Set Goals, but don’t let Goals set You

Today was a tough one for me. Dear God, yes it was. And as I look back at my day from my current position in time being 10:32 pm, I have had to ask myself: “why in the hell was this day so hard for me? What did I do to create 4 fights with my wife, make my daughter cry, get myself depressed, overeat, and get so very little accomplished?”

The answer is obvious, and you should know so you may not make the same mistake as often as you may be making it already.

I woke up this morning feeling optimistic and enthused. Only, there was something very wrong. I was filled with a strict agenda, tyranical goals, a schedule, and plans. Recipe for disaster let me tell you.

The thing is, I love schedules and plans and goals and agendas. I actually think they are quite fun. It’s just when they are so strictly enforced and adhered to at the exclusion of the allowance of Life to flow, that they become monsters.

I was so head-bent on accomplishing this goal to work in my various garden jobs for 6 hours a day, that I rushed through my morning meditation, and completely skipped my morning blog-post – which is the activity that feeds me in a major way these days. I skipped right over the human-ness part of my day and went right for the marine corps -style-objective-final-goal. Result – frustration, misery, anger, depression.

At my first job after ignoring my human soul which was aching to express itself and receive guidance and inspiration from the daily blog post, I noticed that I was getting frustrated with the weeds for being in the way. I got frustrated with my puppy dog Charlie and threw him (not hard, but not nice). In fact I was frustrated with just about everything about everything.  I noticed that I just wanted to sit down and write, maybe write my blog post for the day,  and get my mind clear, maybe take a walk — but NO! I had to stay on schedule and accomplish my self-imposed hour quota.

After forcing myself through that job, I went home for lunch and got in a fight with my wife and made my daughter cry. Not cool. All because I was so stressed out to accomplish things I really didn’t want to be doing in the first place. The afternoon job involved digging a loooooooong ditch in the hot afternoon California sun. Also, not cool. Literally.

I got so upset doing this that I dropped the job after a couple of hours, failing at my goal, and feeling guilty and miserable. I went home and again fought with my family, after mack-ing down some ice-cream and coconut sweet bars.

Finally it all got so utterly ridiculous that I just had to laugh. I appologized profusely to my wife and daughter and just gave let the whole control obsession with forcing things to happen dissolve. A window opened up for me to use the family MacBook, and vwallah! Here I am FINALLY doing what I could have done earlier in the day which may have given me that dose of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that I was craving… even more than ice-cream.

You see, there’s nothing wrong with getting things done. I love my new-found friend the Google Calendar. I love color-coding all the important things I’m going to do this week, and the next, and the next. I love doing my best, and giving my all to accomplish something, but I have to realize that I’m not a damn robot. I have an inner urge to write, to blog, to reach out to others and spread the good news of taking life to the next step of evolution and fulfillment, so ignoring that creates a lack and a bitterness in everything else I do in the day.

Same thing with my morning routine. If I skip meditation time, or rush through it (like I did today) it leaves that same bitterness.

So the message of this blog post is simple. Loosen up. Set goals but don’t let goals set you. Whether it’s writing or playing music, or yoga, or Brazilian JuJitsu, fill yourself first with the things that fill you with joy and purpose and aliveness. Then fulfilling tasks and to-do lists and goals and schedules will be more meaningful and effective.

If I am performing a task or a project with that bitterness and disdain, what good is it doing anybody? I mean really? What’s the point of grinding away with remorse and an unfilfilled desire to be doing something else which probably will be contributing in a more significant way to the world anyway. Even if that other thing doesn’t seem so significant, at least it’s going to be done with love and happiness.

I appreciate your time. Comments are invited and even requested because it helps me hone my style and get clearer at the way I express things. Please contact me with any questions or comments in the comment section below.

I enjoy setting goals while remembering that they are not allowed to set me.
My human-ness and soul stirrings are more important that my ego’s strict agenda.
Goals are an expression of the wholeness and fulfillment that I already am.

Namaste in the Wu Wei…

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About Kapila
I blog mainly from my Yurt in Northern California. No I don't grow pot, but my run-in with the Federalies in '09 for doing just that has sparked a fire in me to write about living a life that TRULY MATTERS. It is my intention to further inspire myself and others to abandon the normal robot-drone living model and adopt an passionate Taoist life of ever-expanding freedom.

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