Do you start each day with a to do list? It might not be written down but the chances are that there are some things on that list that you like doing, some things you don’t like doing and some things you positively hate doing.
Most of us put off our biggest dislikes for as long as possible. They prey on our minds, gnawing away at our happiness even when we’re doing the things we do enjoy. They lurk just out of sight reminding us that we’ll have get round to them in the end.
For me it’s housework. I see the value of a clean house, I know that I’d enjoy living in a clean house but it’s getting to that point that’s the challenge.
I tried procrastination but the mess was always there, right in front of me, reminding me that I’d have to deal with it. When I did get round to it, I’d resent it. I’d be sullen and unhappy, thinking about all the other things I could be doing.
Then, during yet another re-watching of the movie of Gandhi’s life, I had a revelation. In one scene a rare flare up occurs between Gandhi and his wife over her refusal to take her turn cleaning the ashram latrines. Under duress she agrees to do it but as she turns to leave Gandhi stops her and shouts, ‘do it with joy or not at all’.
This has become a mantra in our house. Even the children are asked to do chores with a smile. Well we’re trying anyway. I’m not sure if the movie uses a direct quote but I do know that Gandhi said,
‘Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.’
Now that’s a way to live! Each day I try to live with this in mind. Rather than putting off the jobs I dislike, I make them an offering. It might be an offering to the Universe, to a loved one (maybe the loved one who made the mess) or an offering of gratitude for a grace received.
This immediately changes how I approach what I’m doing. Instead of being a resented burden, the task has a meaningful purpose.
Here’s a simple way to try this…
- When you are about to begin a task you dislike, sit quietly and breathe.
- Relax your body and mind.
- Think about the upcoming task and set an intention or dedication. For example, ‘I do this with love for my son’ or ‘I do this as an offering of gratitude for the blessing of good health’.
- When you’re ready, begin the task and work with dedication and focus, keeping your intention in mind.
- Once complete, sit quietly again and thank yourself for making this offering.
I hope that you find this practice helpful when dealing with your to do list today.
Wishing you a joyful life in each and every moment.
A heart opening and joyous practice for all. This workshop will focus on unleashing the pure joy at our core as we connect to the infinite source of energy. This beautiful and joyful community experience will include gentle yoga postures, meditation and other ancient tools designed to open and expand your heart. Leave with a smile on your face and joy in your heart. All welcome. $25 + HST
Jacquelyn is a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher and Reiki Level Two practitioner. Yoga has helped her to overcome paralyzing fears and chronic pain and find her true purpose in life. Her focus is on encouraging those around her to have patience, kindness and compassion for themselves and the courage to stand, fearless, in their own light. Jacquelyn teaches Gentle Yoga, Flow Yoga, Yoga for Women, Beginners Yoga, Seniors Yoga, Learn to Meditate and a variety of workshops.