I awoke early today and, in the pre-dawn dark, thought through ALL The Things.
You know The Things. You have your list of Things too.
These are ALL The Things I’m tending to and excited for, worried about and pressured by. These are all The Things I’m catching up on after the admitted privilege of being away on vacation: Emails, phone calls, inquiries, and scheduling. These are all the team changes, new opportunities, and old commitments.
It’s all The Things that pack next week’s calendar at work: The gatherings, talks, meetings, facilitations, and workshops. And it’s all The Things that fill this week’s calendar to prepare for next week.
It’s all the changes I’m paying attention to. It’s getting up to speed and merging quickly into the rhythm of the office after being away. It’s the new relationships to develop and the existing ones to nurture.
It’s also The Things I’m guilty of not following up on, a reply, a document, a call, “Today I’ll take care of that one at least!” I promise myself.
And it’s not just The Things at work; it’s all of life. Family members have birthdays coming up; a friend’s baby was born. Another suffered a loss, and still another has a precious child whose cancer has returned. Serious, life-altering things that I want to reach out to people and offer love.
And it’s the mundane Things as well: The weeds are coming on strong in my garden. My house needs cleaning, the laundry needs washing, the bills need paying.
I woke up thinking about all The Things. The overflowing collection of relationships, experiences, and responsibilities that make up my one life. And I love it all. I’m lucky and grateful for the chance to work, and care, and learn, and give. I’m grateful to be able to BE in relationship and in action.
So I surveyed all The Things this morning, considering each, puzzling over things and letting inspiration and insights come to me. But there was one Thing missing. It is the one Thing that easily gets pushed out first when life fills up.
Time for writing, the practice of writing was nowhere to be found.
I went through the collection of all The Things, mentally searching through the pile, looking under boxes of responsibilities, and digging through the bags of plans. But I couldn’t find my writing anywhere. This imperfect practice that is essential to me, not just to my work but to my clarity and sense of purpose, was missing.
I considered this in the dark.
When I write, ideally I want quiet. I want cleared decks and a de-cluttered mind with space and time to find flow. But those conditions are nowhere in sight right now. And it will be weeks before I find that kind of mental space again.
Sigh. I brooded.
I heard the words in my head.
“Write now. Don’t wait for the ideal conditions. Write right now.”
I sat up.
“Turn on the light. Get your laptop open. Write right now.”
So I did.
And I wrote this.
And I already feel better about all the other Things I need to do, all the rest I care about.
You have Things you care about. Work you are doing. Relationships you are nurturing. Responsibilities you are carrying. Obligations and hopes and plans to make and messes to clean up. So many Things.
And I’ll bet that you have some Thing, some practice, some activity you do that feeds you, that makes you better at all the other Things.
Isn’t it shocking how easily we let that most essential Thing go? How we give up so easily the Thing that expresses who we are, that feeds us, that helps us to do and be our best?
I’m not sure why we do that.
But today I’m not wasting time trying to get to the root of that problem. That is for another day. Today, instead, is a day to remedy the situation by just doing the Thing.
For me this was writing, “Write right now!”
What about you? What is your neglected thing? What is your thing that makes you feel like you? But the Thing that perhaps gets dropped from the schedule? Elbowed out?
Is it painting, or cooking, or gardening, or walking?
Is it reading, or running, or playing the piano?
Whatever your Thing,
“Do it right now.”
Do it today. Imperfectly perhaps. But who cares? Just reclaim yourself and do that Thing of all Things.
I promise, you will be glad you did.
Right now, as I survey all my other Things again after writing this, as I look at my calendar, it all looks different. I am more grounded, more present to all the rest. I feel more myself, more ready for everything else. I feel better already.
Today, take a few minutes to do your Thing.
You’ll feel better, ready, glad.