By Leo Babauta
Many of you are doing the Do What You Love Daily Challenge, and if all is going well, you’re doing what you love … daily! Or at least, on most days.
And that’s amazing. What I’d like to share are some thoughts on how doing what you love can actually transform you.
Why do you need it to transform you? Why not just enjoy doing what you love? Well, actually, just doing what you love is enough … but if you’re just going through the motions, it’ll be “more of the same” and won’t necessarily do much for your life. Let’s find ways to make this challenge more than worthwhile!
Here are my thoughts:
- Be fully present with the activity you love. It’s not enough to just do the activity, going through the motions. Try to be fully in the space of the activity, no matter what it is. If you’re writing with a pen and paper, really feel the pen and paper, really feel the quiet space you’ve entered, really feel the movement of your hand as you write. Being “fully present” is a hard-to-define target, and no one expects you to be perfect at it (whatever that means) … it’s about trying to be present as much as you can, not beating yourself up if you’re not. This requires an opening of the mind to what’s in front of you, instead of all the other things you have to do later. Being present allows the activity to change you, instead of barely registering on your radar.
- Savor the deliciousness of the activity. Every activity you’ve chosen to do this month has a wonderfully delicious quality to it. Maybe it’s the soft soil in your fingers as you garden, the smell of flowers as you take your daily walk, the lovely feeling of exertion as you do your pushups or yoga vinyasas. Whatever the deliciousness you can find, savor it, as if it’s your last bite of chocolate, your only sip of nectar for the day. Just this is enough, you can skip the rest of the article if you’re doing this!
- Let yourself stay in the difficulty if you feel it. If you end up not liking the activity you thought you’d love, you might feel resistance, disappointment, resentment, dislike, wanting to get away from it. That’s OK! Just stay with that difficulty, being fully present with it. This is actually transformative, staying with the resistance, resentment, disappointment. It will help you start to change your patterns around things you feel an aversion to. It’s amazing practice, stay with it for as long as you can!
- Let the play spill into the rest of your life. Think of doing the activity you love as a training ground for everything else in your life. It’s a place to play, be free, be in love, explore, be curious, dance, let loose, be present, find gratitude, and savor. Practice those beautiful things during this activity. Then carry these skills, qualities, capacities into other areas of your day. Can you savor and be present as you spend time with loved ones? Can you be free and let loose and dance on your commute or in your workout? Can you play in your meetings or in your focus sessions? Can you be curious and explore and you meet a new person?
These are just some ideas to play with, not something you have to rigidly stick to. Try them out, experiment, explore!