One day last week I woke up grumpy and feeling out of sorts. I realized that it was because I had been a pretty hard taskmaster with myself working on all sort of projects related to my book. I was cracking the whip and expecting more and more out of myself. I was the one creating my schedule and expectations. I was the one looking at those expectations as a burden. I had taken the joy out of something that in the previous months had been joyful and life affirming because I had turned into the worst boss that I have ever worked for. “There’s no time to play, you’ve got too much to do,” evil boss would say in my head.
How often do we postpone fun and joy because we have things to do? Funny thing, I have never finished a “to do” list in my life and then had nothng to do. Normally as soon as I make progress, there are more things on my list. So if I wait till I have accomplished everything to have fun, or only schedule fun things on my calendar, now and then, I’m being miserly with myself. No wonder I was grumpy!
“Carol, if the circumstances of your life never changed from what they are now, would you decide to be miserable instead of savoring the richness that is available to you right now in every moment?” the Voice Within asked me several months ago. That question made me pause. What if the only questions we are asked when we transition back to the other side after death are: “Did you learn to love more deeply? Did you have fun? Did you experience your life fully?’
Do I want to spend most of my days so focused on the tasks that I feel compelled to get done, that I miss all the opportunities within those tasks to be a joyful, loving person? If I don’t practice being loving, joyful and having fun right now, will I be able to give myself permission to do so, when the book is published, when I have a certain amount in my savings account or some other goal that my ego feels is important?
When someone sarcastically asks me, “Are you having fun, yet?” when I am knee deep in what some might perceive as a nasty project, maybe it is the universe reminding me that I have the opportunity to choose joy and fun at any moment.
As I reflect back, I see moments where the task wasn’t fun but the people I was with made it fun. Years of working in law firms have taught me that the most onerous of tasks can be managed and enjoyed with good company. My mom and dad were good at modeling that for me. I remember laughing mopping and vacuuming out the flooded basement with Mom and Dad. I remember years later working on a home improvement project in my sister’s kitchen and giggling together as we worked. That joy was within me to be found, even when the work was hard.
I realize there are times when things really aren’t fun. There are times when we are sad due to a loss or troubled over an illness or tragic event. These are also part of living. And must be felt. But even in the pain of loss of a loved one, there is the ability to recall with fondness and laughter a moment that you shared together.
So why is it so easy to drain all the joy out of my life over little things? I know I can certainly have a lot more fun most days without being inappropriate or disrespectful. If I am going to take on any task, I do have a choice of how I see it. I notice when I am in joy, I attract things more easily, I have better interactions with others. What if it is really as simple as asking yourself the question, “Am I having fun?” And if the answer is no, looking inward to determine how you can shift that.
What about you, “Are you having fun, yet?” If you aren’t, when will you choose to have fun and joy in your daily life?
Not what you do, it how you do what you do, determines whether you are fulfilling your destiny. Eckhardt Tolle