“I keep thinking that if I can just get everything done, I can sit down and rest.”

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“I keep thinking that if I can just get everything done, I can sit down and rest.”

This thought is not new—or unique—to me. I can’t count the number of times I said this, or heard it said.

Twenty years ago I was looking at the farm property that would become my home—58 acres, a space to clear to build a house, outbuildings, room for horses and dogs and wildlife. It occurred to me—maybe for the first time—that my dreams for this property would never be one of those “If I can just get everything done, I can rest” projects. My dreams wouldn’t even be realized in my lifetime.

But the house I was building, now that was something that could be finished, could be done, could be wrapped up. And then I could rest, because everything would be done.

I believed that. I really did.

And it wasn’t true. Houses never get finished. There is always something more to do. It has to be maintained and repaired and tended and cared for like a living thing. Like most everything else in this world, houses are never ever truly finished.

Neither are to-do lists. Or work assignments. Or anything else in this life.

So what to do?

  • First, get used to it. You’re never going to be able to finish everything. Life goes a lot more smoothly when you stop fighting this piece of reality.
  • Second, settle into the present. Relax and breathe. (Be here now, as the mantra goes.)
  • Third, practice leaving things undone. It might be tough at first, but it gets easier.

Stop and rest before you finish everything. It’s very rewarding.


Think about the most recent time you’ve felt exhausted from doing too much. Can you imagine interrupting your work with a bit of time for rest? What might that feel like? Is this something you’re curious enough to try out, to practice and see what might happen?

Posted in inspiration on 04/29/2016 08:44 am

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