Wholeheartedness and How To Get It
On Tuesday, I wrote about how I felt our hard work in balancing life’s responsibilities was “an attempt to answer the question that only wholeheartedness can resolve.” In other words, balance is not the answer. Wholeheartedness is. While that’s the kind of soundbite that could get me on Oprah (my time is running out!), I admit it’s only a very shallow dip with a pinkie toe into the deep, swirling waters of real life. (That’s another nice soundbite, actually).
So, with the aim of at least getting an entire foot in, here are some initial thoughts about wholeheartedness and how we can get it:
Wholeheartedness is only available to us in the present moment. It is not “out there” somewhere down the line or in some other context. We can only access it in the “right here, right now.”
Wholeheartedness, then, requires us turning our fullest attention to the present moment. I don’t mean in some New Age-y, stop-everything-you’re-doing sort of way and consider how you can become enlightened (on second thought, that may not be such a bad idea). I mean simply choosing to draw your attention to what’s happening right in this particular moment.
For example, I was doing some reading this morning. As I did, my brain started riffing on what I could blog about that could hopefully attract some more hits. Silly brain. I’m convinced my brain is a zit-faced high school freshman eating lunch by himself in the quad, dreaming of popularity. But I caught myself thinking this, smiled, paused, and looked up from my book. The sun was shining through the window. This is no small thing here in Portland where the sun is shier than a snow leopard (nice). And so, pausing to to take in the sun and remember that I am right here and right now, sitting in my living room with a cup of coffee, the sun giving my toes a white-hot pedicure (not all of these soundbites are Oprah-worthy), I found myself in the moment. All of me right then and there. I felt solid again, not worried about what others think of me, not worried about what the day held. Not mindless, either, but rather, mind-full, aware and alert to the present moment, which is always the doorway to wholeheartedness.
Wholeheartedness requires practice. It is very difficult to be present to the here and now in a hyperconnected, Facebooked, Twitterized culture. It no longer comes naturally (if it ever did). And so, like anything worthy of our time and talent, we have to practice. We have to start somewhere and take a step forward, then another.
We have forgotten how to live in the present and mostly we have not been given permission. But here is your “permission to be present” card. Use it wisely.
Take a moment – maybe even at the end of reading this blog – and pause. What are you feeling? Anxious? Excited? Sad? Happy? Where are your thoughts? Are they on the next item of your to-do list? Do they seem be swinging around like a bunch of over-caffeinated monkeys? Pause and give thanks for one thing. Take a deep, long breath and exhale slowly. Listen for the sounds around you, the sights. What does it feel like to be present to this particular moment?
We’re going to continue this exploration into wholeheartedness tomorrow. But I have to go now…the phone just rang and I think it’s Oprah.