This past week on The Happiness Project blog, Gretchen Rubin posted her daily “minimum to-do list.”
It’s her list of things that anyone can do every day, so that at the end of the day even if you accomplished nothing else, you’ll know you at least did something, such as:
Make the bed
Eat a fruit or vegetable
Go for a ten-minute walk
Put your keys away in the same place
Touch everyone in your house with affection
I think Gretchen is on to something here, especially if you are seeking at the New Year to integrate your spirituality more fully into your daily life.
Notice that the list is not made up of negatives (I didn’t eat a box of cookies; I didn’t call my boss a rat bastard, at least not to his face). It may seem insignificant, but I find it is far more rewarding to do something than not to do it, so when making affirmations or doing spellwork—or creating a minimum to-do list—I try to keep my language positive.
Try making a list like this for yourself. What are the little things you can do every day to enrich your life without disrupting it? As I’ve said before, if your spiritual practice distracts too much from your routine, you are more likely to give it up in frustration when you realize there simply isn’t time to work, eat, sleep, play with the dog, read, pee, and spend two hours in lotus position surrounding yourself with Divine light every single day.
I think my list would, at the moment, look like this:
Make the bed
Eat a piece of fruit (I already eat plenty of vegetables)
Say something nice about someone (without snark)
Write in my Gratitude Journal
Take my supplements
Put something away
Pause at my altar
Normally I try and have a longer meditation or devotional ritual of some sort at least four or five times a week, but I usually manage to at least stop, light my central candle (and incense if I am home long enough to let it burn), and offer up a brief prayer every day. If I can sit down, so much the better.
Another worthy everyday practice is to greet the first living thing you see upon leaving your house, whether that’s a person, bird, tree, or whatever. Say good morning, offer a blessing, or just nod and smile. It starts you off on the right foot with the rest of the world, and can help you look up from your navel and notice what’s going on in Nature as you’re charging ahead with your day.