Does this really matter?

Does this matter?

IMG_4007

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.  

a brand new year

Advertisements

Our Subsumed Lives

to subsumeto include or place within something larger or more comprehensive;   encompass as a subordinate or component element

When you were a child, what did you want to be when your grew up?  

seashell-754015_960_720If you are doing something quite different from what you imagined you would be doing, what happened? What swerved you onto a different path that led you away from your childhood dreams?  Or maybe you are still very much there, living the dream, without even realizing it?

There are many subsuming elements that our lives encounter, embrace, deny, or challenge.  Elements that distract us from who-we-are and steer us onto paths into what  feels to be a foreign country where we don’t speak the language and we don’t understand the customs.

When I was a child, I wanted to be Continue reading

Too Many Ideas?

nautilus_species_shellsDo you ever feel as if you simply have too many ideas?  It isn’t that life is too short to “do” or “finish” everything . . . it’s just that each moment is too tiny to absorb all of the expansion that wants to burst forth from each little second.  This gives me pause, and I wonder What am I doing with each moment?  Am I valuing it?  Living it?  Being it?

We are prompted Continue reading

My Rights of Insanity, False Starts, & Finding Straight Grain

1072Albert Einstein has shared some powerful words with us: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” and “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Elegant, round, large, profound words.

And pretty simple, right?

I was listening to a friend today talking about a couple she knew who are in a polar relationship with some conflicting dynamics.  As an outsider, my perception of Major Problems was glaring and blaring.  The relationship sounded as if it had the words Selfishness and Dislike and Disrespect stamped all over it.  And before I go further, I want to say that I am not proud of my initial reaction to the story.  This couple in no way deserved my hasty judgment.

1082The husband stayed at home with the baby.  The wife didn’t like it when the husband wanted to get out for a few hours in the evening for some alone time.  After all, as he said, “I can only clean the house so many times during the day.”  The wife, being the breadwinner, quashed his request to take the car and go have fun.  Well, the wife didn’t want to be left all alone with the baby.  So?  The husband stayed home, deferring to his wife and ignoring his wish to be around adults with whom he could talk and share . . . all which emphasized the core problem that his wife was someone who he didn’t qualify as being an “adult with whom he could talk and share.”

You get the idea.  It was easy for me to sympathize with the husband.  I don’t know why I found myself rooting for the him, as I am guessing that the wife has her own personal emotional challenges regarding the relationship.  I was surprised when I felt myself getting emotionally involved in the story and siding with the husband.  I started saying things like, “Wow!  Let the man go out and have a little fun.” And . . . “She sounds like a control nut.”  And then . . . “Why do they even stay together if they are so unhappy?”

I caught myself mid-comment.  All of this, coming from someone who was a Master Enabler and Chronic Co-Dependency Queen in relationships past.   As I heard the words coming out of my mouth, I thought back over the years when I stayed in relationships that were no longer in our respective best interests.  Relationships where we no longer cared about growing or contributing or loving one another.  Relationships that focused on Take and no Give.

It is always easy to look at others’ relationships and “know what I would do.”  It is also easy to look back at my own personal hard times and now know what I would have, should have, could have done differently.

Hindsight is a lovely thing.  It is the frosting that covers the burnt cake called Delayed Action.  In my situation, the obvious thing to do in these relationships was to cut the cord and repair to a different bubble, a different space.  A paradigm shift was certainly in order.  By staying in “the same level of consciousness” that created the problems, I was exercising my Rights of Insanity . . . by “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

As you can easily imagine, consequences were paid and lessons were learned.    Changes were made and “different results” were wrested from me.  Not always a happy ending at that time but a different ending, nonetheless.

I have certainly chosen Insanity, by Einstein’s definition, and stayed far beyond the expiration date that was stamped on the underside of a few relationships.  There are times when I don’t like to admit this . . . times when, now having moved on and past, I don’t really care about the outcomes that took place . . . times when I feel as if these relationships have helped me to build healthier, positive relationships in the present.  There are times when regrets have dogged me and times when regrets have vanished into the stratosphere without a hint of a vapor trail.  Times when my past feels as if it has been a surreal dream and times when I simply don’t think about it at all.

14621623115_0028bf42b1_bI laughed at myself when I told my friend, “Aren’t I a fine one to be saying what this couple should do?”  The truth: I don’t know what they should do.  I have barely been cognizant of what it is I should-would-could-can-will do.  Einstein’s words inspire me to reach for a different level of consciousness, even if it might mean digging myself into a deeper hole or painting myself into a corner  or climbing up to the roof and pushing the ladder to the ground.

It takes courage to stretch for a different level of consciousness.  Shakespeare wrote in Lady Macbeth, “”But screw your courage to the sticking place, And we’ll not fail.”  Lady Macbeth is saying to stretch, push, and pull your courage as far and deep as it will go — just as one does when screwing a screw into a wall or a beam.  You keep screwing until the screw simply won’t accept one more twist of the screwdriver.  Sometimes you have to go that deep.  And to know when to stop.

IMG_0878Anyone who has tried to screw a screw into a wall stud knows the difference between trying to do so into a piece of welcoming straight-grained wood and into a gnarly knot.  You start to twist the screw in and then . . . nothing.  Stopped at mid-screw.  You know you have hit a knot.  Depending on how badly I want the screw to be in that exact spot for various functional or artistic reasons, I persevere.  I really reef on that screwdriver.  I break a sweat or I invite a blister.

Other times, I back the screw out and try a different spot with the hope that I will find straight grain.  Eventually, success is mine and the screw is in the wall — and not necessarily where I originally wanted it.  All that remains is to fill the holes that litter the sheetrock and dab some paint over the dried spackle.

One time I tried to install a toilet paper roll in my powder room.  Something this elementary.  By the time I completed the job, the wall was simply riddled with false starts.  It remains a testimony to not reading the directions that came with the device.  The T.P. holder is crooked and rickety.  I think I am the only one in the house who can change a roll of toilet paper and not have the dang holder fall off the wall.  It is also a testimony to remember Lady Macbeth’s words and to rise to courage.

But it is Onward, I say.  The next time I hear someone telling me a story about another couple’s relationship, I am going to stop my ears and remember Albert Einstein, Lady Macbeth, and the hideous mess I made of my powder room wall.  All is well but all will be even better if I prevent myself from making hasty judgments by resisting my Rights of Insanity.  Thank you to Albert, Lady Macbeth, and Home Depot.  Life is good when I heed the words of the wise: do something different, don’t resist change, don’t listen to my judgmental self, be courageous, and abide by a different level of consciousness.

A Friendly Reminder on the Trail of Life

IMG_2793I came upon this 3-D message as I was hiking around Mountain Lake last Sunday.  It was at the top of a good uphill stretch, and it gave me much to think on as I finished the hike. I imagined that someone must have paused at the crest to rest, all the while feeling grateful for that moment in time.

Life is good.  Such a simple thing to say or to write, yet sometimes so challenging to absorb, initiate, model, embrace, believe, communicate.  Today, I am going into the day with this image in my mind and this prayer and intention in my heart: Let my heart give thanks and be glad in life’s goodness.  The alternative (overwhelmed, distracted, preoccupied to name a few) isn’t very pleasant, and the flip side to positive is such a drag on my energy, my creativity, and my relationships.

pencil stubToday’s journaling is fun, simple, quick, and includes working with some fun and easy pie charts that portray the Circle of Life . . .  your Circle of Life.  You can download this enlightening prompt by clicking on the aqua-blue link below:

Life is Good. journaling prompt

[Print this prompt out, 3-hole punch it, and start your journaling binder.   Take the writing journey and listen . . . you can’t get lost when you are following your own heart.  After all, you are the only one who can hear what it has to say.  The only one.  Relax, read, think, feel, listen, write.  Repeat.  And enjoy the journey.  It is a fine one, and one that is perfectly-made just for you, I promise.  Life is meant to be grown.]

Important Encounters

Important EncountersI read this quote today while reading an article on soul mates.  The article outlined the 10 elements of a soul mate and made a lot of sense in the ways of recognizing serendipitous miracles.

Sometimes soul mates enter into our world as a result of intense and focused intention.  Sometimes they grow from a professional or academic relationship.  Sometimes it is a brother or a sister who so generously allows you to be you.  It is a daughter or a son who loves you because you are you . . . because of your flaws and your zaniness and your creative forgetfulness.  Sometimes your soul mate comes as a complete and absolute and amazing surprise.  You are standing in line one evening and someone turns around and says, “Hello.  Do we know each other?”

My soul responds, “Yes, we do.”  We didn’t before this moment, but we did.  We do now.  toaster oven

These are the fabulous contradictions of every day miracles.  The surprise of the known.  The immediate recognition of the familiar in the unanticipated.  And it is all quite amazing actually.  We weave our hearts and souls into our respective days.  We tie off loose threads and we pull some length from the hanks of color that ribbon throughout and within.  We offer our dynamic colors and texture and entwine them into the tapestry of our lives.  We recognize that there is a Higher Power at work.

weaving with feathersWe are mindful to occasionally view the tapestry from above — not just from the underside where the slubs,
knots, and loose ends dangle.  If we cannot see the beauty from above, we close our eyes and open our hearts and imagine the beauty.  We keep on weaving.  Our souls so want to be expressed in threads that honor our unique and lovely ways.

There are some beautiful and magical writings that celebrate the metaphors, similes, and analogies of life with weaving and tapestries.  So many!

This quote from Yeats is magnificent and beautiful:

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, en-wrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet: but I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
(W.B. Yeats, 1899)

A great image.

Dreams are fragile. They are but vapor in another’s soul.  They grow in body and in strength when treated gently.  As Yeats has written, soul mates tread ever so softly — so gently — on another’s dreams.  They see another’s dreams as beautiful and invaluable.  They celebrate another’s patchwork of reality.  They see themselves in the other’s dream.

Albert Einstein was so smart and wise.  He wrote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  I want to live my life as though everything is a miracle.  Everything is sacred.  And amazing.  And beautifully woven together.  “Hello.  Do we know each other?”  Yes.  And Yes.

Tibetan wool, Boudhanath, Kathmandu, Nepal 20131229