Those are the days I wake up to a hold-up in progress. My first moments of groggy awareness reveal I am a witness to my mind held hostage, by a to-do List on steroids. The List is huge, it’s demands are endless, feeding upon itself and dividing into sub-categories and tangents, and it is in no way possible for one human being to master it before day’s end. Of course the List is also filled with things other people in the world should be doing, a charming feature written in small print so I don’t realize until it’s too late how bossy I’ve become.
And the reason the List starts its crime spree before I even wake up? It is cunning. I am not a morning person. In the morning I am weak.
The List includes everything from the chipped siding on our house to helping Syrian refugees. There are endless entries that deal with things you would expect of a conscientious mother of two who runs a business on two Coasts: groceries, bank deposits, email wrangling, the purchase of everything from snow boots to the clock parts for the clock in my office that has been without a working face for three years. But on the List there are also books to be read, meaningful conversations to have, writing, and yoga. Homemade meals with organic ingredients figure prominently on the List. Two dogs and two cats and all their fur are on the List. The needs of my spiritual community and my town are on the List. Shopping local, gun control, friendships, possibilities, insights, hopes, dreams, hopes and dreams for my kids, music, a couple of hobbies, and much much more. All feed the List. The List is a seductive, confusing mix of demands, self expression, improvement opportunities for everyone, and survival. All written in the same bold font, the great equalizer that makes each entry equivalently immediate.
By 10am on some days, not yelling at the people I love is definitely on that List. Because the damn List is eating at my soul.
I wish that “WATCH OUT SHE’S MAKING A LIST” would furrow itself on my forehead while I’m having breakfast so that the people I love would at least have a little warning.
It’s not the List’s fault. The List probably was traumatized in its childhood and is doing the best it can with what it has. It’s my own fault for not realizing I am listening to the List and that it’s actually within my power to tell it to Shut. UP. ALREADY. But by then I’ve bought into the illusion that getting things done is my worth, my security, my safety. Which turns it into my right. And then, my life, and everyone in it becomes an accessory to that identity. My organizing principle for the day becomes one of accomplishment. Ego 1, Heart 0.
But that’s when the miracles start.
Even when I’m really in the thick of it, I do notice that The Universe can and does grace me with an intervening moment or two of pause. And if I still can’t pull myself out, I’ll be the recipient of a kindness, an inspiration on Facebook that really hits the mark, something hilarious my kids do, something beautiful outside…But if that doesn’t work, sometimes I just get lucky and whack my head on a cupboard door I left open as I was rushing to turn the kitchen faucet off, which I had left running for five minutes because while I was watering the plants I realized I needed to start the laundry. Which wasn’t sorted yet.
Or sometimes, I open my door for my next arriving client and discover not one, but two people I scheduled for the same time in my waiting area. Or just as I’m leaving for yoga I get a call saying my child slipped on his own wet shoes and might have a concussion.
That’s when it’s Do Over time. A Do Over is an entirely voluntary, non-expiring Universal reset button. All you have to do is call a Do Over, and your day starts over. No matter what.
If you think about it, the ball drop in the first moments of January 1st is really just a big ol’ culturally mandated Do Over. Works for me! My internal calendar resets itself around the Jewish holidays in September anyway, so by that score January is rather like the mid morning of the year.
We can call a Do Over any time, for any reason. The point is to take some pressure off, let some steam out of the valve, give ourselves the gift of our own kindness and forgive ourselves. We can ask for help, take in some breath and some love, and stop. Turn our backs on the arbitrary, punishing ego dictatorship and be still.
Getting everything done, accomplished, solved, fixed….isn’t that the opposite of living intuitively? We need to remember that in order to be guided toward meaningful living, we need to let go of anything that doesn’t serve us. And in our complicated first world lives, where we have the abundant means and ability to choose consciousness and self-actualization, there will be many moments during our tech bombarded days when it will be easy to forget what’s important: That our lives are a privilege. That we are able to be happy, healthy, whole. We get distracted from the simple truth that we have enough of ourselves available in any moment to be kind and generous. Let’s welcome 2014 with open hearts, ones that aren’t closed down and shrinking in the corners of our lives, cowering from the ego calling the shots. Exhausted from being busier than we knew we could ever be. Crazed as in “Crazy busy”. Afraid to be present due to losses, big or small.
It is healing to let go and step into intuition. It feels calm, centering. Our sense of humor comes back online. Our charm is restored. We know what to do. The List dissolves. We can move moment to moment with assurance.
So: Universe, in 2014, I ask on everyone’s behalf that you help us focus on what is truly divine. We release 2013, full of what didn’t get solved, fixed, or tidied up. Help us cherish what is unfolding and resolving all around us. Help us trust our intuition more fully, so we can attend to what is truest about ourselves, our big, unconditional hearts. We are transforming, evolving human beings, and every choice we make has the potential to come from love. Whatever stops us short, gives us pause, or slips us up, is a moment for release of what does not serve us.
Help us all remember this: Whether it is a very bad morning spent struggling with ourselves, or a very hard year filled with loss, we can start over.