Like lots of people, I begin most weeks by making a “to DO” list.
You know the drill. Sit down with paper and pen. Begin mentally previewing the next seven days. Then wait.
It never fails. “To DO” items just start showing up. There comes one out of my foggy memory. Then two or three more from the pages of my calendar. Steadily they arrive, all the things I have to get done or want to accomplish. Obligations and desires, all in one place, each one with its very own checkbox. It’s a sweet deal–after just a few minutes, I’ve got a handy game plan for my day, a basic road map for the week.
But not this week. No. This last list-making exercise was anything but pleasant. A veritable mob of “to DO” items–many of them large and intimidating, came rushing at me all at once, yelling in surly, demanding tones. For a few menacing moments, I felt like a Walmart employee on Black Friday.
It took some doing, but I managed to wrestle them into rows. I looked down at them. They glared back up at me. The longer this staring contest went on, the more exhausted I felt. What’s the point? I finally wondered. There’s no end to all this DOING. Every time I check one item off my list, two or three more manage to muscle their way on!
Then, almost unconsciously, I caught myself writing across the bottom of my list this question: “Why don’t we make ‘to BE‘ lists?”
And so that’s what I did. With each item, I felt lighter. And when I read back through the whole list, I was no longer tense.
I’m not sure what all I’ll manage to DO today (or whether any of those accomplishments will even matter in a month), but here’s what I’ve decided I want to BE. Here’s my new and improved “to BE” list (for today–and, I hope, every day):
BE in the moment
BE present for my life
What’s on your “to BE” list?