Q: I had a list of goals I wanted to accomplish by this time, and I haven’t gotten a single thing done. I work all of the time, but it seems like I’m spinning my wheels. I’m organized and efficient and hard-working. What gives?
A: Apparently you give—probably too much. There seems to be a interesting phenomenon probably permanently at work in all of our lives at this time—it’s called “right action.” It means doing what’s right for us at the moment. Not what’s right for anyone else, and not what we expect we should be doing at the moment, but what is the best and truest for our highest good.
What in the world is that? Well, from what I know, our highest good is not necessarily based on monetary gain, or expectations from society or childhood of origin issues or perfectionist tendencies. It’s as if we have this great screenplay that was written before we were born, and we’re acting it out every day of our lives, in order to come to the same conclusion at the end of the play. If our screenplay says that at closing curtain you will be 79, a grandpa who had four children and 15 grandchildren, and will have invented a renewing energy source, then all circumstances in your life will somehow be connected to that final outcome, even if it doesn’t make sense to you right now that you are fired from your job and have just gotten a divorce, with no children involved. How can this make sense, given the final act in your “play”?
I believe it’s because there’s something better out there for you, there really is. The interval after your job firing may allow you to discover that your passion is inventing, and you may meet your future wife in a group for divorced people.
Sometimes we spend most of our time running around crazy just because we think we should. We have tapes running in our heads that say, “Mature people work hard, have a long list of to-do’s, don’t have time to dawdle, accomplish important things (no matter what those things are, I’m sure they’re important).” That sets us up for disappointment and we certainly get discouraged if we’re not able to do what we want to do.
But there’s another way—of going with the flow. You say you have your list of goals—look at them again. Really look at them. Ask yourself if they are in keeping with what’s important in your life. If they aren’t, cross them off. Now take some time to create a new list.
First ask yourself what’s most important in your life. If it’s family, then you’d better have “spend time with my family, go to the Grand Canyon with the kids, go kayaking in Alaska, catch a walleye with Bill this summer” on your list, or you’re a liar. That is to say, you say that family is important, but if you don’t include family on your list, you’re not operating congruently, and your life probably isn’t going to run smoothly. It’s like setting your GPS for Minneapolis, then continually heading north, or west. The GPS is going to keep scrambling to re-route you, trying to get you back on course, but you will never get to Minneapolis from Fargo unless you head southeast. Period.
So now you have your new list, based on what is really in alignment with your personal ethics, morals, spiritual goals, and beliefs. It probably shouldn’t be too long a list, because then you’re going wide, not deep. Simply having family at the top of your list will occupy most of your waking (and sleeping) hours. “I want to help people” is another broad goal that will encompass thousands of smaller activities that will come into your days, without you even having to plan for them.
What to do with all your extra time? I don’t know, have some fun? Go to lunch with friends, go to a movie, read a book, take a walk? It simply won’t work to go go go anymore, without any room for quiet, soul time.
In those quiet, in-between times of breathing, you will reconnect with your soul, and find your answers to the questions you didn’t even know you had. You’ll be realigned with what’s most important in your life, and you’ll remember why you even wanted to come here in the first place—to experience life to the fullest, and to experience the full range of emotions and to be here—to really be here.
I think you’re on the right track. Just trust, let go of your stronghold on what you think is the right life, and discover your true life.
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