Day 5 – don’t put off life because it’s scary, difficult or painful

Posted on October 10, 2009


When we begin to experience our life as the miraculous expression of divinity – not occasionally, but all the time – then we will know the true meaning of success.

–Deepak Chopra, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

Can you guess what the prompts are for today?   Yes, a couple of related prompts, focusing on the present (what are you avoiding because it’s too scary, difficult or painful?) and on the past (what do you regret doing or not doing?).  Hard questions, good questions to help one get ever closer to the goal of realizing one’s calling.

For me, there are a lot of fluffy things I wish I could have (or could now) make time for (see prior post on wannabe retiree plans).  But those risky, fun, adventurous, and silly things won’t affect how I feel NOW about my life.  The items I have avoided or regret not doing that will make a difference to me TODAY and every day are the tough ones, the ones that will take time, thought, patience and courage.  The tough items relate  to made-up excuses to avoid doing important stuff and relationships.  Life these days is so noisy and busy and sometimes frantic, I can feel stressed out just trying to get to that state of equilibrium where the number of  incoming tasks, demands and responsibilities is approximately equal to the number of tasks, demands and responsibilities completed.  Just getting to that state of equilibrium seems so challenging.  Yet, when I look around, everyone around me is running on the same or similar hamster wheel of life.  So one must be willing to stop the hamster wheel, make time to engage and to be mindful.

That can be scary, especially when it comes to relationships (well, scary if you’re an introvert like me).  I’m working on this one, slowly.  I think you also have to think of success differently than you would in a work setting.  Success in relationships is an ongoing and long-term effort.  So, a little nibble of the elephant at a time, consistently, mindfully.

My other insight is about setting goals low enough 🙂  I’m not trying to be an underachiever, but sometimes I think I wait for the perfect conditions or an enormous block of time before tackling an important project (makes for great procrastinating fodder).  Or I think a goal has to be BIG to be worthwhile.  But a passion does not have to be my entire life or my career.  It can be a beloved hobby.  I do not have to write the Great American Novel today in order to be a writer.  I do not have to clean the whole house in one fell swoop (unless my mom is coming to visit).  And if I get started on a bite-sized version of my goal, it may be enough to make me happy now.

My husband, the Plant Whisperer, is very good at just plugging along at his garden.  If you look at the whole (as I do), it could drive you mad; there are works in progress everywhere.  But almost every weekend my Plant Whisperer tends to his garden.  It makes him happy.  It gives him a chance to teach the kids about life, patience, and the payoff from working hard at something you love.  It puts homegrown veggies and flowers on the table.  And who can argue with his results?

Lessons: So, I will try to achieve my life goals the way my Plant Whisperer does, one little bit at a time, every week.  I will translate my grandiose, intimidating goals into manageable, friendly little nibbles, goal appetizers, if you will.  And I will take the long view.

Resources: Just in case anyone is interested, thought I’d share some of the resources I’m using as I mosey on my 40 day journey:

  1. Of course, I’m relying quite a bit on Ms. Segalove’s guide
  2. But also, I’m checking out Deepak’s book, the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
  3. I have also perused David Torkington’s How to Pray
  4. And I’ve just checked out from the library a new book by Matthew Crawford called Shop Class as Soulcraft

That’s it for today.  How is YOUR 40 day goal going?