I’ve written about this before and I firmly believe it to be true: how we spend our time and energy matters. Whether we’re washing dishes or running a marathon, it matters.
Of course, it’s easy to see how something like running a marathon is a great use of our time and energy. After all, great triumphs make us feel like we are all of the things we think we should be – resilient, determined, empowered. But washing dishes???
Well, hear me out on this one. If how we spend our time and energy really does matter, then every moment matters. Every action or inaction matters. Every word, spoken or unspoken. Every deed, seen or unseen. It all matters.
Doing the dishes matters because it helps clear the mental and physical space the dirty dishes are taking up in your head and home. It’s an act of service to yourself. And I wonder if these ordinary acts of service to ourselves – the ones we see as just “doing life” or as “being a functioning adult” – are just as sacred as the marathons?
I’m not downplaying running a marathon. If you’ve done it, I have some hardcore respect for you! And I believe you should be very proud of that accomplishment.
But what I am saying is it’s easy to look around at all of the people that seem to be making these great strides and accomplishing great things and assume your life is somehow less special if all you accomplished today was loading the dishwasher.
But I believe it’s all special.
I believe you are special and everything you do is special. Everything you do is sacred because you are sacred. Everything you do is enough because you are enough.
It’s not that we shouldn’t strive for great achievements. It’s that we should also honor everyday living as an achievement in and of itself. We should honor our presence in each moment, acknowledging ourselves as a gift to the moment and the moment as a gift to ourselves
Setting big, scary goals moves us out of our comfort zones, which is often where we experience the most growth. But there is also opportunity for growth in the ordinary and mundane aspects of life – that is, if we choose to be mindful of their sacred potential.
Personal growth is growing awareness of the sacred potential in all things.
What if we’re already swimming in all we need? What if we’re just as loved, just as held, just as valued doing absolutely nothing as we are doing absolutely everything?
Well, that would change how we spend our time and energy, wouldn’t it? It would free up the mental space where all of our “not enough” worries reside, allowing for more being.
Being creates doing, not the other way around. Doing will never make you any more or less of a being than you already are. This is the great paradox!
Doing can shape your perception of your being. It can help you discover parts of your being you didn’t know were there, but it can’t create your being. When you run a marathon, you aren’t creating endurance out of thin air. You’re discovering the endurance that’s been dormant within you the whole time.
When you free up space for being, you won’t be concerned about doing things right or doing the right things. Everything you do – even the dishes – will be an expression of the fullness of who you already are at the deepest level.
This is what it means to be alive in your own life. This is what it means to be present: being in the doing.
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