November 3, 2006
I Get To . . .
by Kate Manahan
Do you ever have to interrupt what you are focused on to go pick your kids up at school? Do you ever put dinner together for the family because you should, not because you are inspired to do so? If there are “have to’s” and “should’s” in your life perhaps you will enjoy this exercise a friend recently introduced me to.
Anytime you begin to say “I should” or “I have to,” replace it with “I get to.” This simple word substitution prompts a far different mind set. I have to go pick up the kids, becomes I get to go pick up the kids. Consider what that means: I get the chance to check-in with some of their teachers. I get to say hello to friends in the parking lot. I get to see my children’s rapt faces filled with the stories of their day. I get to enter the beautiful building taxpayers have created for family’s just like mine. How fortunate I am to get to have kids. With a turn of phrase I can notice Naikan theory shift into my everyday life, exactly where it belongs. As six o’clock rolls around I would often say something like, (continued)
“Argh, I guess I should make something for dinner tonight.”
Now, when I catch myself, and substitute I get to, I suddenly see how every cupboard has food
in it. The refrigerator has fresh vegetables picked by stooped farmers. Truckers, away from their families, deliver fresh food to our market. There are about 50 varieties of such produce to choose from every time I go to the local grocery store.
The process is transformative. I get to make choices: spaghetti or tacos. It is not gruel or rice, day in and out. I get to have a hand in promoting my children’s nutrition and growth. I get to turn on the stove and have instant heat. I get to put a clean pan on the stove to make our meal. Before I know it I am half done with the dinner preparation and in a far finer state of mind. I feel grateful for the myriad blessings in our day to day lives.
I laugh to myself how this simple turn of phrase has changed my thinking. I get to floss my teeth. I get to take my car in to be repaired. I get to help my sons find a workable solution to their conflict. Using “I get to” allows me to see that my daily deeds are gifts. Life is burgeoning with opportunities to meet our human needs. In context, it is all a blessing.
I finally “get to” see that.
What will you “get to” do today?