up to their word. I wish I could count on them more but I don’t hold it against them when they fail to come through. The goals of love and peace are more important to me than establishing guilt. I am willing to see innocence. I am willing to forgive what never happened.
But, I’d like to shift into being able to count on people. I’d like to be able to have faith in people doing what they say they will do, but I have this sneaking suspicion that in order for that to happen, I must become more reliable. I must have more integrity with my word.
Today’s lesson is My sight goes forth to look upon Christ’s face.
One of my priorities is to see innocence, not guilt. I deeply desire to be able to see all my brothers as innocent no matter what I thought “should” have happened. Perhaps I am encountering all of these opportunities for forgiveness because it is, in fact, my primary goal. Above all else I want to see.
Suddenly, I realize that if indeed “the sole responsible of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself”, then in all situations, I must embrace innocence. Letting go of my small-self ideas of judgments and “should,” I have no preferences to superimpose upon life. As we read last night, “Atonement might be equated with total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future. Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time.”
So while I feel like I still need to work on processes that move me in the direction of my goals (to be healthy, wealthy and wise), I see the perfection of where I am. I see that because God is my primary goal, I will encounter opportunities for choosing peace until I no longer need that lesson because Heaven is already here. I will keep encountering the blocks to the awareness of Love’s presence until there are none left; until I can embrace the Love that is all around me always.
“Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time.”
But that awareness may take a while (even though there is no time!).
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.