As a coach, I often ask people “what are the things only you can do?” It’s a question that helps to clarify priorities and encourages us to sort a “to do” list.
It’s easy to acknowledge that only you can look after your body. Only you can visit the dentist, get a haircut, go for a run, eat well, practice yoga, and visit the physio or the doctor. These things we know and we get to them, eventually. Though too often our prompt is a problem – an injury or illness, a period of over indulgence or neglect. The question can clearly draw attention to that which we’re missing. For in our busyness and task-oriented lives, we often put our needs last.
What then of our interior, our inner selves? Here we find a whole other dimension of things that “only you can” do. And it is the view through this lens that is most on my mind as we begin this year.
What “only you can do” can be a call to action, a call to step up and live our lives, fulfil the role we inhabit, and do the hard stuff. For only you can listen to your heart. Only you can cultivate the courage to hear what it wants you to know. Only you know what really matters to you. Only you can practice self-forgiveness and compassion.
As a meditation teacher, I remind students that sitting to meditate is something only you can do. And a regular meditation practice opens us up to discern more clearly our inner guidance. In choosing to do the things that only you can do, what may appear as selfish actions—notice all the negative overlay this word holds for us—actually goes far beyond us as individuals.
Our individual state of being, our energies and behaviours are not isolated; we live in a connected world. As we tend to ourselves – raising our awareness, our consciousness, and being the best we can be – everyone and everything benefits.