"The only thing you are going to do today is: what you do today.
Therefore, the only thing there is to do today is: what you do today.
That's all there was to do when you started no matter what you
I am indebted to David Fiske who contributed material for this
This conversation reflects on / is in concordance with the
ideas about what we do (ie about what we really do) in an
on January 1, 1981 as part of his "PAGES" series for the
this collection of essays
on more than one occasion, the way the
landed for me the first time I was exposed to it (which is to say, the
first time I participated in it) was so blindingly
forehead-slapping-ly obvious as to leave me astonished at
how I could have possibly missed it until then. After all, what it was
had always been available to me (indeed to all of us) courtesy of
Its signs and signals were and are everywhere, all around us, all the
time, and I'd investigated and explored it countless times before ...
and yet ... I'd never been
by it the way
me with it.
When I got it, I simultaneously made an error, a miscalculation that
persisted undistinguished for many years until I ferreted it out and
corrected myself. My error was to assume that everyone not only got
what I got, but that they also got it in exactly the same way as I got
it. It's at least possible that everyone got what I got, and also in
the same way as I got it. But in actuality, we each get it
individually. When it lands, it custom-tailors itself personally to who
we're being at any particular time.
And so it is with
"The only thing there is to
do today is what you do today.".
When I entertained it as a possibility for the first time, it imparted
a certain provocation, a kind of a
perplexity if you will. To be sure,
(it's more than that actually: he's very
only imparts provocation and perplexity and not pragmatic workability,
then it's not really delivering on its promise, is it? And so I began
looking closer into his idea, digging deeper into it and what it makes
possible. I had no doubt that it makes something possible (I could
taste it) even though I couldn't yet articulate what it was.
When I got it (and you may get it the same way as I got it, or not),
what I got was the profundity of
"The only thing there is to
do today is what you do today"
is it allows who I really am to stay present, no matter
what I do, no matter what the load, no matter what the intensity.
Sometimes my life looks like a series of episodes of experiencing who I
really am, followed by an episode of being overwhelmed / distracted
from being who I really am by pressing, urgent work, followed by
another episode of being who I really am, followed by another episode
of being overwhelmed / distracted etc etc by everything there is for me
to do on my overloaded plate.
And what's so
about his idea for me, is it not only accounts for what I do today in a
context of transformation, but it also accounts for what I
don't do today (ie that which I fail to get done today) in
any context - transformed, or otherwise. As he puts it in
his essay, the only thing there is for me to do today is what I do
today - and that which I fail to get done or don't do today, I
"have" ie I own,
am responsible for, allow to be as that which there is
to do, which I didn't do.
So I do what I do (and that's all I do), and I don't do what I don't do
(and I have what there is to do which I don't do). And
there's no mind-nattering or judgement or fret or guilt about any of
it. His idea doesn't change what I do or what I don't do. Rather it
enlivens a joyful transformed context for everything I do
and don't do.