Today, seven minutes after climbing out of bed, I spilled a two-pound canister of cat food on the carpet in my office. That, my friends, is a lot of kibble on the carpet.
But, after the initial, loud cussing outburst, I was okay. Pulled the vacuum out. Cleaned up the mess and begin to familiarize myself with the Ode de Cat Kibble that now is wafting around my desk.
Sure it was a hassle, but it was done. No need to carry it with me into the day.
I have learned over years of practice that how I respond to any moment whether it’s spilled cat food or a doctor saying ‘you’ve got cancer’ will determine how the next moment goes. You can let single moment grow into a train-wreck of a day, or you can let it pass into something better.
Of course irritating, messy, scary things happen, but how you respond will determine the quality of your life.
Knowing this, allows you to decide what you’ll bring to the moment.
Elevate Your Thoughts
The great teacher and head of the Meditation Museum, Sister Jenna says that our purpose isn’t to stop the dynamic, flow of life, but to “accumulate the thoughts and attitudes” that allow us to elevate the life experience for ourselves and the world.
To do this, we must let go of the limiting ideas and attitudes and think and feel from higher consciousness – the place where peace and love and kindness and joy and openness reside.
When you do this, it feels better — after all living with peace is so much more comfortable than living with hurt and hostility – and you also become a positive difference in the world. Simply by choosing to respond to difficulty with awareness, compassion and love you diffuse a difficult moment and elevate the experience for all.
There are many ways to do develop this kind of awareness so that you can elevate the moment. Meditation helps. Solitude and prayer and gratitude and the practice of savoring and self-compassion and mindfulness are good practices too.
But in all of this, there one little practice that does more than anything else to help me develop my awareness. It’s the practice of watching your thoughts.
I know it sounds a little woo-woo, new-agey. But for me, nothing has been more practical and powerful when it comes to diffusing my angst in the moment.
In Wednesday’s post, I’ll tell you how to do it.
Artwork by Erin Cairney White