A few weeks ago I picked up a book and skimmed a few pages. When I picked the book up I knew it really held no interest for me, I don’t really recall the name or who wrote it. The title was something like “What’s it like to be married to me?” I am very certain I do not wish to know the answer to this question – so, why read the book!
However, in my short perusal, I encountered an idea that so perfectly dove-tailed with something I have been thinking and meditating on for most of this year – allow me to share.
The story in the book invites you to imagine that 30 years in the future you are attending a funeral. When you arrive you know all the people in attendance and as you approach the casket you realize it’s you that has died. Your spouse is prepared to give a eulogy about you. What would they say? The idea is that your spouse – the person who knows you best – will have far different insights into who you really are than anyone else in the room. If they honestly stood in to look back at your ‘body of work’ a true look at your at your lifetime; what would they say?
The author then talks about how we are all DAILY beings. It is the things we do everyday that make up the whole of who we are.
In the grand scheme of things I would want to be painted with broad brush strokes. I sometimes think the broad strokes cover the small daily missteps or miscues. However, this book drives home the point that our life is just the opposite. The things we do daily make up the broad stroke picture of our lives! Everyday is just one more pixel in the picture of your life.
I have written several places where I am sure to see it daily the following quote:
The Difference Between Who You Are And Who You Want To Be IS What You Do TODAY.
Do you complain everyday?
Do you laugh everyday?
Is nothing ever good enough?
Do you hug your spouse or kids everyday?
Do you worry everyday?
Do you learn or try something new everyday?
Do you yell at your kids or spouse everyday?
Do you take time to meditate everyday?
Are your days too busy to take time to appreciate little things?
Do you exercise everyday?
Are your food choices healthy everyday?
At the beginning of 2013 we began a practice in our house of putting a smiley face on the kitchen calendar every day we successfully ate every meal at home. Our budget said we ate out WAY too much. However, it didn’t feel like we ate out a lot. We quickly learned that although it didn’t seem like much – it was easy to make excuses, develop reasons, or conveniently forget previous dining – we were indeed eating out far more than we should! I have said this before –
Maybe you are like me, just because you know how to do something; just because you can identify the problem, you believe that in some magic way the problem is already solved.
For example, I know I should avoid sweet treats (even though I love them). I also know that I can occasionally indulge in a sweet cheat without dire consequences. However, when I conveniently forget prior indulgences, when I make excuses, when I allow an occasional cheat to be come a daily habit, the consequences (weight gain, higher blood sugar levels, etc) become clear.
Because we are experts at rationalizing to ourselves the one little indulgence – the one little indulgence that becomes a daily habit – it is helpful to track and measure.
It may seem silly.
But you can track and measure anything. Track the days when you avoid complaining. Track when you laugh. Track when you hug your spouse or kids. Track when you meditate. Track when you avoid worry. Track and document your appreciation of little things.
For me, the smiley face on the calendar is reason enough for me to pass by convenient lunch or dinner and come home and cook. The orange squares (signifying completed) on my marathon training calendar are motivation to do it again tomorrow. The joy of seeing the physical manifestations of success helps me to stay on the path of being who I really want to be and meet my goals to get there.