I’m writing this on a Monday. I allowed myself a Sunday away from all work. I have decided to keep true to that practice. For my own well-being, I realize I must set that intention and hold to it. My type of work is not a schedule set in stone. I decide my own time for clients, writing, speaking or teaching. Sounds like freedom, doesn’t it? It is, indeed. However, I have found out another side to that kind of freedom: I am harder on myself than any boss for whom I ever worked. When the office doesn’t close at a specific time at the end of a day or close due to a National Holiday, I don’t feel permission to break from work. What I call “The Taskmaster” in my own mind keeps prodding me, reminding me of all that still needs doing, amplifying the importance of its being done RIGHT NOW. It chastises me subtly, but determinedly, for taking any time to breathe and rest. A really frustrating thing about the Taskmaster is that no matter how much I accomplish, it constantly creates more to do. Therefore, the list is eternal and never-ending. The Taskmaster has no mercy and living by its dictates is a form of slavery.
The Taskmaster is my own creation. No one outside myself is constantly over my shoulder checking off a list and telling me I’m falling behind or that I will never get it all done. If someone outside myself does ask for something from me, they ask it only once (well, maybe twice). The Taskmaster of my mind, however, is relentless. A brilliant teacher and author, Marianne Williamson, once wrote about people in our lives who may have pushed, criticized or been mean to us, “They may have been mean, but they were nothing compared to what we do to ourselves. We are vicious.”
The biggest deterrent to our inner peace is fear. And the Taskmaster in our own mind is the perpetrator of that fear. It chatters incessantly. It tells us we’ll never get it all done. It tells us we’re falling behind. It tells us we aren’t trying hard enough, that we’re lazy, we’re incapable, we’re unorganized, we’re distracted. To sum it all up, it constantly tells us this……….. we’re not good enough.
I can become entranced – moving with spiritual unconsciousness to my mind’s Taskmaster, obeying every demand and command……….and then………….. my Spirit bolts into my consciousness and says “Wake up!” There was a time in my life (the first 35 years of it) that the only authority I was aware of was my Taskmaster. But then, I learned differently. THANK GOD! I came to understand that I was not born to be a slave to things and duties. I came to understand that my life has meaning AND that the purpose for which I am created unfolds perfectly when I trust a power greater than myself alone is in charge. I learned this power, (which I call God, but the name is not of importance), is ALWAYS rooting for my success, ALWAYS giving me exactly what I need to live to my full capacity and It NEVER directs me through harshness or criticism. This new understanding is what turned my life around from pain to peace.
But still, I have my times when I fall back into old habits. For me, the day after my decided day off -Monday – is the day when I am most prone to allowing that merciless voice of my imaginary Taskmaster to reappear with vigor. The biggest factor to my falling prey to this imposter voice today was that I did not start my morning with at least 5 -10 minutes of quiet time/meditation. Why did I skip it? Why, of course, you got it!! There was TOO MUCH TO DO TO TAKE TIME FOR THAT! Oh how different a day is when I omit that first practice of being still and turning my day over to the One who is in charge.
A Course In Miracles states that “Five minutes spent with God each morning guarantees that He will be in charge of your thought process throughout the day.” And Its voice sounds and feels completely opposite of the Taskmaster’s voice. Under It’s guidance, I get everything done in exactly the right order, at exactly the right time and in just the right way. Everything falls into place. No matter how busy, when I am aware that I am depending on something wiser and stronger than myself alone, I am at peace. The critical driving voice of my own mind – no matter how much I accomplish – never lets me feel at peace.
So I was reminded – yet again – today, I am not meant to go it alone. I am not designed to be the Master of my own fate. The only way I am master is to make the decision to trust God/Spirit….. or not. That is my free will. Making the decision to intently remind myself by spending a few minutes each day in touch with “the boss”, makes all the difference in the world as to how my day plays out. It is not only more peaceful. It is not only more productive. It is not only easier. Doing so, leaves open the door to receiving miraculous moments I would never see in the dark prison camp where my full attention is on the Taskmaster. So, I assure you, Tuesday will begin differently than Monday began. Thank God!
THE PRAYER: Dear Spirit/God: You know the day that lies ahead for me. Because You are with me every step of the way, I know only goodness – even miracles – await me. I give You any temptation for me to be hard on myself. If I begin to move into harshness, criticism or worry, rush in and remind in Your loving way that You never lead me with that kind of voice. Help me to hear Your voice saying: “You are in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. You have all you need. All is well.” I become still now for a few minues just to be with You. Thank YOU for being with ME – ALL the time. And so it is……… AMEN.