I started writing a series of short pieces on the “The Bus Stop of Life” at the beginning of the year. They are contemplations on the in-between state of being, neither here nor there. Life is a journey, and on this journey, we often find ourselves in a place of waiting. Waiting for… In this in-between state, the magic of wisdom dawns, if we pay attention. This is part 5 of 7.
Things to do…
Do you find that while you are waiting, your mind turns to all the million and one things you think you ought to be doing instead? And then you revisit your to-do list, adding things to it, making it into a mountain of unfinished business. Do you then get impatient, stressed, unforgiving, tired or disappointed? We forget waiting is an opportunity to rest and let go. An invitation to trust.
Tearing up the to-do lists…
On the 24th of July, I decided to tear up all my to-do lists. It took me a full 24 hours before I could do it. And when I did, I thought ok what’s next?
It’s been just over a month and I am loving not being tied to these lists. They were draining me. Every time, I looked at the list I was focusing on all that was yet to be done. The thing about to-do lists is they don’t account for the unexpected. And my life is full of the unknown and the unexpected. These unexpected occurrences have a way of disrupting my to-do list. The to-do lists also hamper my spontaneity and flexibility which can be a bit of a killjoy.
I have been asked, how do you manage without a to-do list? I am managing very well without a to-do list. I almost went back to re-writing the to-do list, 4 weeks ago. I had a nasty fall and had to slow down and prioritise. I was so worried, that I would forget, what I needed to get done. I remember thinking, ‘that’s it, enough. I do not want to live in fear anymore‘. It was not easy to let go. I have a shopping list in the kitchen by the fridge, but that has never been a bother to me. It works and there is no stress or pressure about it.
A little history
In early July, I noticed that I hadn’t been able to shift an undercurrent of anxiety and stress. It surprised me, after all that I know and do, I kept slipping into the need to control. When I contemplated on this, my to-do lists kept showing up in my mind’s eye. The realisation that my many to-do lists were draining me was not a surprise, but it was something I resisted letting go of. I had lists near my bed, near the computer, in the diary, in the bathroom. I had a clipboard with a sheaf of to-do lists, often repeating the same thing. I wrote and re-wrote these lists. Unconsciously they became reasons to punish me, proof of my failure to complete my many tasks. They were harbingers of disappointment. I loved crossing the tasks done on these lists, but there were always more things to add. And it seemed never-ending. So, it was time to get rid of them all. After a brief moment of panic, I reassured my mind that I would keep one list ,and visit it once a week. I created a note on my phone with a to-do list. I gave myself permission to add whatever I wanted to that note and let it go. And that was that.
The Joy of Trust – Making decisions and breaking free of the list
The next step was to create a system, by which I would know what to do at any given moment. This is when trust entered into the equation. I chose to trust that I would be guided by God (Love and Truth), as to what to focus on in any given moment. Whatever showed was what I needed to be doing. To enhance this process of trust, I added a question to my morning meditation, ‘what do I need to focus on today?’ Invariably got just one or two suggestions, and not the hundred that my mind would throw at me. I suppose letting go of the to-do list was a lot like getting out of the way of the mind.
It has been liberating, I have visited the list on my phone twice since creating it. I also discovered that my to-do list was hiding a debilitating belief system, ‘enjoyment is selfish’. Having investigated this with LiberatingTouch®, I now experience, enjoyment, ‘in joy every moment’. I am still integrating the freedom. It has been a big habit to break. Life at the bus stop has also changed. I am more present and honest with myself and others. I love our work, so am happy to beaver away. I am also enjoying letting go, resting and waiting as my mind heals and unburdens itself from the fears of the past.
When you no longer make decisions dictated by your ego – desires and attachments or the list, life is very different.
That is all for now, Love and Blessings, Ranjana