wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. the daily work – that goes on, it adds up. — Barbara Kingsolver
we all have those “aha” moments, those inexplicable epiphanies that change the course of our lives if only for a blip on the screen. while those moments —-and believe me when i say i have had MANY of those moments over the past several months–are powerful and profound in many ways, it’s what we do next that really, truthfully changes our course in life. it is that “daily work” that happens between the aha’s that matters most. in fact, that daily work may just be a large part of what brings about the aha’s.
the kicker is that the daily work is hard. and i don’t mean physical labor hard. worse than that. it’s hard on the soul, on the heart, and on the mind. it ain’t easy and it ain’t pretty, this daily work. it’s much easier to NOT do the daily work and just slip back into the hum-drum of life before….or at least to delude ourselves into believing it is the same as the life before the aha’s. of course, you can’t undo an epiphany. you can’t go back to seeing the world the way you once did. it’s just not possible.
doing the daily work requires that we really live consciously. we do ourselves a disservice when we try to live life by going through the motions. when we experience life fully, we challenge ourselves to be completely present in each and every moment. this means fighting the urge to utilize all those nifty defense mechanisms which have carried us so far in this life.
figuring out what to do different or even how to do this “daily work” is usually the first step. for every single person this will be different even if we each are doing essentially the same thing. for me, learning to be still has been the major factor that allows me to really process and integrate change into my life on a deep and meaningful level. learning to be still at every level is really hard for me. i’m a fidgeter–physically, mentally, and emotionally. i gotta be MOVING! or so i thought. stillness is teaching me that i don’t have to be moving constantly, that i can make progress without doing. mindfulness meditation has certainly helped me find my stillness, but it is not easy. i struggle to fight the urge to fidget–be it to scratch that itch just to the side of my nose, to mentally chase that thought down the rabbit hole of tangents, or to examine the emotions that bubble to the surface.
i’m getting better at it every day. i won’t be teaching a class on finding your inner stillness any time soon, but i’m learning what works for me and reaping the little rewards of perceptual shifts along the way. my whole world is opening up before my eyes, little by little, because i’m willing to do the work that adds up to inner peace.
are you doing your daily work?