Maxim Monday: Do what you mean to do

Intention. Do what you mean to do. Do what you say you will do. Follow through.

These phrases are what come to mind with today’s maxim. Along with the aphorism: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But see, words and desires not followed through on were never really intentional. They were empty words, half-considered actions.

This maxim asks us to do several things. First, we have to decide what it is we want to do. What is it we mean to do? What is the outcome I’m hoping for, or the action I’m trying to perform? Then, we need to mean it. We need to sincerely want to accomplish that action and do the things necessary to make it happen. Finally, we have to Do. We have to follow through and do what we mean to do.

Sometimes, what we mean to do is not what ends up happening once we are mid-action. Or the results are entirely different. I think that’s ok, because with this maxim it is only asking that we intentionally choose what we want to do and then do it. We cannot be responsible for every outcome, although in some cases that is easier to do.

On a bigger scale, I think about this maxim and larger intentions, like loving my husband, educating my children, cultivating my health, growing in my spiritual practice. Those are things I want to do. How can I do those things?

For some one who is usually caught up in a struggle between Doing and Being, I don’t find this maxim triggering at all. In fact, I find it rather soothing. I don’t have to Do everything, only the things I mean to do. Those bigger intentions listed above are not things that happen once or are accomplished in a weekend. They occur over long periods of time, maintained with regular effort. I do not have Do it All in one sitting. No, I just work on what I mean to do, steadily and intentionally.

Today I am feeling rather overwhelmed with the huge lists I’ve made – lists of bills to pay, holiday preparations (both for this week’s Thanksgiving and for the upcoming Yule/Pancha Ganapati/Christmas cluster), and other responsibilities. Today I’m picking a handful of tasks and I will do them. I want to actually accomplish a few things and strike a few things off my list, so I want to be realistic in what and how many tasks I choose. Then I have to follow through, which might mean less tea and internet time. I want to do what I mean to do.

What do you mean to do today?

About Niki Whiting

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