Heart Opening Moments

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Things You Don’t Have to Do by Peter Bolland

Wrong way!?! You don't have to go this way...

I know you’re busy. Everybody’s busy. We are being crushed by our to-do lists. Maybe I can help. Here’s a whole list of things you don’t have to do.

You don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to right every wrong, heal every wound and bridge every gap between what is and what should be. You don’t have to fix all of the broken things.
You don’t have to understand everything. You don’t have to figure everything out. You don’t have to force the uncarved whole into tiny conceptual boxes.

You also don’t have to explain yourself. You don’t have to reduce the mystery of whom and what you are to a category, a type, a box checked on a government form. You don’t have to force your boundless nature into a mold someone else made.
You are not defined by your race, your gender, your ethnicity, your national origin, your political affiliation, your sexual orientation, your ideology, your body, your strengths, your weaknesses or your endless lists of opinions, preferences and aversions. What you really are lies beyond all of those layers of window dressing.

You don’t have to worry about the future. You don’t have to waste one more iota of energy carefully imagining every possible negative outcome and then struggle to avoid those imagined outcomes with tools forged from your own cleverness. You don’t have to bear the burden of every conceivable what-if and yeah-but. You can put them down. As the old Zen saying goes, “How refreshing, the whinny of a pack horse unburdened of everything.”

You don’t have to be someone you’re not. You don’t have to compare yourself to everyone you meet, measuring their best qualities against your worst. You don’t have to violate your own nature in a vain attempt to emulate someone else’s.

You don’t have to match anyone else’s timeline. You don’t have to march alongside anyone or anything else. You don’t have to force the natural flow of events and seasons into the rows and columns of anyone’s timetable spreadsheet, including your own.

You don’t have to believe your harshest self-assessment. You don’t have to believe your own definitions of failure. You might be wrong.

You don’t have to be afraid. You don’t have to assume that the universe is a dangerous, hostile place. You don’t have to believe the worst about other people.

You don’t have to buy the next newest thing. You don’t have to want what corporations, marketing departments and salesmen tell you to want.

You don’t have to obey every craving. You don’t have to believe that happiness only comes later, after every need’s been met.

You don’t have to keep running away. You don’t have to keep avoiding the simple truths that are trying to catch up to you. Slow down. They will find you.

You don’t have to be deaf to that still, soft, inner voice. You don’t have to stay so busy, so distracted, so overwhelmed that you remain forever knocked off balance. You don’t have to allow the noise of your busyness to drown out the quiet truths arising in the stillness at your center.

You don’t have to manage everything. You don’t have to scrutinize, assess and manipulate every piece of the puzzle. You don’t have to write the master plan.

You don’t have to keep eating when you’re full. You don’t have to believe the lie that it’s never enough.

You don’t have to get drunk or high. You don’t have to repeat forever habits you picked up when you were young and scared. You don’t have to obey your fear.

You don’t have to shut down when you feel your feelings arise. You don’t have to push away what you cannot control. You don’t have to make your heart an empty, hostile place full of shadows, open wounds, self-doubt and endless hunger.

You don’t have to be lonely. You don’t have to hide. You don’t have to feel unsafe outside the four walls of your cage.

You don’t have to be unhappy.

You don’t have to struggle against change and strain to hold on to things that are trying to fade away.

You don’t have to have an opinion about everything. You don’t have to mistake your own fleeting judgments for truths.

You don’t have to have a perfect family, whatever that is. You don’t have to feel deep, warm and vibrant connections with all of your relatives, or feel guilty and ashamed if you don’t. You don’t have to force your family to conform to a fictional, idealized fantasy.

You don’t have to eliminate all anger and pain from your life. You don’t have to iron out every crease, soak out every stain or chase away every confusion. In the waves of life, you don’t have to define every peak as a success and every trough as a failure.

You don’t have to agree with anyone else’s ideology. You don’t have to accept anyone else’s definition of God, no matter how earnest their pronouncements, no matter how ancient and hallowed their tradition. You don’t have to abandon your own deeply held inner convictions because they conflict with a mass movement or popular theology.

You don’t have to belong to any groups because they’re said to be important. You don’t have to blindly ascribe to any nationalisms, especially if they draw their strength from a sense of exceptionalism or superiority. Empires come and go. Humanity knows nothing of empires. Plant your flag in something that lasts.

Life is short. Don’t waste these precious hours, days, weeks, months and years on things that don’t matter. Do the work that has been given to you to do. Find a way to let go of your fears and live the life your soul is asking for. Let what is trying to emerge through you emerge. Become a part of something larger than yourself. Your bliss depends on it. Shed your limited and limiting definition of yourself. Pledge that you will no longer cling to ways of living that do not serve your highest good. Promise yourself that you will stop waiting for the right time. Now is the right time. There is so much we have yet to do. Each of us has our small part to play. Drop everything that doesn’t matter. Don’t waste another second doing things you don’t have to do.

(This is one of Peter Bolland’s post that moved me to tears. Thought I would share. http://peterbolland.blogspot.com/2011/02/things-you-dont-have-to-do.html)

August 11, 2011 - Posted by | Choices, Emotional Freedom | , , , , ,


  1. Dear Flo,

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I really needed to hear this this morning. What a timely post and a great message.

    In gratitude for a day where I don’t have to be everything to everyone, and where I don’t have to do everything, I can just be for a moment.

    Comment by Sailesh | August 15, 2011 | Reply

    • Hello Sailesh, rest in this moment. Be well my friend. My heart is with you.

      Comment by Flo Li | August 15, 2011 | Reply

  2. Flo, how did you test go by the way?

    Comment by Andrew | August 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for asking Andrew. The kyu test went well. I was nearly in tears when I passed. Didn’t think I would make it this far. The path goes on! Cheers!

      Comment by Flo Li | August 17, 2011 | Reply

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