Using Your To-Do List As a Spiritual Practice

I have had an active mindfulness practice for several years now.  When I wash dishes or fold clothes, I am doing a moving meditation.  Focusing on my breathing and body while performing these mundane tasks adds another dimension to the activity while also keeping me grounded.

As an adult I have really struggled at times with domestication.  I fought with the tedious and repetitive tasks that were never finished, and felt that they were distractions from the things that were really important to me.

A bridge between the higher and lower, the grind of the material realm can feel to me like a root canal.  What others perceive as easy-peezy, I often find to be grueling and hideous; on the other hand what many would consider to be super-natural, I consider a day in the life.

Keeping the physical world intact while I surf the waves of higher dimensions is not always easy for me.  Yet, living out my life of responsibilities, roles, errands, and work has been a platform for personal growth.

And as a result of my daily mindfulness practice I have experienced a miraculous change.

I use the word miraculous with strict intent for I have discovered that the daily tasks and chores in my life can indeed be catalysts to enter into a holy flow.  This is a state of existence I also experience as at-one-ment.

The Act or Process of Being At-One

There is a subtle yet distinct difference between practicing the presence, being centered in the now, and experiencing the state of atonement.

You can be centered, grounded, and connected—and not be at-one.

All of this, in my experience, is necessary to experience at-one-ment—however it does not guarantee that you will enter that state.  At-one-ment is a state of grace.

Religious notions aside, atonement is a word inspired by the Latin word adunamentum meaning at one and in harmony.  The middle-English version of the word was onement meaning unity.

Thus I perceive the state of at-one-ment as a holy flow where there is no separation between yourself, the Divine, and the action you are undertaking.  It is the divine flow actualized, not just perceived.

The Integration of Two Worlds

We are accustomed to the idea of separation—the division of all things that appear different than one another. This begins here, and stops there; this is good and that is bad.  Duality is a state of being separated.  And separation is a root of suffering.

Yet duality is gone when separation ends.

In this way, the state of at-one-ment can be viewed as the reconciliation between the spiritual and physical.  Here, something radical begins to emerge as the two opposites fuse and transmute into neutrality.

As it turns out, life is a physical experience being had by spiritual-beings.  I have experienced that merging these two realities allows me to live in both worlds at once, as intended.

Fodder for the Fire

My struggle with mundane tasks and domestication has been a source of angst for me most of my adult life as I would rather be off bending spoons, studying the latest holistic cure, or reading and writing about science and spirituality.

I would check out of my real life when faced with a laundry list of standard to-do’s.  Physically exerting myself while detached from my reality, I would become tragically drained, frustrated, and desperate as I struggled along using all of my might to accomplish the tasks.

A sense of doom would come over me at times, as I felt that the maintenance of physical life was a never ending and exhausting ordeal.

In order to bring some awareness into the vicious cycle, I began practicing mindfulness as an active spiritual practice.  As often as I loaded the dishwasher or cleaned up toddler toys I would practice a combination of yoga-like breathing techniques, awareness, intent and focus.

A couple of years into this daily practice while going about daily tasks, I had a divine breakthrough.  I entered an altered state of consciousness and felt divine intelligence coursing through my experience.  I was in the zone, so present and unified with the divine flow that I was at one with every action I took.

This meant that I was not pondering what to do, when to do something or how to do something, nor was I dreading doing something or prematurely taking actions thru some manipulated thought process. I was not two steps behind or one step ahead, rather I was absolutely perfectly aligned with mind, body, spirit, breath, and action.  This ease felt like heaven and brought a simple joy and equality to all actions.

In this state I could see that there was no separation between the groceries that I was buying, the article that sat on my desk to be completed, or the spiritual convention I would soon be attending.  Although my ego had been dividing these tasks according to preference, the reality was that they were equal necessities forming the whole of my life.  I could see the interconnectedness of everything, making each task at an energetic level the same.

My to-do list actually became a catalyst for entering the magical state of at-one-ment.

While functioning at-one, you are:

->No longer subject to the clock and have experiences of stretching time

->Experiencing equal joy during all activities

->Grounded, sharp and feel in sync with the Universe

->Animated by a higher Intelligence which actively guides you to the next action

->In the zone, moving and shifting before the signal to do so is even given

->Not two steps behind, or one step ahead

->Functioning at an extremely high level with little to no stress, chaos or overwhelm

->Energized and strengthened by the act of doing as you summon exactly what is needed

->Accomplishing far more than what would normally seem possible

->In the space of miracles, enjoying divine flow and powered by grace.

Maintaining such a state of grace requires mastery, focus and an element of surrender to the task at hand.  In my experience, as soon I become cognizant that I am at-one my mind takes over relishing the experience, and I lose it.  Having these experiences, however, has been life-changing as it has reconciled the separation in my life that caused suffering.

Adding Awareness to Your To-Do List

Simple daily activities are a great place to begin a mindfulness practice.  Whatever the task, bring all of yourself to it.  When present, you may find that the work is no longer a burden.

Be fully alert as you move.  Notice your body and practice your breath, while paying attention when thoughts enter your mind that take you away from your focus.  As this occurs (and of course it will) simply drop the thoughts and redirect the focus back to the task and your breath.  If you are cleaning the house, treat every movement as if it is important and clean as if it were the most significant thing you could do.  Move with fluid motions, as if you are in yoga or dance class, wasting no energy.

There is a Zen saying, “Before enlightenment chop wood carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood carry water.”  In a world where it is hip to be “spiritual” and a great deal of energy is put into the process of seeking, it can be refreshing to realize that every moment of our existence, and every item on our to-do list, is a catalyst for moving into alignment with the beat of the divine.

At-one-ment:  not something that happened once on a spiritual alter somewhere; a state of grace that fuses the physical and spiritual realms through you.  If you think about it, this changes everything.


From Hero to Zero–Transcending Dualistic Self-Worth Syndrome

Lately I have been thinking about the topic of self-worth.  The question that comes up for me is—am I worthy and able to do this work in the world even though I am flawed?

Self-sabotaging thoughts fly to the surface, ready to convince me that I need to be completely healed, totally satisfied with my physical image, and living a one-hundred-percent sustainable and natural life myself in order to be justified in helping others work toward the same.

But are these really the things that make up my value as a person, professional, healer, holistic educator and health coach?

How May I Serve?

Many things influence my perspective of how I am doing in the realms of health, wellness, appearance and lifestyle.  My perception constantly fluctuates based on the day I am having, the way I am eating, how I am treating my body, the people I am hanging around with or how I am spending my precious time.

If I am working my tools—doing yoga, eating clean, practicing extreme self-care, getting my recycling out of the door, and surrounding myself with a community of like-minded people who appreciate and remind me of my gifts—I feel healthy, inspired, connected, and worthy of helping another claim these things for themselves.

On the contrary, during the course of a bad day when the very basics of daily life are a real challenge—I feel unworthy.  My mind, filled with images of modern-day-twenty-first-century delusions of perfection, tells me that I am not enough and that I cannot possibly function in the world as an effective guide for others.

Is this true?  Or is this what happens when I am ungrounded, allowing my thoughts and feelings to bounce me around from moment to moment and day to day?

Dualistic Self-Worth Syndrome

Maybe you suffer from dualistic self-worth syndrome too?  Fluctuating between an inflated sense of self and a deflated sense of self based on the circumstances of your life.  Are you good enough if you are making it to the gym every day and dropping digits on the scale, and not enough if you ate carbs yesterday?

Due to the overwhelming pressure on all of us to be “perfect” today—nearly everyone experiences this to some degree or another.  Keeping in mind these three things, however, really helps me keep things in perspective:

=> There is no greater illusion than the ideal of Perfection promoted within our society.

=> Our essence (the real value of our being) is unchanged by such impermanent circumstances and comes from a deeper place.

=> This unique-Being-ness is our offering to each other and the world.

Sifting through the Madness

If I allowed myself to be dictated to by this modern-day-ego-illness then I wouldn’t get much done in the world or experience the joy of serving.  It would mean that one day I am an inspired, highly trained practitioner who understands the self-healing process from the inside-out, and the next day I am too flawed to engage another on topics related to wellness.  This is mental-madness.

Transcending the Ego’s Negative Self-Talk

When I become aware that I am being jerked around by the highs and lows of life and begin to self-sabotage by identifying with the low vibrational thoughts and beliefs that tell me that I am not enough, I stop and remind myself:  I am not my thoughts and my thoughts are not me.  My mental whims do not dictate who I am or what I am capable of doing.  I am unmoved by these things.

So, how does Dualistic Self-Worth Syndrome show up in your world?

This week when you notice that one minute you are a hero and the next minute you are at zero, stop and remind yourself—that you are neither.  You are more.