As so many of us resolve what we will do this year, some of us at Echoing Green have challenged ourselves to create something we’ve heard a few people talking about—our not to do lists. Now, this isn’t an invitation to simply flip your resolutions, to say “I will not drink too much soda” instead of “I will drink less soda or more healthy beverages.” So what are we talking about here? That’s where it gets interesting. Because each of us interpreted it differently.
For me, creating a not-to-do list means identifying old patterns and messages, the myriad of ways in which we trip over our own feet, and doing the hard work to unpack those patterns to cut out that which doesn’t serve us. What if those of us with a history of not believing in ourselves stopped telling ourselves that we aren’t good enough to pull off our passion project? Or if those of us who have a habit of going straight home after work tried going to an uncomfortable but potentially exciting gathering? How might focusing on our not-do-do’s affect the items on our to-do list?
A co-worker interpreted a not-to-do list as the list of all of the things we will choose not to do in order to create space for cultivating our purpose. That may mean disengaging from a particular unhealthy or draining relationship. It may look like turning down a freelance job we don’t financially need if it won’t take us where we want to go in our lives. It may even mean shocking a boss by turning down a promotion that feels wrong inside. The trick, she said, is actively using the open time and space to forward your purpose. “Saying ‘yes’ to what you want,” she explained, “means saying ‘no’ to other things, and we need to be smart about both sides of that coin to get where we want to go.”
Another kind of not-to-do resolution is simply carving out the time to…well, not. Not work. Not talk. Not watch TV. And instead simply be for a little while. For the Echoing Green staff here in New York City, this feels especially crazy. And especially necessary.
Do you have another interpretation? If so, we would love to hear it! We would also love for you to share your "nots” and "unresolutions" with us in the comments below, on Facebook, and on Twitter using the hashtag #unresolution.
Happy new year, everyone. We look forward to hearing what you do (and don’t do) this year!
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