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"To Be" rather than "To Do"

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

So, a friend sent me this link to a writing website (check it out here). which suggested a fun practice – both for writing and for living. Instead of creating a “to-do” list, you create a “to be” list. Rather than beating ourselves up for not accomplishing tasks, we allow ourselves to be – in this moment, for a short time, temporarily. It’s just a reminder about the way we want to be in the world rather than what we want to DO in the world. And it’s kind of fun!

You look around you (right now!) and list some concrete objects that you see around you… table, rug, vase, dust…. And, you think how that concrete object might suggest to you some ways you’d like to be in the world. Not forever, just in this moment as you think about your life. It’s not a new year’s resolution – it’s just a different perspective for how you think about the way you are living. Here are my examples;

I’ll be a phone --- I’ll be handy and compact, always ready to talk or listen. I’ll be a medium for communicating with others. You can hold me in your hand, use me to capture perfect moments, check your messages. But I won’t be a bother. I’ll allow myself to be put on hold or silenced once in a while. I’ll know that there are lots of messages inside and some music too.

I’ll be a pen. I’ll be ready with ink to capture my own thoughts and to communicate with others. I’ll prize flowing smoothly and being colorful. My words will be permanent and meaningful. I’ll also sometimes just doodle for fun and not need to stay within the lines. I’ll realize that I have a finite amount of ink and that I need to say the important words first.

I’ll be a book. My cover will intrigue you and be faithful to what is inside me. I’ll want you to know my thoughts and my story. I’ll want to engage with you. I’ll want to give you something. I’ll allow white spaces around the edges so you can insert your thoughts too. I will impart what I know to be true and will allow you to put in a bookmark and lay me down when you are tired.

I’ll be a lamp. I will always be ready to shed light on what is nearby. I will be a warm glow when things are dark. I will be energy efficient and not give off too much heat with my light. I will be available to plug into any source of energy. I will glow!

I’ll be a chair. My lap will always be ready to receive you. I will make you comfortable. I will put my arms around you. I will be a soft place to rest. I will be a sturdy piece of furniture you can rely on. And I will prize my ability to be hospitable.

So I wish you a generous way of being in the world today – and also I wish you the fun of playing with this idea. Feel free to post yours here too!

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