I was feeling the weight of multiple client engagements, reports, and presentations on my shoulders. My mind began to race with all the things I had to do before I flew out for a week to Oklahoma City and New Jersey. It felt like I had one hundred things to do, and I began to doubt if I could get them all done before I left. What if I did not have time to get it all done? What if I forget something important?
As I was getting ready for bed I reached for the book, A Year with Rumi, on my night stand. I randomly opened up to the daily reading for February 9th, a poem entitled The One Thing You Must Do.
I read it slowly. And then read it again.
“There is one thing in this world which you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there is nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing your whole life.
It is as if a king has sent you to some country to do a task, and you perform a hundred other services, but not the one he sent you to do. So, human beings come to this world to do particular work. That work is the purpose, and each is specific to the person. If you don’t do it, it’s as though a knife of the finest tempering were nailed into a wall to hang things on. For a penny an iron nail could be bought to serve for that.
Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your lord. Give your life to the one who already owns your breath and your moments. If you don’t you will be like the one who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall for a peg to hold his dipper gourd. You will be wasting valuable keenness and foolishly ignoring your dignity and your purpose.”
This was profound. It was serendipitous. I felt like I was on this earth doing hundreds of things and wondered if I was doing the one thing I must do. I decided to ask God, “What is the one thing I must do?” The answer came quick and clear. “Do nothing. Be joy. Hold a joyful space for others.” I laughed because it was so clear. I am very much a doer. I do a lot of things all the time. It’s not about the doing.
There is a point when you are doing a lot of things that you lose your patience, poise, and peace in the process. I was at that point. I was so busy that I was not always in joy. I had given up the joy state to get more things done. I was negatively impacting myself and others. I smiled as I thought about how I could let all those tasks go and just be joy. That brought an enormous feeling of relief. It felt like a soothing flow of water was being poured gently over my head, like a warm shower. The sensation started at the top of my head, relieving tension there, then flowing over my face and down my body. My eyes relaxed, my shoulders dropped, my stomach settled, my arms and legs felt light and tingly. The weight was lifted, and I felt peace.
The one thing I must do in this country, on this earth, is be joy—continue to tap into and remain in the space of joy. My daily life and work is to be in joy and hold a joyful space for others. This particular work resonates with me. For my Mom, on the right in the photo, the one thing she must do is dance. My mom started dancing when she was three years old and has never stopped. She has been performing in shows throughout her life. At age 78 she started a dance company called “On With The Dance! Let Joy Be Unconfined.” She says, “Dancing is my joy. It uses my mind, body and spirit. It is one thing I continually feel called to do.”
What is the one thing you must do? What is your particular work? Just ask. Listen. It will come. I’d love to hear your answer.