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Sometimes I take a step back and ask myself, “What am I doing right now, and am I okay with that?”
I try to see if my busyness is a conscious decision or if I’m just trying to fill my time like some coping mechanism to avoid my actual life. I’ll take a moment on my meditation cushion and decide that I’m going to poke and prod at these, my motivations.
When my coworkers hear that I’m taking another class or watch me research a project during my lunch hour, they ask me where I find the time for all these things. I jokingly tell them that I don’t watch TV, so that helps.
But when I find time for meditation, I find my real motivation on my cushion.
I’m not going to lie, I am perceived to be an extremely busy person. I work and am constantly continuing my education. I write and I read—a lot. Sometimes I do volunteer work. My schedule is pretty full. But everything I choose to do is important to me. I have this sense of urgency that I need to do what I can to make life more livable to as many people as I can.
“My actions are my only true belongings: I cannot escape their consequences. My actions are the ground on which I stand.” ~ Thich Nhah Hahn, The Five Remembrances.
When we find that thing that we want to do, when it burns like a light inside us, when it’s the first thing we think about in the morning and the last thing as we drift off to sleep, that is our motivation. Maybe you don’t have just one thing (I don’t), but you probably have a general set of principles. My actions and my choices flow through these. My Inner Light helps me see what to do, shows me new opportunities, and gives me feedback on my actions, skillful or not.
As a work in progress, I don’t always live up to the ideal that I seek, but it’s my ideal. Because it’s inside me and not made up by someone else or pulled from a book—or an article on the internet—I can access it anytime I want. Because I find time for meditation and self-examination occasionally, I can give myself a little performance review. How am I doing? How do I feel about it? Am I balancing out all the moving parts in my life?
When I take the time to mindfully consider these things, I can use the moment as a checkpoint to make sure I am living in line with what I value, just like when a sailor makes a course correction to stay on the desired path.
Here are some inspirational quotes that help me when I need an anchor to believe in myself:
“I did not want my tombstone to read, ‘She kept a really clean house.’ I think I’d like them to remember me by saying, ‘She opened government to everyone.'” ~ Ann Richards
“My mission is to create a world where we can live in harmony with nature.” ~ Jane Goodall
“We are not in a position in which we have nothing to work with. We already have capacities, talents, direction, missions, callings.” ~ Abraham H. Maslow
“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values, and follow my own moral compass, then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” ~ Michelle Obama