As a society, we are doing more, trying to accomplish more, and attempting to fit more and more into each day to juggle the demands of daily life.
Recently many of my Reiki I students, who have been mainly women, invariably discuss a common theme; they almost all convey the sentiment, “I have no time.” The students worry about the length of their to-do lists and describe how they enter a whirling spiral of writing items on their lists, checking items off, and rewriting their lists. Most of them told me that they eventually stared at their lists so paralyzed by discouragement that they were unable to focus on action and accomplishment. This is a common and stressful problem.
One of my students sat slumped in her chair with defeat written on her face and body as she described her frustration. I shared with her that I too had traveled a similar path. I formerly had felt as overwhelmed by my to-do lists as she was feeling until I discovered a solution.
Just for today…
I had been reviewing the Reiki Principles when the words “Just for today” leaped out at me. “Why not?” I thought. “Why not just for today, do one thing? Would it work?” I promised myself I would try doing one thing and evaluate the results.
I shared my experience with the student who looked skeptical. I pointed out that the main thought behind the Reiki Principles was Just for Today, and doing one focused thing a day, and doing it well and thoroughly, had worked for me.
I asked her to turn to the Reiki Principles in her workbook and read them aloud to me. After she read them, she was silent. Suddenly her back straightened, and she smiled. “I see,” she said, “that if I selected one thing to do for today, and wrote that one thing down on a piece of paper it might make my life easier.”
With all of the subsequent women who brought up the subject of no time, I shared my personal experience, asked them to read aloud the Reiki Principles, and waited for their response. The next step was to ask how doing one thing just for today might impact each Reiki Principle. “How would doing one thing just for today relate to this principle?” I would inquire.
Just for today do not anger
“If I focused on accomplishing one thing, I could pat myself on the back for a job well done.”
“I would feel balanced. I could relinquish the frustration of being unable to complete my to-do list.”
“It would free up the energy that I invested in having to make multiple lists.”
“My feelings of inadequacy and guilt at not being able to complete the items on my list would disappear, and the anger I used to feel would no longer be present. It seems a good way to manage anger.”
Just for today do not worry
“I would not worry. I would do my one thing and release the energy that used to be invested in my to-do list.”
“I bet that without carrying the burden of worry and the energy it entails I would have time to do several things a day.”
“If I choose not to worry about my lists, eventually there will be no worry.”
Just for today honor your parents, teachers, and elders
Applying doing just one thing for today to this principle was more difficult. The students, however, thought of several ideas.
“Perhaps by doing just one thing a day I would have more time to honor my parents, teachers, and elders.”
“If there were something I needed to do for my parents, teachers, or elders, I could choose that as my one thing to do. I would be honoring the Reiki Principles, as well as honoring my new principle.”
Just for today earn your living honestly
“I do not have a job, but I think that doing one thing a day would be earning my living honestly.”
“I would find enjoyment and satisfaction with whatever I do, be it reading, cooking, holding a regular job, or taking care of my children.”
“I would have a greater perspective about any work I undertake; I would be contributing to a community of my choice.”
“I would not be tempted to cut corners and be less than honest in my dealings with people and on my job if I concentrated on doing just one thing for today.”
“I constantly feel frazzled and stressed with a long list of to-do items hanging over my head. I, therefore, frequently compromise my ideals. I believe this wouldn’t happen if I adhered to doing just one thing a day.”
Just for today show gratitude to every living thing
“I try to begin each day by showing gratitude for the good in my life. So many “musts” and “shoulds” erode any feelings of gratitude.”
“I want to show gratitude to all living things, but when I don’t even have time to complete my to-do list I feel guilty at not living up to my standards.”
“Doing one thing would give me give me the time and energy to spend a few minutes throughout the day to express my gratitude.”
“I would be grateful for this new way of looking at my lists, which is part of the greater aspect of feeling grateful for every living thing.”
I always asked each student to give me feedback on how they were progressing with doing one thing a day and their new perspective of the Reiki Principles.
Without fail, they reported that accomplishing one thing just for today made their lives easier. It eliminated the constant self-talk that occupied their minds as to what they should do and where they would find the time.
They told me that the feelings of guilt and anxiousness that they had carried with them for so long slowly disappeared and in their place came feelings of peace and balance and a new self-imagine of someone who was able to live up to her ideals and goals on a daily basis.
“I discovered that trying to do everything wasn’t the answer.”
“When I focused on doing one thing well, everything else proceeded smoothly.”
“I resolved to move beyond my need to complete everything on my to-do list. Then life flowed like a river.”
“I was surprised; many of the items either took care of themselves or just assumed a low priority.”
“Everyone that knows me is amazed at the change in me.”
“My family, friends, and colleagues tell me I am a new person, that I am calmer, more joyful, and peaceful.”
“Everything and everyone has changed, but I am the one who changed.”
As time passed, each realized that she was not a failure, but a great success; she was a success at accomplishing at least one thing each day and a success at harmonizing her life with a daily, intimate relationship with the Reiki Principles. My reward was to watch these women transform their lives and regain long-lost confidence, a confidence that they had despaired of ever having again. And it was brought back with the help of the Reiki Principles.