Toss Those Lists and Dive into Something New

Somehow, rather unconsciously I believe, my resolve for this year became about doing instead of thinking about doing. While I have always been a list maker, believing this was the way to be productive, my attachment to making lists has gone by the wayside. Lists are about organization and getting things done. My new motto is more about process and finding ones self and purpose. While lists are not a bad thing if you are going out to do errands, what I’ve discovered is that they stand in the way of spontaneity and being in the moment; seeing what life brings and places in front of us. This change for me began with one of my favorite authors, Mark Nepo, and his book “Things That Join The Sea And The Sky. Philosopher and poet, Mr. Nepo gives us words that are soft and gentle, but still profound and wrenching and life shaking. His short essay “Quieting the Thieves” inspired me to start changing the way I was living. I read a little Mark Nepo every day and find him inspiring on many levels. If you do read some of his work, let us know how you like it and if it has inspired you!
We are given lists and steps we need to take throughout much of our lives. Since kindergarten there has been order placed upon us. School, work, marriage, kids, more work, more education; all signs tells us if we do things in a certain order we will have happy and successful lives. If that is true, then why is it that so many people I know and talk to (including myself) are still searching for something. It isn’t that we haven’t been successful or haven’t raised great kids or enjoyed the work we have done. All good…except? What is it we are supposed to be doing? I hear this from people who love their jobs and from people who are looking to make a change. It has nothing to do with money or “success”. It has everything to do with our mortality and our wish to leave a positive mark on the world and feel the deep peace that knowing our purpose provides.
For me, the notion of doing and not thinking about doing has freed me from living in the world of excuses. How often do you find yourself saying; “I would love to try that!”, “Wouldn’t that be fun”, “I want to ________(fill in the blank with your own desire)” Do it! With so much information out there it is easy to get mired down in the research of something we want to do, which can kill any initial joy. Just try something, have some fun. Always wanted to draw? Grab a sketchbook and pencil and go outside. Want to write. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write something down. Doesn’t matter what. Write a letter to someone. Write down a dream. Write down how the backyard is looking as spring approaches. Movement will create movement in the same way that letting thoughts stay as thoughts creates stagnation. Don’t hide your work. Show it to your partner or send it to a friend. Doesn’t matter how “good” it is. Be proud of yourself. Sharing will make you keep engaged. When we start doing, we start becoming aware. We see what is happening at that moment; what is the universe giving us and showing us. Don’t overthink it. If you find something engaging and you want to learn more then go for it. But before you go on Youtube or start looking at books and classes and supplies, just have fun.
Doing helps us get closer to our purpose and to understanding this life we are given. There is no failure other than not giving something new and different a shot and seeing how it opens your eyes and where it takes you. Remember, it may not be exactly what you try that is the purpose in your life; but the awareness you develop, the people you meet and being curious enough to follow a path it suggests may lead you to something much bigger then you ever believed possible.
If you have a story about finding an activity that has inspired you and lead you down a path that perhaps you weren’t expecting please share it with us!

2 thoughts on “Toss Those Lists and Dive into Something New

  1. Steve

    Thanks, Paula, for continuing the blog. Your writing style is gentle and easy to follow and lends itself to quiet reflection and new directions.
    I hardly ever make lists and tend more toward the spontaneous. Perhaps there is a balance between the two? I certainly have benefitted when making lists and using them as a guide for direction, but I continue to struggle with when to be proactive and when to just be “quiet.”
    I recently discovered The Alexander Technique via a continuing ed. class for over 50’s. I invite you and any of your readers to check it out. I’ll refrain from trying to explain so anyone interest may have their own unique experience. It continues to be an aid to me in both physical movement and thought. Teaser : Never hurry, never hesitate . . . 😊
    Steve E.

    1. yogapaula Post author

      Thanks for your comments and kind words Steve! I absolutely agree with you about finding a balance between lists and spontaneity, and I think your suggestion of using lists as a guide is a way to do that. The trouble starts, I think, when lists begin to rule life in a rigid sort of way, instead of more gently reminding us of our goals. For myself, I try mapping out my day in the morning without thinking about time constraints. When I say I need to do certain things by noon and then by 2pm and then by 3pm my day is less productive then if I just let if flow while being aware that I have goals for the day.
      I also briefly checked out the Alexander Technique and suggest, readers, that you do the same. It is quite interesting and I love how it works on ridding the body of holding tension which is so damaging for our body and also an energy robber. There is quite a bit more to it than that and I hope you will take some time to look at how it works. Take some time during the day and notice how much tension you are holding in different areas of your body. This impedes oxygen from getting to all of our cells too which can cause fatigue. Steve, I hope that these comments are appropriate to the technique. I wanted to give readers just a touch of what I read and get them curious too!


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