Does this matter?
There are different types of weight that we carry around with us, both on the frame of our body and in our mind, heart, and soul. Yes, there are those few extra pounds of body weight that remind us every time we step onto the scale and then there is the weight of our responsibilities, worries, and burdens that slow us down and drag behind us as we attempt to carry them through the day. One way to lighten up our respective loads is to ask ourselves:
Does this really matter?
This question can apply to many different things, events, and encounters throughout the day and is of greater benefit for your quality of life than simply checking to see what number shows up on the bathroom scale. If there were a scale that quantified how heavy my heart is while carrying the various burdens and responsibilities that I lug around with me throughout the day, I would fear even stepping onto it. Perhaps the sheer possibility to acknowledge such spirit weight would prevent me from getting out of bed in the morning.
In an effort to lighten my spirit along with my body weight, I have begun asking, “Does this matter? I mean, really matter?” Here’s a good example of a recent situation where I am actively trying to turn a Yes response to this question into a No.
Yesterday, my neighbor came over to inform me that she had “accidentally” trimmed all of the beautiful green vines that laced and encircled my mailbox on my property. I loved this entwining greenery and have admired its lushness every time I walked out to retrieve my mail. This neighbor since moving in next door has adopted a scorched-earth policy and has been mercilessly hacking away at any living plant in her yard. As disheartening as this has been to observe, I have accepted that it’s her yard and she can do with it as she wills. But my property and my mailbox? I wanted to scream!
When she came over to tell me that she had mistaken my mailbox for hers and that she had stripped away all the beautiful vines and plants to bare earth, I wanted to come completely unglued. As I walked out to the mailbox with her so she could show me the carnage she had wrought, I had to quickly ask myself, Does this matter? I wanted to shout, cry, and say bad words to her about the death and destruction that she has wrought on the neighborhood. I wanted to tell her that she was a bad human being and that she had no business messing with my property. That she had some kind of obsessive death wish on anything growing and living and that she should move to the desert. That I was super hurt and angry.
But being a believer in the power of allowing my rational brain to catch up with my emotional brain in order to avoid an emotional hijacking, I surveyed the damage and told her that I wasn’t in a good place to talk about it at that time. That I was going into the house to absorb. And then gently told her to kindly stay the hell away from my property, my mailbox, and all growing plants that are between our two houses . . . and that if she had future intentions of annihilating any plants on our shared property line, to come talk with me first.
In review, I handled the situation pretty well. I actually delivered my message with an admirable deadpan that contained all of my frustration, hurt, and anger. All because I paused to ask myself, “Does this matter?” In the big scheme of life and its real global problems, the hacking away of some greenery by an obsessive neighbor is neither a global threat nor a personal tragedy. It bugs the hell out of me, but I have to hope that I will eventually get over it and that Mother Earth will heal and replenish the victimized plants. Amen.
One way I try to ultimately deal with annoyances of this kind and move on is to ask,
“At the end of my life, will I still be obsessing over this?”
At the end of my life, will I still be obsessing over the crazy neighbor lady with the pruning shears? Chances are the answer is “No,” so I will let it go. I have to let it go. Or at least I will continue to work on letting it go. And if I want to live an authentic life that is true to my beliefs, I have to let it go. Otherwise my life will be predicated on another’s thoughtless actions and not on my own beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and actions. I choose peace over strife, love over dislike, and forgiveness over a grudge. Let the healing begin by answering, “Does this matter?” And I send up a prayer: Please, Mother Earth send up some healing green vining shoots from this offensive massacre.
How about you? The next time you find yourself getting super annoyed by the daily coffee grounds scattered all over the kitchen counter by your house mate . . . does it really matter? Or when that annoying co-worker steals the credit for your creative idea – again! – and makes it his own . . . does it really matter? Or when you finish off that pint of chocolate ice cream at midnight while standing over the sink . . . does it really matter? Go easy on others and on yourself.
What is it that really matters to you? Align yourself with your beliefs and your awareness of what they are. Revisit them. Journal about them. Live them. Share them. Write a manifesto or a mission statement that represents your beliefs. Know thyself and imagine yourself getting on a quantum-physics scale that weighs your spirit. Do you want it to read “light as the air found in a bird’s hollow bone” or do you want it to read “denser than a ton of blue whale blubber”? (No offense to the beautiful blue whales of the planet that grace our oceans with elegance and beauty, but they sure are heavy. And the amazing thing? They float!) It’s your choice, your process, your control, your letting go, your destiny. What do you want this quantum scale to read?
When you catch yourself getting caught up in the petty, annoying, silly frustrations of life, ask yourself “Does this matter?” If you are able to answer with a “No” and add a laugh to your answer, you just lost an immeasurable weight from your mind, heart, and soul. Be one with your mindfulness, and do not ally yourself with another’s thoughtlessness. Forgive and move on. You are the ultimate recipient of any forgiveness that you are able to give. (I know. It can feel like a hard thing to task yourself with but it’s worth your focus and effort. Promise.)
Time for some journaling.
Be still for a moment and relax. I mean really relax. Sit down. Lower your shoulders from your ears. Empty your hands and put your hands in your lap. Take five deep breaths.
What matters to you?
Make a list of people, pets, qualities, things, circumstances, events, dreams . . . that matter to you. Just go for it. Don’t filter yourself.
Now go back through your list and circle your top three or top five or top ten, whatever circling activity that makes you happy. Let these circled items guide your decisions, shape your beliefs, inform your reactions, and create your relationships. Let them become the things that matter. Embrace, nurture, and live what matters.