“And that’s the danger: When we fritter away our one and only life doing things that don’t really matter, we sacrifice the things that do matter.” ~Bill Hybels, Simplify
Here is a typical day in my life…..My alarm clock goes off (which would of course be my 19 month old Stella’s voice in the baby monitor asking for me) I hit the ground running. In a matter of minutes Stella has a bottle, the dishes are being unloaded from the dishwasher, the clothes in the washer are transferred to the dryer, the stove is on for eggs, the cutting board is out for fruit and that all has happened in under 4 minutes since I heard my baby angel cake’s voice.
That pattern of cramming that much activity, into that short period of time continues all day and does not stop until my head hits the pillow at night at which time I start to feel guilty for all the things I had not accomplished during the day. Sound familiar? What in the world right? Why are our lives operating at a Mach 10 speed, like we are millions of chickens all looking for our proverbial heads and realizing at the end of the day we only skimmed the surface of our “to do” lists – not even touching on the items towards the bottom that really mattered.
When I am operating at this speed, I need only to look at this video of Lily when she was about 20 months old….she is in our backyard smelling each and every tulip and once done, kissing each and every one of them goodbye, as though it was the only thing that mattered. She literally stopped and smelled the flowers. And isn’t that what we need to do? To slow right down and get back to the small, meaningful, enjoyable moments in life. Those are the times that we will cherish, the times that we will look back upon and be so thankful that we stopped spinning in a world that never does and just for a moment, we stood still, breathed in the beauty around us, took time to make that meaningful phone call, cancelled the class at the gym to have coffee with a dear friend, stopped for five minutes to be grateful for the view from the lookout, had the conversation with a spouse at the end of the night and resisted the urge to get to all the tidying done around the house.
We need to start stopping our “to do” list and start focusing on our “to don’t” list. To slow down, and enjoy the gratification an uncomplicated life has to offer. Will it be scary to not be over scheduled? Of course, our society tells us we need to be 5 different places at once and always be available for the next best thing. But in time we will gain a sense of meaning and purpose knowing that we have just as many hours in the day as Mother Teresa did and she spent all of hers doing what matters most – being with others, spending time with them and slowing the heck on down (pretty sure those are her words exactly). So do the same…..take time…..slow down…..smell the roses (or tulips!)
What one thing today will you put on your “to don’t” list today on the path to uncluttering your soul?