Thursday, September 4, 2014

A little better


“I sometimes react to making a mistake as if I have betrayed myself. My fear of making a mistake seems to be based on the hidden assumption that I am potentially perfect and that if I can just be very careful I will not fall from heaven.”
Hugh Prather

I have to continually remind myself that there is no heaven. There is not big punishment waiting for me for any of the absurd things I have come to believe are “wrong.” Sure, there are consequences. But often, if not always, my perception of what the consequences will be is grossly misjudged. What, for instance, is the consequence of eating chips before bed? Well, if you could read my thoughts, you’d know that in my brain, the consequence is being a fat, worthless piece of crap who will never amount to anything (I am rather harsh). I will try and tell myself that I didn't eat a big dinner, or I should love myself as I am. I try and do the cognitive dissonance dance of figuring out a way to live with the shame of having done something I believe/perceive/know to be “wrong.” But I’ve got the wrong end of the stick. The consequence for eating chips before bed is probably thirst, which leads to drinking more water, which leads to peeing more often and sleeping less. This then results in a grumpy mom, a disgruntled household, and low productivity. It is added calories. And it might make me heavier. But I’ve even got that wrong too. Being heavier is not a moral wrong. There are consequences, sure. My knees might suffer. I might feel worse.

And that’s really what I’ve got to work with, isn’t it? How do my actions affect me and affect others? Am I making things better, or am I potentially making things worse?

“By approaching my problems with “What might make things a little better?” rather than “What is the solution?” I avoid setting myself up for certain frustration. My experience has show me that I am not going to solve anything in one stroke; at best I am only going to chip away at it.”
Hugh Prather

I have been pushing my feelings around lately - scooting them aside with food and alcohol and social engagements and phone use. I haven't wanted to take a good hard look at things. That’s a lot of pressure - going through rather than passing over. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be an excellent person. I fail, obviously, and then feel bad all the time. Well, this morning I took a little of Mr. Prather’s advice. What might make things a little better? That seemed doable.

I got up a little earlier. Not a lot but a little.
I meditated for five minutes. Nothing more.
I started the laundry before sitting down at the computer. Simple.

As I sat down at my computer I heard the voice in my head say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” I felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude toward myself and gave myself a little pat on the proverbial back.

That phrase is part of a verse from the Bible. I looked it up to try and remember its context.  It continues with, “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)
Wow. Well done, Minter. Well done. Share in the happiness that comes in the faithfulness of small things.

“To live for results would be to sentence myself to continuous frustration. My only sure reward is in my actions and not from them.”
Hugh Prather

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