Over the last few weeks, I’ve had this inward urging that’s been telling me to “do the things” – the things that lead to the BIG things. Talk with my coach about my book. Outline my book and make the time to write each day. Refine my brand and who I am in the fitness industry. Redesign my website (and not just use it as a landing page for my blog). Network and connect. Dream and meditate.
These inward urges come with a sense of urgency – and excitement. It’s not a panic or rushed feeling of “I have to get it all done today” but the kind that says, “This needs to be happening now”. It’s my next best step, the one I know will lead me to my next best step and the next. It’s the kind of urge where you want to do “the thing” to see where it goes because it’s tantalizing and inviting and mysterious.
But – and this is a big ole but – it’s also easy in these moments for us to ignore the urges and inner callings. It’s easy to shrug it off until tomorrow because #adulting and what’s one more day? It’s easy to shove the smaller steps aside because we want to be “there” already and if we take bigger steps we can get there quicker, right?
Only the Seed
a Zen parable
Once upon a time a pilgrim set out on a long journey in search of peace, joy and love. The pilgrim walked for many, many miles and much time passed.
Gradually, his lively steps became slower and more labored. As he traveled, he passed through landscapes that were not always happy ones: through war, sickness, quarrels, rejections, separations. It seemed that the more people possessed, the more warlike they became – the more they had to defend, the more they needed to attack each other. Longing for peace, they prepared for war. Longing for love, they surrounded themselves with walls of distrust and barriers of fear. Longing for life, they walked deeper into death.
One morning the pilgrim came to a small cottage on the wayside. Something about this cottage attracted the pilgrim and full of curiosity, the pilgrim went inside. Inside the cottage was a shop and behind the counter stood a shopkeeper.
“What would you like?” asked the shopkeeper.
“What do you stock here?” asked the pilgrim.
“Oh, we have all the things you most long for,” replied the shopkeeper. “Just tell me what you desire.”
The pilgrim hardly knew where to begin. So many desires came rushing into his mind at once.
“I want peace – in my family, in my native land and for all people everywhere….
I want to make something good of my life
I want those who are sick to be well again and those who are lonely to have friends.
I want those who are hungry to have enough to eat.
I want every child that is born to have the chance to be educated.
I want all people everywhere to live in freedom.
I want the world to be a loving place”.
There was a pause as the pilgrim reviewed his list. Gently the shopkeeper broke in, “I’m sorry,” came the quiet reply, “I should have explained. We don’t supply the fruits here, only the seeds”.
Any time we get the inward urge to do something, especially the kind that’s persistent and loud, it’s a sign to take action. That nudge is telling us that it’s time to do “the things”. Now, that doesn’t mean we need to do all the things at once. It’s just a signal from the Universe that now is a good time to get the ball rolling, to find the small things we can do which are the stepping stones to the bigger things.
Inward urges are signs to plant the seeds.
When we fail to listen to our inner guidance we’ll end up feeling stuck or land somewhere we don’t want to be. But, when we listen to the inward urges and take action, we’ll feel more aligned, attuned and begin to watch the path in front of us unfold. The Universe expects you to do something.
Think of it like this…
We all have an inner GPS – the gut feelings and intuitive hits that tell us to do or not do something. The inner urge itself is a directional signal, it’s the actual address you plug into the GPS. But plugging the actual address into the GPS is not enough. Thinking about the things you want to do or feel you should do is not enough. The Universe can’t help you if you’re not in motion and without action, the Universe gets the message that you’re not ready to go yet or that you’re still making up your mind.
When the Universe sends you the impulse and you don’t do anything with it – because #adulting, procrastination, or because you’re waiting for a sign from the Universe or afraid you’ll take the wrong step – it will respond accordingly. While you’re waiting for the Universe, the Universe is waiting for you.
You have to plant the seed now.
Plant the Seed
Much like the pilgrim in the Zen parable, we have a list of the things we want and in the process of wanting, we forget that we have to plant the seeds for what we want to grow.
Want to run a successful blog, with the traffic you’ve always dreamed of, full of articles that make a difference?
Plant the seed now.
Want to have your own business, earning more money than your 9 – 5 job, setting your own hours and training your staff?
Plant the seed now.
Want to achieve your peak physical or mental fitness? Start a family? Own a home? Write a book? Release an album? Invest in a startup?
You have to plant the seed now.
Planting the seed means taking the small steps. Doing the seemingly insignificant things that really propel you to the big things. Planting the seed means learning one new skill, taking the first initiative, and eating the proverbial shit sandwich – because anything real that we want will have one of those too.
What’s Calling You?
Identify the thing you feel compelled to do or act on – or identify an area of your life where you want to create change (i.e. I feel compelled to write my book; I want to improve my physical health and lose 5 lbs; I want to produce an album).
Plant the Seed
List the things you can do in service of your inward urge or goal. Identify the small, daily, achievable tasks that you can do today and every day because Rome wasn’t built overnight either, baby. Brainstorm it. Dream it up. Get out there and get it done.
Planting the seed might be writing for 30 minutes a day. It might mean getting to the gym 5 days a week. Whatever “it” is, make sure it is specific, measurable and that you can do it daily.
Tend to Your Garden
Consistency is key here. If you plant the seeds and don’t water them, it’s doubtful anything will ever grow beyond the topsoil.
Turn your tasks into consistent habits. If writing your book is important to you are you carving out 30 minutes of writing time each day? If improving your health is a number one priority, are you getting in at least 30 minutes of rigorous exercise 5 days a week?
Do your thing every day. Even when you don’t want to. Especially when you don’t want to and when it seems like it isn’t making a difference. Do it when you can’t see the part it plays in the bigger performance because the Universe loves a persistence heart. And remember, you don’t have to do “all the things” or even have a step-by-step plan that’s gonna get you there. Do the one thing that’s going to make a difference today and know that as long as you’re investing in the process of making progress, the Universe will keep guiding and directing you to your highest good.
What do you feel compelled to do? I’d love to hear what you’re up to in the comments below!