During the winter time it is a good time to look at the things in our life that we are spending a lot of effort on, especially, efforts that aren’t yielding much spiritual fruit.
Let’ say you want more compassion in your life, are you spending a lot of your effort on things that don’t actually yield much compassion? You could be occupied and distracted with activities that are neither harmful nor helpful, but you’re spending a lot of effort on them for very little gain.
What if you turned that on its head and found small solutions that yield significant gains in your life?
In my own life, a small shift in how I approached my job created an amazing opportunity. It took the courage to step out on a limb and ask for something different at work. Yet it completely changed my life around.
It started when I began to ask myself, “Wait, what do I really want?”
Living into that question I found what was true for me, which is, 1) I wanted to support my wife as she went through school 2) I wanted to work with people in a very different way that merged both rigorous analysis and personal connection. And as a result of looking at my skills and where I wanted to go, I was ready when the opportunity presented itself. Now, everything has changed for me even though I am in the same group, same boss, same environment…but a small shift in WHAT I do makes most days something to look forward to.
We can rethink our obligations so that we either let them go, or relate to them in a way that is less of a burden and more of a joy
If this resonates with you, take a step back and look at why are you still sticking to that obligation? There is obviously something important for you in there that you want to be doing. Those gems might be buried in a bunch of unnecessary junk.
For example say you have a friendship and you’re putting a lot of time and energy and emotion, but you’re only getting back tiny pieces of love, affection, appreciation, adventure, whatever it is that you really enjoy. It could be that you are actually just a little out of alignment in the relationship.
What if you did something crazy and asked yourself what you want out of your friendship and then told your friend? What if you asked your friend what they enjoy most in your relationship and asked them what they want more of? What if both of you were actually pouring energy into the relationship in a way that has you both feeling like you have the sweeter end of the deal?
Often, our obligations are completely unnecessary. There’s a piece of it that we are sticking to because it’s important to us. It is crucial to figure out that piece! Then the next step is to figure out, “Okay, is there a better way that I could be doing this? Is there a more effective, more natural way that this can be moving in my life?”
As we move into winter, it is an excellent time to ask ourselves these kinds of questions. It is the season of letting go, conserving energy and preparing to be renewed again.