Honey where is the list?
Things to do, things to do, there are always more things to do.
I have always been a list person. I make my daily, weekly, monthly lists of things to do, things to get, things to read, things to get or buy, list of people to call. Things to be done by certain time points, goals, targets, chores inside the house, chores outside the house, they all get put onto these lists. I have back ups of the back up lists ( including the copy of the list I give to my wife to help me with the things to do). It is endless and more over relentess. To boot I then even can highlight them in multiple colors. These days lists can be in paper form, or digital ( on the computer, or on your mobile device). I recently found Apps for the smartphone that will remind you of items on the list that are overdue or need to get done. Voice command lists, and commanding voice reminder lists are all available with the new devices. A “post-it note” for the computer screen or for your smart phone is a frequently used application. All of these reminders, notes, to do lists, can all be color coded, alphabetized, categorized and filed !! The insanity of list making is an obsession that goes on till we decide to stop it. WE drive ourselves to our early graves with many such an obsession, but why do we do it?
Is it our need for control of our environments, our lives and the lives of friends and family or is it the perceived sense of control that we crave. Until we give up that control, we cannot move on with our lives, and open up the wondrous possibilities that are waiting for us at every turn. Imagine if the focus was not on the lists, but more on the spontaneous moment to moment activities. There is a lot to be said about “living in the moment.” We make lists of our New Years resolutions, then when they are not fulfilled we are so distraught that we have not lived up to our expectations, or resolutions but moreover that we did not live up to our lists !!
The lists eventually drive us in all directions. Endless activities for the kids to do ( dance, gym, swimming, karate, music etc. ), infinite chores at home, horizonless places to go, and then we are swamped in a sea of “must haves and must dos” that we drown in them, since there is never any time for us to complete all these tasks and just breathe. Fatigued, fed up, frustrated we give up. The lists can be long or they can be filled with arduous tasks which we postpone to other lists. An example is I recently hurt my shoulder and in physical therapy a list of exercises were given to me. Yet I only tackled for the most part the easier of the therapies. For proper healing and stretching I was correctly advised that it was the tougher exercises that had to be attempted, and so I went on my way to do exactly that, the harder items on the list. Taking care of the important items on the list and letting go of the rest may help declutter mind body and spirit from all the unnecessary that plagues our lives. We eventually are beholden to the list! A life of lists of accomplishments, successes or failures, are how we define ourselves. Jumping from list to list, day to day, year to year, lifetime to lifetime without realizing the beauty of the in-between.
I sometimes wonder what if I were to replace these lists with more important items and tasks how would I feel. What would my perspective be? Lets try a little exercise if you are in the mood of making lists ! You might as well make it fun. Here goes.
Make a top five item list in each of the following categories:
1) Advices you want to teach your child to aide them in their future
2) Places you must see
3) Friends you must meet
4) Good qualities to comment on to your nearest loved one.
5) If the world was ending in a week what do you absolutely want to do before you die?
6) Good qualities about yourself
7) Ways you have changed yourself
8) Ways you would like to change yourself
9) Your definition of peace
10) Your impression of happiness
( feel free to expand the list to your discretion !!)
Perhaps lists of kindness, good deeds, ways to help someone, ways to change the world are more important than the mundane paper or digital lists that we make that clutter our desks, phones, computers and clog up our minds.
I often wonder how people without lists function? Probably just fine. I am going to try that this year. Let go, slow down and enjoy the moment and be list free. Cast your lists and cares to a strong east wind, and explore the unimaginable. Put being list free on your list of things to do, put it at the top of the list !!