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What Counts?

How do you measure yourself?

I am an insufferable list maker, goal setter and chart keeper. I love keeping track, staying on course and being organized. (Have I told you about the amazing concept of a ‘Bullet Journal’? Don’t worry – it’s coming!)

But sometimes these behaviors get me believing that my worth is defined by how much of my ‘To Do’ list I've accomplished. My ‘value’ is determined by how many things I was able to check off or by how much I earned today or this week or this year.

Sometimes I focus in on one of the myriad of modern day metrics that are so easily available, and the result is that I end up feeling a certain way about myself. There's....

My sleep app and how much quality sleep it says I got last night.

My Fitbit that tells me how many steps I took or how many glasses of water I drank.

The ‘likes’ or new friends on a social media site or the traffic on a website.

The calories the treadmill says I burned or the number on the scale or the number of reps I did at the gym……

Every once in a while, though, I decide to stop counting, stop producing and simply ‘feed my soul’. So I go and lie on the grassy hillside in the sun near my house….and I lie there….. for as long as it feels good.

Or, I keep that promise to myself to take the afternoon off and just hang with my horse buddies.

Or, I don’t cook anything, but I read recipe books and cruise food blogs for a couple of hours.

And I do all this without guilt about all the ‘productive’ things I could have been doing. Without feeling the least little bit bad about ‘wasting time’ or not earning or not producing.

Because this is REAL. My ‘to-do list’ doesn’t build my essential self. Neither does how much I cook, write or earn. All of these things are tools. I use them to move me in the direction of what I value. Sometimes I even enjoy doing those things on the TO DO list. But it is BETWEEN all those tasks and jobs, that the 'real me' lives. Between what I do is where the essential part of me thrives –

on sunshine and beauty, on daydreams and long meandering dog walks. And on stillness and self-compassion.


This essential "me" that loves pleasure and kindness grows stronger and more resilient every time I pause and nurture her in one of a myriad of immeasurable ways.



William Bruce Cameron Sociologist 1963


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