I recently spoke with a friend of mine who relayed the following story to me. She had recently hosted a "famous traveling teacher". I won't mention this teacher's name. My friend, being the diligent sponsor, emailed this teacher and asked her what foods she might like to eat over the weekend. This teacher sent her an exact list of all the foods she would require for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At the end of this list she wrote the following two words: "NO EXCEPTIONS".
Though my friend relayed this story without any sense of judgment, this wasn't true for me. I first thought that perhaps this teacher was being a bit inflexible. I mean, how often can you get "exactly what you require" when traveling? But then I looked at this teacher's schedule and realized that she asked clearly for what her body required to stay healthy and strong so she could meet the demands of her very busy life.
As I contemplated her words, "NO EXCEPTIONS" I found that they began to percolate to the surface at odd times throughout my day. I'd hear those words "NO EXCEPTIONS" whenever I was faced with a decision that I used to think of as - well, inconsequential. Decisions like whether to eat that chocolate; whether to stay up late watching that movie; whether to get out of bed and meditate; whether to check my emails or facebook, or just get busy with my work; whether to practice. All those decisions that I ordinarily think of as "inconsequential", I've discovered are not inconsequential at all. They all add up to a net effect of diminishing my efficiency, or enhancing it; diminishing my effectiveness, or enhancing it; diminishing my strength and sense of purpose and empowerment, or enhancing these.
Since applying the "NO EXCEPTIONS" rule, I've found it much easier to focus on what matters. I make good decisions with regards to food, time and lifestyle choices with a lot more ease and a lot less confusion. When there are no exceptions, I don't waste time wondering "what if", or "maybe just a little", or "not today, I'll get to it tomorrow". Since going back on my commitments is no longer an option, my path is very clear. Foods I don't digest are not an option; activities that are not life enhancing are not an option; it's not an option to skip meditation. Since the "NO EXCEPTIONS" rule, it has become very easy for me to release draining activities and get on with life enhancing and empowering choices.
Since "NO EXCEPTIONS" came into my life, I've discovered a renewed sense of inner power; much more clarity about what is really life enhancing for me; and a very easeful way to eliminate things that weaken or diminish my clarity. I feel incredibly grateful for this teaching that inadvertently came to me. I invite you to try applying these words: NO EXCEPTIONS to your life, especially when you need to face an important but difficult decision, those countless niggling decisions. Find out what happens when you are faced with a choice to engage in an activity that you know isn't really serving you. Pause and hear yourself saying "NO EXCEPTIONS". See how easily that habit drops away. Find out how much more time and energy you have for the activities that inspire you when you do not allow exceptions to your resolutions.
I'll be curious to hear back from you about your experience!!