Today I have a lot of things I want to get done. More, actually, than will reasonably fit on the list, so I’ve already been negotiating with myself what task level I’ll feel satisfied with and what will be considered bonus overtime (does anyone else do this? Draw a line in between two tasks somewhere down the list and say to themselves, “If I make it to the line, then today was successful.”)
See, I’ve been struggling with the concept of to-do’s a lot lately. Partially because I’m not working (in an office, outside the home, whatever you want to call it) and so much of my natural “get-things-done-in-a-day” hasn’t been there to fulfill. And to be honest, a very genuine part of me has cropped up and said, “Let it go,” (to the tune of Frozen, of course). It’s cool just hanging out and not achieving much.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years playing with the concept of unconditional. What does it feel like to love myself that way? Honestly, for the longest time, I couldn’t do it, and a lot of me pulling out of depression involved focusing on what was good about myself. But eventually, I realized the end goal isn’t really just to love myself because I’m smart or pretty or kind or unselfish. It’s just to LOVE MYSELF. Just because I am. Just because I’m here and I need love and I choose to give it to myself.
If you’re playing along, you might notice this was an earlier Wisdom Jar piece: You don’t have to earn love; in fact, you can’t. I believe that. Even though there are things about me that might initially draw someone to me, if I’m only loved because I did X, Y, Z, that’s not really love. Certainly not unconditional love. If you want me, you have to take me when I’m beautiful and when I’m broken.
So how does this play into the concept of the to-do list? Well, like most good Type-A’ers, I’m accustomed to ascertaining my value level on any given day based on how much I’ve accomplished. Did I check the boxes off the list? Did I honor all my commitments? Did I get out of bed? Okay, gold star!
I’ve been trying to separate from this connection to value because I want to keep up with the to-do lists and the life goals and the achievements that help improve my day, week, and year. But I don’t want to become SO attached to those things that I start to believe they are the reason I’m worth being on this planet. I wasn’t created for the purpose of doing my taxes – that’s just part of the game of living this everyday life. And what I WAS created for… I’ve learned I can’t tap into at all when I let myself get whirled up in the cyclone of Complete Task, Complete Task, Complete Task, Go to Bed.
I’m not here for the checklist. Not really. I’m here for something much deeper. And so are you. To quote the Indigo Girls, “If I have a care in the world, I have a gift to bring.”
It’s been relatively easy to separate from the productivity-means-you-matter model with no work and quiet days stretching out in front of me, but today I found myself slipping into it again because today I have several things that I really want to accomplish (most of them at least a little bit time-sensitive). In honor of keeping in touch with myself, the first thing on my list after breakfast was to sit on the porch and journal, which I did, and which felt lovely. But the moment I put my pen down, my first thought was, “Okay, now on to Reclamation work!” (It’s a year-long program I’m doing, and there are several journaling prompts/projects every month.)
But my soul piped in and said, “Can’t we just sit here in the sunshine for a moment and breathe in the day?”
And I wanted to say, “Nope, got stuff to do, places to go, clock’s ticking babe!”
Instead, I looked at that go-go-go part and said, “If you want to be wild, you have to leave room for it. Nobody dances in the rain because it’s on the schedule.”
And I do – I really do – want to be wild. It’s the part of my soul I’ve felt myself most reconnecting with recently. The part that sighs over mist rising off of the mountains or wants to stay just a few minutes longer with my feet dangling in the water – any water. The part that wants to just be in the world, be in my life and experience every moment of it fully with no pressure or rush.
The part that breathes. The part that loves. And yes, the part that dances in the rain and whispers to the other, more conservative parts, “It doesn’t matter if anyone looks at you and thinks you’re crazy. This is fun.”
So right now, the to-do list is still waiting, but here I am talking to you. Following that free part of myself.