Doing gentle – 29 – There are no Musts

Doing gentle – 29 – There are no Musts

July 31, 2016
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Sometimes I forget that Musts are a figment of our imagination. Must’s, should’s and would’s, have to’s. They are made up. Imagined.

I’ve heard someone say there are only two Musts: we must die (at least so far) and we must choose. And I guess that’s a fair estimate.

The rest of them, the Musts, the Should’s, Would’s and the Have to’s, are all made up. Make belief.

Oh, no, some people say when they hear me tell them that Must’s don’t exist, they do, they do exist! I must feed the kids a warm meal every night, and I definitely have to give the house a good cleaning every time my mother-in-law is coming to visit.

But no. Sorry. You don’t have to feed the kids a warm meal every night. You don’t even have to feed them actually. You probably want to feed your kids, and you might think it is a great idea for them to have a warm meal at night, but it’s not a Must. It’s a choice you make.

tablecatAnd you definitely don’t have to clean the house before your mother-in-law comes over. No way. There’s no rule that says this is a Must. Except, perhaps, within you. In your mind, there is that rule. And that rule might be yours. I mean, truly, something you’ve designed because you love your mother-in-law so much and know that she feels so much better in a clean house. It might be someone else’s rule and if that’s the case, I suggest you find out who’s voice is telling you to clean house? Regardless, it’s still not a Must. If you do it, it’s because you choose to do it. If you don’t well, then it’s because you chose not to do it. Either way, it’s not a Must. It is a choice.

So. What Must’s exist in your life, that you might as well start to name appropriately? I mean, why not say what is really going on.

I want to feed my kids a warm mean every night, because I think it’s important for their growth and development, and because I love sitting down the whole family at night, talking and sharing our daily experiences with each other. 

I want to clean our house now, since mother-in-law is coming, and I want it to look nice for her.

So. Ditch the Must’s. You don’t need them. Instead, do what you want to do, and call it for what it is. A Want To rather than a Must.

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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Doing gentle – 21 – Subtract!

June 5, 2016
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Have you discovered the magic trick of subtracting? Of simplifying life?

Steve Chandler is the one who pointed me in this direction, and I tell you, that specific pod I’ve listened to over and over again. It’s magic, in all it’s simplicity!

What he suggests is this: Instead of adding more stuff to do, to be happier, to me more successful, to be a better parent, spouse, sibling, son or daughter, co-worker, boss. Well. You name it! Instead of adding – subtract! Subtract the things in your life that turn into musts.

You love the opera? You buy a yearly subscription to all the shows in your local opera house… and all of a sudden, that which you truly love doing, might turn into a must. A bad conscience, something which weighs heavily on you, rather than give you the intended joy.

subtractYou love gardening? Instead of being content with doing gardening in your own garden, you top it off by getting an allotment as well, and then… when you don’t have time to weed, to water, to harvest, it turns from a joy, into a drudge. You mismanage the allotment, and even the garden itself. And it’s gnawing on your conscience. You should! You must! Why aren’t you? And the joy falls away. Even lying down in the grass, enjoying a sunny summer day and a good book, turns into something you avoid, not to be reminded of all the must’s that haven’t been performed.

You love spending time with your kids? Then perhaps, the bed doesn’t have to be made perfectly in the morning when there is such a rush to get everyone ready for the day. Perhaps, you don’t have to have dinner ready when everyone comes home, you can cook together instead. Perhaps, the kids don’t have to have soccer practice, swim meet, gymnastics and guitar lessons every week. Perhaps, you can have a night or two, with no activities, just spending time together. Cooking dinner, playing some cards, reading from a book you all love…

I don’t know. But there is a limit. That I do know. There is a limit to what we can do in a day, and if there’s something else we want to do, then adding on-top of all that which we already do, is very seldom sustainable in the long run. If we subtract, we can make room for what is so often the little things, the things that light up our lifes in the most mundane and beautiful way. That way, when you feel the desire to go to the opera – you buy a ticket and go enjoy the experience to the fullest.

What can you subtract in order to make more room for that lights up your life and brings a smile to your face?

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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Doing gentle – 15 – Who’s rules are they?

April 24, 2016
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Who’s rules are you trying to live by? Your own? Your parents? The trend-setters in school? The unwritten rules of the society you are a part of, all the should’s and must’s as well as the should and must not’s?

Ask yourself. ask
What is the rule?
How is it important to you? Why?
How does it affect you and the life you lead?
Is it a rule you agree with, or would you rather it didn’t exist?
Or would you simply rephrase it somehow? How?

Again. Awareness is the thing.
Awareness that there are rules, unwritten ones, that you have internalized during your upbringing, that can have a profound effect on your life.

So when you hear yourself tell yourself this cannot be done, that must not happen, oh no, you can’t wear that, don’t eat ice-cream for breakfast or whatever… ask yourself: why not?

Perhaps you will find a really good reason why not. Perfect. Perhaps you will find an equally good reason for doing it, despite the rule. Perfect. The point is to become aware. Not to act without reflecting, living a life by rote.

Why not?

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