Will you follow me on a short, meandering train of thought? This all occurred to me simultaneously, early this morning.
Are you, like me, a borderline obsessive list maker and goal tender? I keep a planner and myriad lists and charts for habit tracking, miles and paces ran, farm projects, holidays, seasonal work, animal needs, garden jobs, you name it. It helps me “stay on track,” I tell myself, but really what it does is soothe lots of insecurities about my contribution. It gives me an inky representation of my work, because deep down I know that I don’t do enough. Or maybe sometimes I do plenty, but I need the written proof, because no one else knows. Maybe if I die suddenly and someone asks, “What did she do with her life?” they could look at my multicolored planner and see. “Oh, good those habits seem very tidy. Nice.”
What if instead of keeping lists and calendars, instead of charting accomplishments and habits to make myself feel like a good enough person, I get back to counting blessings?
I had this thought early this morning, between a few picturesque moments. I lifted the east facing blinds to see the cotton candy daybreak, and then I walked outside with Klaus. The air was fresh and sweet, the cats were stretching on the sidewalk, campaigning for belly scratches and breakfast, and the birds were singing. SINGING. They produced actual music, not orchestrated by any human, and really beautiful. My mind was mechanically in gear about what to do first today, but the beauty of the moment, the safety and abundance of my life, quite undeserved (Or do I deserve it, a little? Have I fought hard enough for this, evolved enough finally?) overwhelmed me. I came back inside to make two very different cups of coffee, and the thought burst into my mind: “What if you stop counting the things you do and return to counting your blessings?””
I cannot tell you how scary this though felt at first, and then I judged myself for being scared of it. “Why? What is wrong with you?” I demanded of myself. What a clear message, that I have been relying so heavily on self and have been so feverishly feeding my ego, that I need to prove to my own mind so many ridiculous little things. No one else ever sees my lists; it is all for self assurance and carrot motivation.
And then there’s the notion of flow.
A few years ago, just before Pandemic actually, I had an unsolicited and overwhelming experience of Love that has stuck with me and taught me many lessons, the more I reflect on it. Part of the experience was being personally showered with specific encouragement about the ways I had impacted the lives of my friends and family. Dozens of people contributed, and I cried and cried. I wrote something at the time about “Leak Stop” in order to prevent my usual fleeting confidence from forgetting or dismissing it all. I tried to muscle myself into hoarding it all in my heart, you know? And that worked, to an extent. But I don’t think that’s what we’re really supposed to do with Love.
I don’t think we’re supposed to collect Love and keep it for ourselves, just be un-leaky reservoirs that receive lots of water and share it only in emergencies, or maybe grow stagnant. I think we’re supposed to be more like rivers that flow free and strong like the Thompson in Colorado. I think that instead of stopping up the leaks so I could keep more Love for myself, for bad days, I was fine being flexible and open, to share Love more boldly. Receive, give, receive, give, and flow with life giving energy day after day after day. How wonderful to be aligned daily with blessings and purposes. This has been one of my prayers for a few years, and I see it manifesting constantly. Weirdly, haha, I found a way to make that meditation into a task as well. Cool.
And maybe being obsessed with lists and accomplishments ironically stunts my contribution; maybe this lifestyle keeps me too oriented to self and keeps me from allowing Love to flow.
Counting blessings opens me up much more to wonder and gratitude, to magic and limitlessness. Not just small gorgeous details but also catastrophes avoided, abundance realized, joys fulfilled. I know this. I have known it for years, and still I sometimes need the reminder.
Our family has been in a little storm this past month that challenged my ability to stay in the moment and asked me to demonstrate what I have been learning these recent years about prayer, imagination, faith, trust, and free will. Will I spend energy worrying, regretting, and spiraling into what-if scenarios, or will I redeem energy for miracles? It’s been a private and inward job mostly, but the effects are very much three dimensional, very real and impactful to loved ones. What I’m saying is that prayer is a real force. Thoughts are things. And so, it matters where we focus. We have influence, but only by accessing Love. I am so thankful for the redirection this morning away from tasks and ego and back to the Absolute, the Source, the Field, as so many books refer to Love. Back to God.
How scary to realize the thinness of that line, the difference between trusting myself and trusting God.
And how wonderful to relax into being a conduit for power rather than needing to be a source of it, which is obviously impossible. There is only one Source.
Ok gotta go. I have a certain number of miles to run and a list of chores to finish, Ha! Otherwise I am not a real person, ok? I’m mostly kidding.
Harness your thoughts. Direct your energy. Love your life. It’s all here for us to enjoy and share, flowing back and forth.