“Done” Is a Four-Letter Word

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” – Louis L’Amour

Done(Like that quote and that image? They are from my new book, A Year of Daily Calm, which is now shipping from Amazon! If you buy a copy there and would like to have it signed, email me your address and I will write you an inscription on a pretty sticker and send it to you. I just got a new batch of stickers in—yay, stickers!)

I love crossing things off a to-do list as much as the next person. Maybe more. The day we finish a bottle of shampoo—really finish it, as in you can’t get one more drop out—feels like victory.

And yet, there’s something really tricky about wanting to be done with something. Whether it’s a shampoo bottle, a job search or an outdated mindset that you’re trying to re-write, it’s all too tempting to not allow yourself to enjoy anything about the process until it’s in your rearview mirror.

I’m talking about thoughts like, Shouldn’t I be farther along now? What’s wrong with me that this isn’t over yet? ARE WE THERE YET?!

Listen, I’m talking about this because this is my zone. I have spent years feeling like I really need to be two steps ahead from where I am. So I know about the things that are likely just underneath the surface:

  • Maybe you get resentful that you’re still having to work toward your goals. Or maybe you start doubting that you’re going about things the right way. What’s at the root is really fear—fear that if something doesn’t happen in the time that you’ve decided it should, it either won’t happen, or will happen badly. Sometimes getting really irritated is a great catalyst for finally doing things differently. But most of the time, that frustrated energy only stymies your flow.
  • Forgetting your worth. It also suggests that you’re looking to your accomplishments to loan you a sense of value. Which is silly, really, as you’ve been valuable since the day you were born, when all you could produce was a dirty diaper. =)

In actuality, you are never done.

Well, I guess when you’re dead, you’re done, but who’s to say for sure? Maybe we just come back and start all over. Maybe we become angels and help others do their work. Regardless, so long as you’re breathing, you will always have new insights to reveal, projects to be tackled, learning to be done, enlightenment to be gained. You could take this as a bummer—you mean I never get to just rest? Or you could take the view that this means that there is always more available—more love, more freedom, more ease, more enlightenment. I know which view I want to take!

If you can never be done, what does that make possible in your life, right now? What ideas can you entertain? What can you allow yourself to enjoy that right now only feels like an obstacle to being “done”? What opportunities become available?

Wishing you some good quiet time to ponder all the things that are going well, despite their incompleteness.


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