A Matter of Priorities
Letting Go of the Little Stuff
When we stop worrying about unimportant matters, we can devote so much more of ourselves to what is truly important.
We experience numerous disappointments each and every day. Our expectations go unmet, our plans are blocked by circumstance, our wishes go unfulfilled, and we discover that our lives are subject to a myriad of forces beyond our conscious control. In some cases, our response is powerful because we must invest ourselves and our resources to overcome genuine hardship. In others, our reactions are far more passionate than our circumstances likely warrant. The tension that permeates our bodies and minds when we are late for an event, interrupted at work, or sitting in traffic is not inappropriate, but it can interfere with our well-being in profound ways. When we stop worrying about relatively unimportant matters, we can be at peace and devote so much more of ourselves to what is truly important.
The small frustrations and irritations wield such power over us because they rob us of the illusion of control. But every problem is a potential teacher—a confusing situation is an opportunity to practice mindfulness, and difficult people provide us with opportunities to display compassion. There is a natural human tendency to invest copious amounts of emotional energy in minor dilemmas and frustrations in order to avoid confronting those more complex issues that are largely outside the realm of our control. The intensity of our response provides us with a temporary sense of personal power that helps us cope with challenges that might otherwise overwhelm us. But it is only when we let the little stuff go that we discover that the big stuff is not really so devastating after all.
In the stress of a singularly tense incident, differentiating between an inconsequential annoyance and a legitimate challenge can seem a monumental task. Ask yourself whether the emotions you are feeling will be as vivid in a year, a day, or even an hour. As focused as you are on this moment in time, your reward for letting go of your emotional investment may be the very happiness and harmony of being whose loss you are lamenting. Needless aggravation is seldom worth the cost it exacts. You cannot distance yourself from life’s inconsistencies, irritations, and upheavals, but you can relinquish your desire for perfect order and gain peace of mind in the process.
Gifts from the Universe
Accepting Your Family
Our families help us see where we have come from so that we may more clearly decide where we’d like to go.
Families can contain a fascinating grouping of personalities. Despite the potential for so many to have similar traits, there are many different ways to express them. As people marry into families and have children, even more personalities enter the picture. There may be some people that we would not choose to be related to, but that’s what friends are for.
If we trust in a universe that has a higher purpose for everything, then we must believe that family members are in our lives for a good reason. These reasons may be easy to see and appreciate with some, but others may offer us a challenge. With those, we can look for something we can learn or perhaps teach. In the modern world where everyone seeks to be individuals, many move far away from their families in an attempt to escape them. But when we’ve successfully built a world around us that requires no one’s help, our families are the people who are still attached to us. We can still choose whether or not to honor the family ties, and how to treat each other, but the fact remains that we are energetically tied to our families.
Our families help us see where we have come from so that we may more clearly decide where we’d like to go. If we can learn to accept our families for who they are, then we go out into the world armed with the ability to deal with anyone. Some families are better than others at preparing us for the world. What we learn from our families, even if they are simply blank spots on our family trees, becomes the basis of our identities as individuals. Rather than denying our connections, we can choose to accept their presence in our lives. Acceptance does not mean we have to like them; we simply acknowledge that we are connected to them and honor that connection for like it or not, there is a reason. When we can embrace all that they bring into our experience, we may be grateful for all we have learned from them and have to learn, while we experience everything that comes with family fully and completely.
One Day at a Time
Our lives are made of stepping stones, one experience after another in perfect and divine order.
The years of our life do not arrive all at once; they greet us day by day. With the descent of each setting sun, we are able to rest our heads and let the world take care of itself for a while. We may rest assured throughout the night, knowing that the dawn will bring with it a chance to meet our lives anew, donning fresh perspectives and dream-inspired hopes. The hours that follow, before we return to sleep once more, are for us to decide how we want to live and learn, laugh and grow. Our lives are sweeter and more manageable because we must experience them this way: one day at a time.
Imagine the future stretching out before you and try to notice if you feel any tension or overwhelm at the prospect of the journey still to come. Perhaps you have recently made a lifestyle change, like beginning a new diet or quitting smoking, and the idea of continuing this healthy new behavior for years seems daunting. Maybe you have started a new job or are newly married and can feel an undercurrent of anxiety about your ability to succeed. If you can shift your focus from what may happen years down the line and return it to the day that is before you right now, you may find a measure of calm and renewed confidence in your capabilities. You may also discover an inner faith that the future will take care of itself.
The way we show up for our lives today and tomorrow has an enormous affect on who we will be and what we will be experiencing years from now. If we can remain fully engaged in the day at hand, enjoying all it has to offer and putting our energy into making the most of it, we will find that we are perfectly ready and capable to handle any future when it arrives.