Create a path with heart

October 02, 2018

“I’ve reached my career and family goals,” a successful woman in her late thirties said. “Now, it’s time to start taking care of myself. I’m going to begin by resolving to spend one hour each week doing something I want to do.”

One hour? What a small percentage of time to devote to doing what we want. Yet, how easy it is to fall into the trap of denying what we want to do. We may call it God’s will for our lives. We may legitimately be in a situation where our responsibilities, including our commitments to other people, consume much of our time. And sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do to accomplish the things we want.

The trap is when our entire life begins to shift over to the “should be doing” category. This is what I should be doing in my career; this is what I should be doing for my family; this is where I should live; and this is probably how I should spend my spare time. This is what I should be doing in my religion, or spirituality; this is what I should be doing with my money, time, and energy.

Who said?

Take a moment. Examine whose should’s are running your life. Are the things you tell yourself you need to be doing true expressions of your legitimate goals, responsibilities, and commitments? Or have you wandered so far away from yourself that your life is no longer a genuine expression of who you are, and what you want, in your heart?

How many hours a week do you spend doing what you want to be doing or doing what you need to be doing to have what you want—whether that’s sobriety, a family, or the career that’s right for you? How many hours each week are spent doing what you think you should be doing, whether you need to or not?

Getting the things we want in life entails responsibility. We need to tend to our liberations—the career we want, the family life we want, and our avocations, as well. Tend to the things we’ve set free. But, don’t forget to tend to the liberation of yourself, too. Maybe the things you’re grumbling about doing are part of doing what you want. If that’s the case, stop grumbling and thank God. Maybe you’ve forgotten that the things you’re doing are what you really want to do. But maybe when you assess your daily life, you’ll realize that some of the things you’re doing aren’t necessary, aren’t what you want, and won’t lead to where you want to go. You’re telling yourself you have to, but you don’t.

Start today by spending one hour doing something you want to do. In time, you may want to increase that to two hours a day. Eventually, you may get to that place where your should’s intersect with your wants. That’s when you’ve created and are walking a path with heart.

God, help me find a path with heart; help me walk the one I’m on with heart.

From the book: More Language of Letting Go

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About the author

In addiction and recovery circles, Melody Beattie is a household name. She is the best-selling author of numerous books.

One of Melody's more recent titles is The Grief Club, which was published in 2006. This inspirational book gives the reader an inside look at the miraculous phenomenon that occurs after loss--the being welcomed into a new "club" of sorts, a circle of people who have lived through similar grief and pain, whether it be the loss of a child, a spouse, a career, or even one's youth.

For more information about Melody and her books, visit the author's official website