Dear Pope Francis,
I was talking to my mom yesterday. She’s my go-to guru when I’m stuck or need to look at things a different way. Both my parents, actually, are great sources of wisdom.
Anyway, I was expressing a sense of overwhelm I’ve had lately. It just seems that I have so many things pulling me in so many directions right now, it’s hard to figure out what to focus on first.
After listening, my mom said, “What do you want to spend your time on?” This struck me profoundly. I seem to spend my days worrying about how others want me to spend my time. To some extent, this is a fact of working for a living. I need to make money to support myself, so I need to incorporate the needs of others into my life. But, I think that where I can be more careful is how I apportion hours that are truly mine. I’m only at work for a certain number of hours a day; the rest are mine to do with as I see fit. That may seem like a simple idea, but, for me, it’s something of a profound realization.
Hand-in-hand with that is the idea of being more present and mindful asI go about my day. Every moment I have the opportunity to choose my focus and my intention. This, too, is a powerful insight.
As I was thinking about all of this, I saw this quote from Pema Chodron’s most recent book pop up on Facebook. It spoke perfectly to where I am right now and I thought I’d share:
“At some point, if you’re fortunate, you’ll hit a wall of truth and wonder what you’ve been doing with your life. At that point you’ll feel highly motivated to find out what frees you and helps you to be kinder and more loving, less klesha driven and confused. At that point you’ll actually want to be present—present as you go through a door, present as you take a step, present as you wash your hands or wash a dish, present to being triggered, present to simmering, present to the ebb and flow of your emotions and thoughts. Day in and day out, you’ll find that you notice sooner when you’re hooked, and it will be easier to refrain. If you continue to do this, a kind of shedding happens—a shedding of old habits, a shedding of being run around by pleasure and pain, a shedding of being held hostage by worldly concerns.”
What all of this means for me, I think, is that I am going to pay more attention to how I’m spending the time that is mine, and my intentions for what happens during that time. I may not have 24 hours in a day all to myself, but I do have a good portion of them.
(By the way, the link to Pema Chodron’s book goes to my affiliate site on Amazon. If you purchase the book through that link I get a bit of money.)