“Under construction…”

I hit a raised maintenance cover today. You know the one that is almost always spray painted orange?   The road to the train station is under construction and being repaved…

It actually gave me a quite a jolt.

My first thought was “Dang, I hope I didn’t ruin the car.”

My second thought was “Where did that come from?! I didn’t see it..!”

My third thought was “I wasn’t really paying attention, was I?!”

My last thought gave me a shocking revelation…I was not fully present when I hit it head on. I don’t even recall what I was thinking at that moment…

I remember a story my first mindfulness teacher once told…you would be driving along and you don’t really realize how you got from point A to point B until you get there. But even then, you are already on the next item on your mental list…

That’s the tough part, isn’t it?

It’s hard enough to stay present…but to be present ALL THE TIME…is almost impossible (well, for me it feels insurmountable!)

The “old” me would have berated and admonished myself to nauseam such that my whole day would have been shot. The words of the day would have been “fail, fail, fail.”

The “newer” me did something that would have given the “old” me an ulcer….I gave myself a break. The words of the day were, “this is not a big deal.”

…and you know what?  It really is not a big deal.

Sharon Salzburg (she is a mindfulness teacher who focuses on how we can practice loving kindness–and no, it’s not the mushy kind of stuff!  Google her. She is awesome! ) says give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

So, there you have it. My secret weapon. I have learned to give myself a break.

I also realized that I will probably be “under construction” for a long time…things ultimately will break down and I would have to rebuild…

Come to think of it, I like “under construction” better than “work in progress” since some days, I don’t feel as if I’m progressing at all…but I’ll save that for another blog…

Have a great week, everyone!

Debbie

Being taken for granted …

I let someone into my lane this morning. It was 7:30 am and I was trying to catch my train to work. But traffic was unusually bad this morning and everyone seemed on edge.

I see a car signal go off on my right and I thought to myself:

“Self, someone wants to go into our lane.  Do we let them in or not?”

“Perhaps we can just ignore it and let the car behind us deal with it…”

“But, good deed for the day, you know? What do we have to lose?  A few seconds? A minute?”

“Fine. Just one car.”

So I slowed down to let the little white Honda Fit in…and waited…

….and waited…

…for the obligatory wave.

No wave.

“That’s gratitude for you”, I mumbled.

Was it selfish of me to expect a little wave of thanks or even a small acknowledgment?

At 7:31 am, I was already in a terrible mood.

The good thing about my mindfulness journey is that I am getting better at not getting carried away.

I knew I had to pause and take stock of what I was feeling.

I noticed that my shoulders were tense and had started to hunch up…so, I took a deep breath and at the exhale, relaxed my shoulders.

I noticed that even my face felt tense…deep breath and massaged my brows a bit.

I noticed my hands were clenched almost into fists…deep breath and shook my hands and fingers.

When I got to the parking lot, I put on my headphones and put on Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”.

By the time I got on the train, my internal grey sky was starting to clear….and my day was back in balance.

It is really unnerving that one little thing such as a wave for letting one into my lane can matter so much…but for me, it just does.

It is probably because I always give a little wave when someone actually lets me in because it shows that I am not taking them for granted and that I really appreciate the gesture, however small.

I’m hoping tomorrow starts off better and if someone wants to go into my lane again, I get that small little wave…

…or maybe I should leave the house by 7 am…

Have a good rest of the week, everyone!

Debbie.

Making a difference…

My daughter came home from dinner over at a friend’s house and the first thing she said was “We had moose steak for dinner.”

Oh…quite exotic, I must say.

Then she said that Julia (the middle child of the family) created quite a discussion over dinner by saying “Dad, you had kill a moose for dinner.. how could you?”.

“Dad” hunts deer, moose, and goes fishing in the northern most parts of Canada once or twice a year…takes the kill to the butcher who magically transforms it to steaks, ground meat, filets, etc. to be consumed throughout the year.

…Julia’s dad, being the smart aleck we knew him to be…said “Well, we spared a cow’s life  by eating this moose.”

Julia is only 11 but my daughter says Julia has decided to go vegetarian when she is older. She says “animal lives matter”…

But, right now, she has to eat moose steak for dinner.

My daughter concludes “Julia is passionate about animals but I believe we have to think bigger…we have to take care of the planet we live in. What good is saving animals if we kill Planet Earth?”

Fighting words indeed.

My daughter then went on a rant of her own about how Man has completely destroyed the environment and showed me a Youtube video of a rapper named Prince EA. In his Youtube Video “Man vs Earth” he shows us what we have done to Mother Nature including global warming and deforestation of the Amazon.  Check it out…it is quite compelling.

My daughter has resolved that minimizing our carbon footprint is a good way to start. So, in the coming weeks, we are making sure recyclable items are recycled in the blue bin, compostable items go into the compost heap in the backyard or in the green bin, minimize the use of plastics including bringing our own bags when grocery shopping,  and maybe plant a tree in the backyard.

I am so proud and extremely happy to see her passionately support a worthy cause. Actually, it is a similar feeling when I see in the news about our future generation supporting causes to end poverty, women’s rights, access to clean water, etc.

“You are going be quite an activist when you are older…” I said smiling.

“I would need lots of money to make a difference though…” she said sadly.

“…no, no, NO!!”, I silently screamed.

Has this world really gone to hell that money is necessary for things to happen? To make a difference?

That is actually quite distressing if you really think about it….that only the rich can make a difference? Could you imagine a world full of Donald Trumps who turns a blind eye to global warming or thinks climate change is a myth?

…by the way, I never really understood why Donald Trump is considered a “billionaire” when he has declared “corporate bankruptcy” four times (the fact that The Donald deliberately distinguishes that from “personal bankruptcy” is really ridiculous….it is eerily reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s infamous “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky..”)……Right.

Anyway, I digress.

At any rate, I refuse to believe that to make a difference in this world that we really NEED money. It would be helpful, but it’s not necessary, or is it??

I think that if all of us reduce our own carbon footprint (for even just a little), it will make a big difference over time.  Recycling more, using less plastic, and mindfully thinking about our impact to our community are all…..FREE.

I think we just need a little jumpstart of the “hidden activists” within all of us.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Debbie.