Does this really matter?

Does this matter?

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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

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Pebbles in a Still Pond

water-1759703_960_720Trust the process.  Trust the ripples created by the pebble.  The ripples will travel to the right places.  They will find their ultimate places on the shore and will communicate their wants, their dreams, their source of desire. 
I will not forget to drop my pebbles in the water.  I will release my vibrational energy loose to find its vibrational match.  I trust the process.

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

The Laundry Bag Blues Muse

Today I told myself that I simply must get some laundry done.  These beautiful and blue summer days have been dictating a distinct lack of focus on getting tasks done around the house.  There are certain chores that provide feelings of satisfaction when accomplished.  There are other chores that simply must be done.  No questions asked.  No whining allowed.  You must get yourself in gear and motivate.  Get some laundry done.

wringerThen I started thinking of the time when I used to do laundry on an old wringer washing machine.  I lived where there was no option for electricity, so this particular beast was one of those diehard Maytags that operated on gasoline and oil — all while belching exhaust and roaring at a deafening idle.  Tubs were filled by hauling buckets from the lake.  The empty-bucket trip was all downhill, the full-bucket trip was all uphill.  Sometimes the wringer didn’t work, and I had to switch over to hand wringing. What with all the hauling and needing to literally kick the old Briggs & Stratton motor into action, life felt challenging on Laundry Day.

The blahs can affect the psyche in powerful ways.  Laundry was a necessary chore that tended to rock my generally high level of positivity and my appreciation of living in such pristine beauty and solitude.  Still.  The sea’s doldrums hold as much gravity as can the wind.  Hunger as can fullness.  Indifference as can passion.  There is certainly a balance within the blahs.

I look back and give myself serious kudos for taking on such an enormous chore on a weekly basis. Even then, in retrospect, when all was hauled, washed, rinsed, and hung, I rarely felt any glowing level of achievement.  I experienced no grand sense of accomplishment when draining the last of the rinse tubs and hanging it up on the cellar’s wall.  Laundry was one of those chores that lived and grew without notice.  Like unbridled growth in a Petri dish, laundry took on a life of its own.  It reflected my chosen priorities of the week with a clarity that no Mirror-Mirror-on-the-Wall could.  Had I chosen to lounge on the dock in my bikini on that 93 degree day or had I chosen to fall the dead maple that was overhanging the Cellar?

levisThe Laundry Bag did not lie.  It was a snapshot of my week.  Wood chips littered the floor as I upended the Bag.  I saw a blue sweatshirt with a rip in the upper arm, and a chainsaw-oil-stained pair of Levi’s.  Eau de petrol perfumed the air.  My bikini?  Still in my dresser along with my other Travel Dream Clothes: my sarong, collapsible sun hat, and cute strappy sandals.  Daydreams of rowing around the lake and lounging on the dock were given over to the burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrip of a Stihl chain saw and the sparing of the cellar roof.

snow_boots_s1In the wintertime, while sloshing around outside in sub-freezing temperatures in knee-high snow, I used to daydream of the 1960s when the idea of the Paper Dress was being tossed around as being a viable fabric for clothing.  It was brilliant.  Functional by day and ready-made firestarter for when I lay the fire in the cookstove for the next morning.  As I prepared for bedtime each night, I could don my chic and sexy tissue-paper negligee while crumpling up my work clothes from my day’s work.  Dual purpose.  And no laundry to be done!

And then one winter day something happened to me as I stood outdoors at the wringer in sub-freezing temperatures and snow – my hands in insulated rubber gloves and my feet in felt-lined boots, aching from the cold of snow and the slosh of icy water.

I don’t know how, but it all funneled into my first ephiphany: it was not the physical rigors that made Laundry Day a pain.  It was purely my attitude.  My thinking.  I stopped.  And took inventory.  I had the unique privilege of resource, health, and time to complete the task.  Time.  I look back and remember how it felt to have so much Time.  It was so wonderful and decadent, and I took it for granted every single day.  And my body really didn’t mind the labor . . . I was outside.  Getting some good exercise.  Breathing wonderfully clean, pure, cold air.  Looking at the tree branches dressed in snow.  Listening to the silence ring and ricochet around the lake.  How could a body complain about any of this?

wringer-1My second epiphany: the Laundry Bag took on magical properties that paralleled the complexities and simplicity of man’s relationship to eternity.  The Laundry Bag is bottomless, and it is never empty.  There is always something growing in it as a result of some other action.  My attitude grew to appreciate this.  I was part of something that was much bigger than I was.  The Universe.  It all sounds so strange as I write this, but this is how it all felt at the time: life is very large.  And I am a laundry-making contributor to the Wheel of the Universe.

I truly did switch things up after that.  I started to sing loudly while I plunged in the wash tub and rinsed and cranked on the wringer — this was my happier version of being on the chain gang.  I recognized the blessing in having Time for such a ridiculously time-consuming chore . . . one that now requires me to simply throw laundry into a magic tub and push a button and walk away while electricity and complex machinery do all of the work for me.

But. I now work away from home to compensate for the running water and the electricity that makes Laundry Magic.  And, in order to pay for such luxury, my life work has taken an academic turn away from the physical.  Life now moves to an urgency that is so different from taking my Time and hauling water and looking at the birds flying overhead and singing off-key bluegrass tunes about river banks and the glitter of gold and lost love and big rock candy mountains.

time-travel-clockIt feels like I have less time now . . . that there has been some sort of cosmic exchange that has played a joke on me.  That somehow my modern electric front-loading Maytag burns up more time, resource, and energy than my gasoline-powered wringer Maytag ever did. The best way I can explain it is there is a dearth of presence.  All of that hauling and heating tubs of water on the cookstove and wringing sudsy water out of my clothes made an impression that I would never trade for the joys of convenience.

Perspective.  What a gift it is.  I love the way time reflects around on itself and, in the doing, presents me with gifts that make my heart sing.  Life is a flow of Universal Presence that all manifests in unexpected and miraculous ways.  toaster oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

. . . what is true, good, and beautiful.

beautiful leaves. positively positive. self love.“Live by the trinity of what is true, good, and beautiful.”  — Alexandra Stoddard —

Beauty.  I seek this.  I search for it all around me.  I use my senses to detect it and to make mental note of it.  I attempt to record it with my pen and with my iPhone and with my camera and with my paintbrush and with my mandolin.  When my soul says, This is beautiful, I try to capture it on the page.  It is so present, yet so elusive.

I can’t store it – no matter how many pictures at different angles that I take of it.  I can post it to my phone’s background and remind myself of that morning on the beach when no one else was there and the rainbow was just so stunning, but can I really experience it again by looking at it on my phone?

Real Beauty is experienced.  And created over and over within the moment.  It is what makes life so exciting.   Beauty lives within us. And it wants to be shared with others.  We all have the power to create beauty from that which is within.  We can make a difference by simply living.  By simply breathing.  By simply being present.  By being intentional in our loving.  By feeling blessed when we experience the trinity of truth and goodness and beauty.