It’s looming behind me as I speak, mocking me. It’s my whiteboard wall, which as I noted on this blog the other day is filled with dozens of bullets of short-term tasks to advance myself as a writer and teacher. It helps my mind to have all of these to-do’s written down; I feel a sense of control over my fate. But is it helpful to start my morning staring at four six-foot-tall columns of tasks waiting to be completed?
We all feel overwhelmed at times by our many to-do’s in life, many of which–related to health and financial security–are not optional, unlike the bullets on my whiteboard wall. I am particularly inclined to feel overwhelmed at this time of year, when overcast days trigger what my doctor calls Seasonal Affective Disorder, but what any rational person could easily call the winter blues.
Yet any student of creativity knows that the key to success is focusing on what you can control, and we can–to an extent greater than we give ourselves credit for–change the way we see a situation in life. I am feeling overwhelmed by too many things to do. But is it possible that I am in fact blessed with an abundance of things I could be doing?
“People are always asking me how I get everything done. There are many answers, but one in particular arose in the midst of one of my morning meditations. As usual, my mind was prancing around like a young puppy, willing to heel for only a moment or two before racing off to explore some enticing scent in the bushes.
“Also as usual, one of these enticing scents was my ‘To Do’ list. As I gave a gentle tug on my mental leash, I experienced a sudden shift in perception. It was as if I had slipped through the looking glass to discover that I was living in a world of abundant possibility as opposed to one of temporal scarcity.
“I no longer had the problem of not enough time and balancing my life with my work; I had the gift of more than enough to do.”
I certainly have more than enough to do. I’m going to make an effort to try on this new suit for size, this to-do-list-as-a-blessing. Now I just need another mental trick to calm myself of the fear that whatever to-do I choose to work on should in fact have been ignored for a to-do of more urgency or importance.
How many days until spring again?