We have a tendency to look at what’s not done and wish we could have done more. We’re used to looking at our lists or projects, seeing all the uncompleted things and being overwhelmed or disappointed. Even on full-power, total ass-kicking days, we can sometimes get discouraged by what is still unfinished.
What I’d like to propose is that we try something different: look at all the undone things on your list and smile at them. You are blessed with the awesome opportunity to enjoy engaging in those activities tomorrow, or the next day.
Instead of frowning at all the undone stuff, smile at it. Things need your attention, and that’s a good thing (you’d probably feel kind of lonely if nothing did). Your contribution and action is being requested.
Imagine what a shift it would be to take this perspective, smiling and looking forward to what is not checked off.
Checking Behind The Unchecking Things
We often don’t look behind the unchecked things because we’re so focused on getting them done. Let’s look a little deeper.
Unchecked things really mean…
- You have an opportunity to kick some serious ass doing those things
- You can participate in shaping your reality
- Your contribution is wanted and needed
- The journey is not over (wouldn’t it suck if it was?)
- There are more awesome things to look forward to
Taking this view releases a lot of the stress and shifts your experience from undone to can’t wait to do.
Instead of seeing all of your projects or pursuits as tasks to complete, you will begin to experience them as unexplored forks on your path … each of them waiting for you to walk down and see what new stones can be unturned, new experiences you will encounter, new paths you will cross with others, and opportunities to explore and grow.
When you do this, you move away from a place of having to do or requirement, to a place of getting to do or anticipation.
How to Smile At That Unfinished List
If you’re delightfully anticipating all of the undone things on your list, you know you’re on the right path. But if that’s not what you’re currently experiencing, here’s a way to shift your experience:
Open up whatever tool you use to manage or track your meaningful action: notepad, Charlie’s planners, etc.
Once your list is open, take a moment to look at all those things you haven’t done. But instead of starting to scramble to take action, take a long, slow breath and smile as you exhale.
How does that feel?
A bit different, I can imagine.
Now, you could stop here. And even if you just made this a simple practice, looking at the get to do things and smiling, that would be enough to transform your experience. If you feel some resistance to this practice, I recommend just starting with that.
Embrace the Adventure Within Unfinished Things
However, if looking at your To Do list and smiling offers little or no resistance and you’re feeling great about it, you can take it a step further to make it even more powerful.
After a few deep, joyful breaths, start imagining all of the new adventures the things on your list might lead you to. What new resourceful connections might they lead you to? What new growth experiences might you encounter? How will you feel enjoying exploring each step of action that you take toward your goal? How will the path to your goal be just as, or even more, delicious than the achievement of it?
I realize that this might be a little challenging if visiting the DMV is the number one thing on your list, but see if you can use those normally unenjoyable things as a challenge to exercise your imagination. Who knows, maybe you could turn something that’s usually a dread into something tolerable, or even pleasant. Allow your expectations to be suspended for a moment. That tends to help a lot when you do this practice.
When you make this a habit, you’ll find that each day becomes more of a exciting new leg of your path, and a further expansion of you following your bliss.
You’ll find that you progress from looking at your list and feeling disappointment to:
- Acceptance, then
- Gratitude, then
- Anticipation, then
- Excitement and joy
The things you have yet to do shouldn’t be felt as a burden; they should be a cause to celebrate.
Imagine that each thing yet to come is going to enhance your current experience. Of course it will always lead to another desire, and another thing to add to your list. So, we both know that our lists will never be complete. That would be pretty lame, anyway.
Since we know that we’ll never get everything done and our reach will always exceed our grasp, it makes more sense to enjoy our anticipation of the next leg of our journey. Don’t you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts…
Photo Credit: Edwin Dalorzo