There is the five year plan, the ten year plan. It is all well to plan if we find joy in it, but what if we did so without expectation? What if we lived altogether without expectation? What does that look like?
It means joy in the action-taking, not in the preconceived idea of the outcome. It means doing work that has joy in the doing, not in the outcome of the work once done. It means creating truly from our souls without thought of who else will like it, who may judge it, or how many ‘likes’ it may receive.
The sculptor who sculpts in joy, the painter who paints in joy, the artist who creates in joy, will not quit the activity if they are dissatisfied with their piece when it is finished because the point of creating was the joy of creation, not in the object created.
If we run to lose weight, if we only work for money, if we only garden for the blossomed flower, then we will not stay with it, unless we ultimately find joy in the doing.
What is an expectation of success to you? Is it money or affluence? Is it power? Is it freedom?
Or what if the idea of “success” did not exist at all?
What if we had no idea of success as an outcome, but as a doing in joy and in love? If we live through our hearts, this is possible. If we live through our minds, there is always a problem to solve, a finished project to accomplish, a waiting of something to improve the present, for that is its job. If there was no issue, no future goal envisioned or to obtain, then it knows no purpose for its survival.
But if we live from our heart. What does it look like to live from our heart?
It looks like the runner running because they love the action and feel of their legs moving, their heart beating.
It looks like the caregiver loving their patient while taking their blood pressure.
It looks like the chef creating a dish for the love of nourishment and flavor and tasting sensations.
It looks like the parent loving watching their child play the sport they love, win or lose, college scholarship or one year of playing and finished. No expectation.
Several minds are now saying, does that mean we do nothing that sounds like something we do not want to do? Does that mean we only do things that always bring us joy?
This is a problem of the mind. There is always joy in the present moment if we allow our minds to stop pushing us into the a different place than we are right now. It could also be a conditioned thought that we must do work we do not find joy in to attain what we need. Or that the activities we find joy in can not sustain us. These are all false beliefs that our mind loves to hold on to.
When work is done solely through the mind, for an achievement or an imagined date of ‘success’, it is all done for the receiving of love, of acceptance, of approval.
But when we live through our hearts, our mind has already received all of the love and acceptance and approval it will ever need. And it is free to live in the experience of joy in doing, not in a future imagined date of accomplishment.
I rode my daughter’s bike to the post office today.
Why is this even a big deal, you might ask?
Okay, it’s not a big deal. It’s actually a really small act. I will share with you why I am so pumped up about it, though.
When we moved to our small farm, we moved a ten minute drive from town. This may not seem long to some, but it’s long enough that if you leave the grocery store having forgotten something, you’re not going back to get it. The road into town is an actual ten-curvy-road miles, with cars and trucks going 50-60mph, so cycling this road is really left to cyclists, with the gear and the tight shorts and you know what I mean – not for kids and moms going on a leisurely bike ride together.
And this trek into town has been somewhat of a big deal to me because of my business. I make jewelry and jewelry supplies. There are several days that it is imperative that I ship -that day-. Designers needing their supplies, customers needing their pieces for an event, a variety of reasons. What this means is that most days I am hustling out of my shop at 4:45pm to make it to the post office in time for their 5pm cut off. I am driving ten miles into town, dropping off packages at the post office, and then driving right back home.
I have never loved this.
When I talk about living a connected life, I am finding that questions start to arise. Questions such as, if I don’t love that I rush to the post office everyday at 5pm, what else can I do that would be more in line with how I want to live? What else can I do that would feel in alignment with what my spirit wants, instead of what doesn’t feel good?
I know we don’t always have flexibility here. I know there are times that we have to do what we have to do for the time being. But there are times when we can make an effort to make changes. There are instances when I have alternatives that feel better, but I easily talk myself out of them.
Here is the thing – there is a post office less than 2 miles from my house.
Not kidding. Literally less than two miles. It is just the sweetest little post office with the sweetest postal person (hi Becky!). The hours of this post office have consistently been reduced because the government doesn’t like to pay to keep this post office open longer since it is in such a small area of town. It now closes at 2:30 in the afternoon.
I love going to this post office for several reasons, but one important reason is that I want it to stay open. It is a place where people know each other, where people aren’t in a rush, where some get the only interaction with other humans they will have all day. The more business they see, the more likely they will stay open. I know bringing some of my large shipments may make a difference to this office. But I could never make it by 2:30pm. I always was too busy, too many orders, excuse, excuse, excuse.
I am trying to live differently now. I am asking myself the hard questions.
“What don’t I like about hustling into town just for a post office run?”
Two answers – I want to give the small post office my business because I want them to stay open. And then a larger scale reason: I get a little nauseous when I read about efforts to open up more US land for oil drilling. I am heartbroken when pipelines are put in despite peoples’ efforts to protest.
But I still drove anyway.
I made no effort to reduce my consumption, my reliance on the oil that I was against drilling.
My actions were not in line with the way I felt, the way I wanted to live.
So what actions can I take that will feel more connected to who I am, to my true self?
Well, I figure the best way to start, the best way to protest something, is to just not give them my money.
Today was a day I made one decision that put me more in line with the life I want to live. I would be done by 2pm and ride my daughter’s bike to the post office to deliver packages.
I was nervous, because busy road. I was excited, because I can take a bike to where I need to be! I don’t have to drive!
So off I went. And it was exhilarating.
I wasn’t afraid anymore. I didn’t have a child with me to set the pace. I went as hard as I could uphill, then coasted downhill, breeze blowing. (I actually laughed at one point! I couldn’t hold it in) I noticed flower boxes on houses that I drive by every day but hadn’t noticed before. I smelled the lilac bush I drive by everyday but hadn’t smelled before. I was living.
I dropped my packages off and rode home with a smile on my face.
I wasn’t rushed. I wasn’t using fuel for one quick trip into town.
Now, let me say this…I am giving myself grace. There are days when I am going to have a rush order and have to get to UPS by 6pm to get it out. But now, I am asking the questions. I am asking myself what kind of life I want to live. I am figuring out how I want to feel during my days and then taking action based on that, not living in reaction to the circumstances of the day instead.
It is so empowering, so fun to really think about your life, to reclaim your power, to make decisions based on how you want to live.
As always, thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing in this journey to reconnect to the lives we want to truly live.
Are there details about your day you would like to change to be more in line with who you are? It can be the smallest thing! I would love to hear.
Living with intention. Living in the present. Your authentic life. Living your best life. Thanks mostly to Oprah, these phrases have become a central part of our culture. I admit, though, that these phrases just all seemed kind of abstract to me, not sure how to really apply them in a way that could actually change my life.
Money. I think it really all changed for me when the paycheck stopped being directly deposited. No more magical appearance of funds into my checking account twice a month. I say ‘magical’ – it wasn’t like I didn’t work for the money that appeared, but it was abstract. I would go to my sales job, have my conversations, review and prepare, put in the effort, and money would be deposited every other week into my account. It is the upside to having a salaried job. Then the transition to running my small business full time. That is really when everything changed. Continue reading “Saving Instead”