Beginner's Heart

the author's

the author’s

What would we do without lists?? I have a journal — AKA a book of lists — Evernote on my phone & iPad, Dropbox so other folks can send me MUTUAL lists, and I’m STILL writing them on paper scraps, and pasting them in!

In other words, I live by the list. 🙂

While the included lists are about one of my FAVOURITE jobs — cooking (because you get to eat afterwards!)  — a niece who works in a library is making lists of books, another fun activity. We also ask, among our family, for wish lists. Yet another verrry fun list (mine includes Tiffany aviator sunglasses, and a sterling silver Starbucks card, just in case you’re wondering).

There’s something deeply satisfying about checking items off a list. So I’m starting a new one: things to do today that I too often don’t make time for. Like, yoga exercises for disadvantaged knees. And meditation (the sit-down kind, not the losing-myself-in-the-downy-woodpecker-outside kind). And the little chores that are easy to put off indefinitely.

via google

via google

Beginner’s heart requires a discipline I don’t always maintain. But lists are one way around my lackadaisical attitude.  Not to mention they’re an honourable Buddhist tradition. I can’t think of a religion with as many lists, as Leigh Brasington notes: 2 of this, and 4 of that, and 5 and 8 and 10. The 4 Noble Truths, the 8-Fold Path. For Christians, there’s the 10 Commandments. For Muslims, there are the 3 Duties to God (daily prayers, fasting during Ramadan, and pilgrimage to Makkah).

So other wisdom traditions also have important lists. Just… well, there are more than 20 central to Buddhist beliefs. No wonder I like lists! Or maybe I gravitated — even as a Christian child — to Buddhism for the lists? 🙂

In other words, lists are important. Not only for checking off, but for prioritising. Try making one — of anything, and you’ll see: it throws into high relief your values. Not a bad outcome, and all it takes is a pencil & a paper napkin.


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