Welcome to today! Whatever day you are reading this, it is an important day because whether you spend it working, playing or sleeping, it is your day to do with as you please. That you are spending some of it with me is a great honor, and I thank you.
Peace is a highly prized commodity in my life. It is through quiet reflection that I am able to focus on the great treasures I have and let go, albeit briefly, of the burdens that bend my back with their boulders’ weight on my shoulders. You also have treasures, and many of them are the same as mine.
To see them you must have quiet. Shut off the television, close the laptop, mute your phone. This makes some people very uncomfortable, but don’t be afraid. There is very little that can happen in a quarter, half or full hour that cannot wait at least that long, particularly if you choose a time, as I do, when everyone else in your house is occupied or elsewhere.
Let me add here, that I am a list maker, and as my friend, Bonnie, has often said, if I am destined to live until my list is completed, I will probably live forever. Nonetheless, if I do not stop to restore my spirit, my energy also diminishes. It may very well be the same for you. If you think you do not have the time to take a few deep breaths, consider that you may be more efficient if you fill your lungs, slow your heart rate, and turn down the adrenaline.
Identify and release your burdens one by one. They will still be there when you are done, but you can let them go for a few minutes, then re-shoulder them one at a time.
- Weight out of control? You are not going to gain or lose any weight in an hour.
- Worry as I do about your mother’s unhappiness in the nursing home? Seeing her when you are so worried that you cannot make her happier with the visit will not make her situation any better.
- Worry about husband/wife over-working? He/she will still be over-working in an hour, and there isn’t much you can do to make him/her stop anyway.
- Worry about children’s grades? There will still be time for homework or tutoring in the afternoon if you give yourself and them an hour’s break in the morning.
- Does your sister accuse you of things that make you feel like this most horrible person in the world? Don’t worry. If it bothers you, then you are not.
- Is there so much stuff all over your house that you are afraid if you add one more thing it will simply explode and leave a crater where your home used to be?
And on and on and on…last week I had twenty-two “problems” to let loose. You have your own problems to “insert here.” Let them go, just for a few minutes.
Once they are gone, look inward. You are a miracle of creation. There are seven billion people on this planet, and yet you are unique among them. How crazy is that? Yet within those billions, many have the same problems and concerns as you. Why? Because it is part of being human.
- Most parents worry about their children. Just because we do it in different ways does not make it any less important to anyone who has a child.
- Everyone who is lucky enough to have their parents survive to old age will have to deal with their care.
- Houses are a lot of work. Some people are better at handling it than others. If you are good at it, that is a truly wonderful thing. Our family friend, Nancy, always has a beautifully decorated, serene house, and a perfectly weeded garden. I love going there and having coffee with her at her kitchen table where I will NOT put my elbows in grape jelly or tomato sauce.
- If you are not a great housekeeper, that’s okay. There is something else that you are good at. If everyone was the same, the world would be a very boring place. Do you think Michelangelo cleaned up all the dust from his sculpting? Did di Vinci put all of his tools in cubbies at the end of the day? My friend, Helen, is a great artist, but she asks me to read her letters and proof her marketing because I am the stronger writer. Sometimes I forget that until a time like now when I stop to think about how our friendship is based on mutual respect and admiration for each others’ talents.
- No matter what others seem to think about themselves, good or bad, everyone makes mistakes sometimes. If you have made one, apologize. If it is truly hurtful to someone else, try to make it right.
Now I can focus on my treasures. Again, you can “insert here,” because yours will be different than mine (Or maybe they are the same):
- I have a husband and sons to worry about. Perhaps the people whom you love or who love you play different roles in your life, but they are your blessings nonetheless.
- I have a home to worry about. It’s “where my stuff is,” and I have a lot of stuff because I have done a lot of things, been a lot of cool places, and received a lot of thoughtful gifts. I’m sure you love your stuff, too, whatever it is.
- A lot of people care about me. It is a slap in their faces to think their judgement is so poor that they would waste time on someone who doesn’t deserve it. If your family is small or non-existent, then there are your friends, or co-workers, or even the checker at the grocery store who smiles when he sees you every week. (In my case, every day!)
- Our boys are engaged to/dating girls that we like a lot. I am so happy they have found such great people to love them.
- Don’t ever forget Pop. Our son bringing his dog into our lives is a blessing we never could have expected.
- Our niece is staying with us. She has always lived far away and will again, so I never thought to have time to truly know her. She is terrific, and I will always cherish this time with her.
- The world is a very beautiful place, in spite of the traffic and urban development that is encroaching on my happy place. The night sky is still lovely with stars, and even if there are fewer visible with the city lights. I saw the great show of Venus, Jupiter and Saturn right before sunrise this week. Anyone could have seen the same without regard to where they find themselves in their lives.
- There is a lot of preserved green space, including in my backyard. There are buds on my azaleas and dogwoods that will explode with color in the next few weeks. If you don’t have a yard, then you can drive through a neighborhood that is blooming. The property may belong to them, but the joy at their beauty belongs equally to you.
- I am overweight, but, boy, I have had some great meals! Tomorrow we are planning to go to one of my favorite hamburger places. I do love their tater tots! When I eat, I am free with the gift of my appreciation. Very few cooks do not feel better about themselves when I am done singing their praises.
I could go on and on with my blessings, which, as it turns out, are far more numerous than my problems. See, I found my peace again thanks to you, my reader. You, too, are one of my blessings. I hope that you found yours because of the time you have spent with me.
P.S. I know there are lots of more serious problems that cannot be dealt with so easily. I have some myself. But the method holds true. If you can focus on the good things in your life, even for a few minutes, it can strengthen you enough to go on.