How many years have we spent ineffectively trying to change the things in our lives so we can have some sense of fulfillment or success? We exhaust so much time, effort, and energy on trying to keep those things we want, push away those things we don’t want, and wrangle to get what it is we still feel we need. It is an exercise in futility, but it is the only way we have learned to try and affect change towards cultivating the life we feel is still just beyond our reach.
True change can only come when one stops trying to change the things in their life and instead changes how they interact with those things they already have. Until that time the same patterns of fear and resistance and unhappiness will continue to persist, and regardless of what changes we make externally, we will still end up with the same feelings of dissatisfaction.
Rather than focusing on what we wish was different in our life, try looking differently at those things instead. As ridiculous as it might sound, I have found that my least favorite chores and activities contained within them the fulfillment I had been longing for the whole time: things like dishes and laundry and cleaning and ironing. It is not that those tasks are in and of themselves fulfilling to me: fulfillment arises by opening to and honoring the process of doing them. These chores simply provide the impersonal landscape for my own joy and insight to be liberated.
And when I look back at all the years I resisted those activities, I realize how my dismissing them as mundane and unimportant was an outer reflection of my inner state. I was trying to make myself more important than what was in front of me to do. I paid those chores little mind, and would rush through just to get done, or I would ignore them completely, telling myself that I would do it later (but not really meaning it).
I discovered is that those burdensome activities concealed within them more insight and inspiration then I could even begin to process. It was while folding laundry that I unfolded purpose. It was while detailing the kitchen that the details of how my life would evolve were revealed. It was while cleaning out the garage that my fears and limitations were swept away. It was while sorting through paperwork that my mind was freed of its clutter.
Don’t get me wrong: It’s not that I’m all about cleaning now…anyone who’s been in my house can attest to that. But I certainly recognize now how negative feelings about things I have to do anyway only serve to limit myself. That awareness is all it takes to help me open to those activities and discover what treasures might be hiding inside.
If you are one of those twisted people who love to clean, :) then you will need to find what it is you resist and open to those tasks instead. While there may be limited pleasure in doing what we love, the clues leading us to our absolute and abiding fulfillment are lurking in the depths of those things we tend to resist most.
Our task is not to change our life: we need only stand still and find the joy where we are, and then life will change around us to best reflect our inner state of fulfillment.