I was pretty young the first time I heard the famous John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” So it pretty much got the standard young folk treatment from me … eye roll … “old people!”
It didn’t really resonate with me until I got a little older. The idea that we let the precious moments of our lives roll on by, uncherished and with little attention, because we’re focused on what we think is the real prize waiting further down the road. The day-to-day is just a necessary evil to get through … something in the way of a goal we think we have to reach before we can actually be happy.
And for many of us, once we reach a that goal or “thing” that should finally make us happy, it quickly gets replaced with a new goal … THAT goal is what we really need! This new plan will get us the life we’re really excited about. All those discarded moments wasted …
And the beautiful life we’re living at that moment passes by unnoticed.
I mean … think about your day yesterday. How did you spend it? How often did you roll your eyes at your significant other? Did you get annoyed with your little guy because he wanted your attention and you were busy doing some chore.
Did you rush through dinner to get back to work, or get frustrated because you had to stop to do the dishes?
Life can be annoying. And messy and imperfect. I get it!
But here you are, working on building a better life. Working towards those big dreams. And yay for you! Go get it superstar!
And because your working your glorious behind off, you don’t have time for the mundane, for the annoying. Your kid throwing up … UGH! Your train is late … ARG! Your kitchen floor is muddy, you’ve got a cold you can’t shake and your car is out of gas … DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!
These are just trivial and irritating distractions from your grand ol’ plan.
What’s the purpose of your plan?
But what is your big plan for, really? Whether you’re creating a business, a family or a piece of art, ultimately you’re doing it for one reason … to experience happiness and a sense of purpose. You’re not doing it for the material results, you want a sense of fulfillment!
Well, good news! The fulfillment that you want is closer than you think. As a matter of fact, you’re sitting in it right now. Don’t worry, no need to look. That’s not what I mean.
I mean it’s this moment. It’s in those dirty dishes. It’s in the wait for the train. Even in the silly, completely unfunny joke your significant other keeps cracking.
You see, your daily life isn’t a bunch of insignificant “fillers” along the road to happiness. It’s constant potential for fulfillment.
Daily activities are only empty tasks if we let them be. What they can be are rituals of love, care and gratitude. It all depends on our attitude. We’re in control.
Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it, take with you your all.
~ Kahlil Gibran
Honor the Ordinary
So this sounds super easy … but like starting any new habit, it takes a little practice. But you’ll get it down in no time!
Try this …
Identify one chore or regular scenario that irritates or even bores you. Over this week, turn it into a sacred act. Something that nourishes your soul and brings you joy fulfillment.
Perhaps it means lighting your favorite smelling candle … like, it makes you feel like you’re floating on a cloud when you smell it … and dissolving into the fragrance as you … scrub some pots and pans. Breath in and scrub-a-dub. Really, no doubt those pots and pans will sparkle like they never have before.
Perhaps, instead of marching through the subway head down, you make it a point to make eye contact and intentionally smile at at least 4 strangers on the subway. Smiles are contagious and you might find yours sticks with you just a little while longer.
Maybe you take the time to set the table with a little extra love … a napkin in the shape of a lovely swan … fresh flowers on the table … heart-shaped butter pats in the mash potatoes. You might find the family sits at the table a little longer and catches up. Sit! Enjoy!
Cheat Sheet: Beating Anxiety with Self-Talk
Are you hijacked by your anxiety?
Constantly making mental lists of all the ways that you could fail – and all the things that might go wrong?
Use this Cheat Sheet to transform your negative thoughts into loving and constructive self-talk – so you can ditch your anxiety once and for all!
Have a ton of emails to get through? Take a few extra seconds to include a note of gratitude at the beginning of each one. We already know the returns on gratitude are ten-fold. Who knows what might come back to you in your inbox.
Maybe you sit and sing a few favorite songs with your little one as you pack their lunch. One day, years from now, you may not be able to get them to slow down long enough to say hello, so this is the time to store up memories of their little faces smiling back at you and belting out a tune.
Whatever you do, never underestimate the power and beauty of the ordinary. It’s our daily rituals that make our world, that soothe our souls and fill our hearts. And it’s what we make of the small things that prepare us to take on the big ones.
So, keep working towards those big dreams, but never forget that your life is happening right now. You get to decide that you’re happy in each moment, however mundane or frustrating the small stuff is. Not one second that goes by is insignificant. Each one can be special, if you let it be.
And! Bonus! If you learn to turn the mundane to a happy miracle, the frustrating into something beautiful, then … guess what … you already got to the dream! You achieved your goal. You got the happiness, the fulfillment, the joy were working so hard towards. And the material result … the business, the family, the project … is sure to follow. You’re just way happier the whole way through!