Checking Off The Boxes
by Jackie Woods
I had a relative who believed that growing up meant having a list of behaviors he could check off. His list was not a to-be but a to-do list. He tried really hard to check off all the boxes on his list. While I admired his diligence, I was sad he didn’t feel his “being” was adequate. It was like he was the antagonist in his own life story. One of the things on his list was to be non-reactive. So while he never fought with me, he never brought in passion to our conversations either. It was as if he was reading a book to me without any inflection.
The good thing about being around him was that it made me reevaluate my to-be list to make sure it had not become a to-do list. I always felt he had a huge fear of failure that pushed him to define being a grown-up in this way. His dad had been a mean alcoholic. Thus, not a very good role model. While checking off the boxes of a cover-up list may give a false sense of security, it does not allow the ever-present heart gifts to be received.
Even though I am all for a to-do list to keep my structures in place, I do not want the list to supersede my heart’s offering. When I do slip up and forget and let my doing be a fill-in for my being, I quickly realize what I have done, because the act makes me critical. I either become critical of those who don’t do it the way I do, or I become critical of myself for not doing it perfectly. In other words, the order of life gets turned around.
Society tends to encourage introducing yourself by what you have accomplished rather than by the qualities you bring to those accomplishments. Once a man asked me at a party what I did. When instead of just telling him what I do I told him who I am through my doing. I said I offer truth for people to share with me while I teach Spiritual Growth Classes. He quickly excused himself.
I use notes when I teach a class. Any time I let the words in those notes be more important than the energy of truth my heart offers, I lose the connection with the hearts of my audience. So be aware of who you are “being” while checking off the boxes of your to-do list. This will make you a heart explorer rather than a robotic doer.