Yesterday morning I tucked my iPad under my arm, took my hot cup of tea in my other hand, and pushed the squeaky screen door open with my foot.
The girls were inside watching their early Sunday morning movie, M was upstairs sleeping, and the cat was perched on the stoop, watching the squirrels race each other up and down the tall redwood trees clustered in the corner of our backyard.
I headed to my favorite recliner and set my tea gently down on the chair next to it. It didn’t take long for me to be settled back, iPad on my lap, Kindle app open to the book I was halfway through reading, tea mug perched on my chest.
Before I started reading, I paused, looking up at the sun peeking through the leaves of the big oak tree that stands at the opposite side of the yard from the redwoods. I breathed in deeply, savoring the mixed smells from all the trees and plants, from the recently cut grass, from the morning air.
I breathed out just as slowly and let myself enjoy the moment.
Inside, two little girls needed baths, the kitchen needed cleaning, the living room was trashed, wet laundry sat in the washing machine, I had a blog post I had to write and multiple emails demanding immediate attention, and if I really gave it some thought, I could easily come up with another 15 things I really should be doing.
I let go of the shoulds and I embraced the could.
Because, really, we can poison our lives with should. And it’s really not healthy.
“Should” never ends up being about being in the moment, about being mindful, about just being. “Should” has a way of tricking you into believing that it’s the most important, urgent thing that needs doing. “Should” likes to make you feel like you’re a failure if you consider putting it off, like you’re not being productive.
“Should” is a liar.
Sometimes you really need to just be so you can enjoy all that stuff “should” makes you work tirelessly for all the time.
I read for a bit, drinking my tea, enjoying the sun playing on my face. The kids eventually were cleaned, as was the kitchen and the rest of the house. The laundry was dried and more laundry was washed. I even cooked a great dinner last night. And yes, I wrote the blog post that needed writing.
It all got done in due time and I still enjoyed my Sunday. All because I dared “could” in front of “should.”