Enlightenment Through Your To Do List — Chop Wood and Carry Water

lovechoppingwood3As I prepared my daily “To Do” list for today the first thing that came to mind was

  •  chop wood

Not unusual, it’s winter, I live in the mountains and love a fire in the fireplace.

As mind would have it, a Zen parable came to mind and I just had to write on the next line:

  • Carry Water

I smiled.

Here’s the story:

A seeker asked his teacher:    “What do you do before enlightenment?”
Answer from the Sage:            “Chop Wood and Carry Water.”
Student:                                      “What do you do after enlightenment?”
Teacher:                                      “Chop Wood and Carry Water.’

Carry Water and Love itDon’t believe it

Don’t believe it.  In truth:  After enlightenment?  Chop Wood and Carry Water—And LOVE IT.

Things look totally different after that.  I’ll tell you how.  Feeling your body, carrying water, chopping wood, driving, making dinner, phone calls, cleaning, selling, decorating, speaking, and Loving the moments, loving it! That’s the difference that will make the difference in your life and the lives of those you love.

I laughed because right after I finished my daily TO-DO list,  I realized I had already taken a case of bottled water from my car into the house, HAH! Carried Water—check, done.

Did I love it? Well, I didn’t hate it.  I’ll do it differently next time, in fact, right now, I’ll dial back into that moment and Love it. Send a bit of love back into the moment, into the water, appreciate the weight of it sloshing in the bottles, the dogs barking around and tripping me, the door needing to be opened.  Hah! I love you all.  I’ll share a most powerful example of this with you.

True Story

One evening, at about 7:30 pm, when my younger son was in High School he came to me and asked, “Mom, can we clean this sweater?  I need to wear it to tomorrow’s match.”  I looked at him and the wool team sweater and explained that normally this would need to be dry cleaned, but let’s see what we can do.  I decided that rather than be grumpy about the event of 11th hour cleaning, I’d LOVE it. I smiled and told him to go finish his homework and then I put the wool sweater into the sink with some natural shampoo, cold water and baking soda and loved the sweater and the fibers, did Reiki on the sweater, sent comfort, confidence and health into each fiber as it would be worn by my son whom I love dearly.  I imagined it gently and harmoniously* filled with light and vibrance.  I squished it clean, rinsed it, rolled it in a towel, stepped on the towel (that part feels so good on my feet) and hung it on 6 hangars stacked together (to prevent the shoulder pops).  I hung it near the warm blower of the gas fireplace and loved it.  I checked it often, hoping that it would be dry for tomorrow’s match.  The next day it was, he put the sweater on and went off to school with a “Thanks, Mom.”

Late that evening, as I checked my emails there was one from his Coach.  “Mrs. Chang, I just want to tell you that today Jordan was more confident and composed than I have ever seen him.  He played extremely well, and was especially considerate and welcoming of the visiting team.  I wanted you to know this because although he is always kind and considerate, there was something different about him today and I was very proud of him and thought you should know too.”

“Hmmmm,” I thought as I wiped my tears, “Chop Wood, Carry Water, Do Laundry and Love it!”  That’s the power we all have, intention, action, enlightenment.

Sometimes I do forget, but it’s less and less often that I forget.  I realized since that I can do this with everything and anything that I want to be filled with ease and eagerness.

I am always amazed that I am amazed by how much greater the results of my day and my life become, how the return on my ‘investment’ is way over what I expected, when I LOVE what I am doing.

Try this today:

What is on YOUR to-do list today? How can you remember to do the mundane and banal things and bring ‘en-lighten-ment’ and love to each “to-do”?  With whom do you wish to share enlightenment, health, personal confidence and personal power?  Who would you gift a day free of struggle as if the wind were at their back and the sun shining gently on their skin?  You can do this:  enlightentment is right now.

From your To Do list, choose:

  • 1 thing that you can do to put something from the past to rest (go all Ho’o Ponopono on it …Watch here as Michael Goddard explains how to make everything shift for the better with Ho’o Ponopono)
  • 1 thing that you can do to support your today (breathe, laugh, walk, finish a project, delete a project, say no to an expectation that doesn’t make you joyful, add 15 minutes between appointments for nothing)
  • 1 thing that you can do to support you in your future, your heart, or your relationship…1 person or situation you want to open to possibility, joy and personal alignment with the best version of herself or itself, the best outcome for the highest expression of more love

Then, make the choice to be/feel ‘in love’ while doing the task.  Think about the most joyful, happy, healed powerful thing you can while you are doing that ‘thing.’  Put Love In to the moments, LOVE the task, love the process, caress it, see it, hold it. Finish it and let it go. Thank it and check it off!

On to the rest of my to-do list! I hope you love yours!

All my best,


*This is an important piece when offering Love to someone…ask that it be harmonized to them.  In the same way that  your eyes might hurt and you’ll flinch when you come from a dark room into the bright sunlight, filling a situation with light can be uncomfortable for someone not expecting it.  If you ask that it be harmonized, that person can more easily adapt, similar to the way a fresh scent that they love would please them.