Purpose, Presence, and the Dance

We spend our lives trying to “get things done”, thinking that will make us happy/fulfilled/significant/complete. (Or maybe it's just me that suffers from this illusion. I don't mean to presume.)

I would like to propose that “getting things done” is not the ultimate purpose of our lives…

This morning as I was reading the new edition David Allen's book, Getting Things Done, I was struck by the thought that the things I struggle with today are, at their core, the very same things I struggled with 20 years ago — and also the same things that everyone else struggles with (or so it seems to me). This, I believe, explains the enduring popularity of this book.

But what is it I am really struggling with (or for)?

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”
– Psalm 23:1

For me, this contending with the “very same things” boils down to: what I want to do, what I do not want to do, and whether I have the discipline to transmute those wants into actions. This has not changed for me, despite the apparent absolute difference in my external circumstances (I am 20 years older, have an adult son, don't have a job but rather own a business, etc.)

Once our basic needs (food, shelter, safety) are met, we encounter the desire for purpose (meaning) and presence (having our awareness focused on the here and now) .

Getting the right “things” done, at the right time, in the right order, with the right amounts of tension and relaxation, is the dance of life. I'm at my best when I remember the purpose of life is not the “things”, but rather the dance.

I'm not “getting things done” in order to have enough or be enough; I'm doing things because I have enough, and I am enough.

As the Psalmist writes, “I lack nothing.”

And because I lack nothing, there is no struggle.

What would I do today if I believed “I lack nothing”? What about you?

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.