As I tried to write a complete blog post, start to finish, something became apparently clear. The dog was banging at the door so I would let him outside. Messages were popping up at the top of my phone and I struggled over whether to write another sentence or answer the message. I couldn’t finish one single thing. Not a complete thought, not a single decision. My mind was all over the place much like my racing heart. I had to stop for a minute and ask, are all these distractions the reason I have felt so anxious lately. Could the answer be as simple as putting down my phone and only checking it certain times a day? I can’t even imagine how much time I waste surfing through nothing new and checking a screen when there’s nothing important there. On the other hand, that distraction is what makes the other distractions a little more bearable. Are we stuck in a viscous mental trap we may never be able to escape?
Habits are so hard to change, even the good ones. We get so used to going through motions that they become almost robotic. We just move with no intention or thought behind what we are doing as our mind lies dormant and unstimulated. We become comfortable or maybe even unknowingly numb and when something is really, awesomely good, we don’t have the capacity to feel it anymore.
Wake up, smell the coffee, enjoy every sip and linger in every moment. Show up for your life. Don’t miss the only chance you get.
Here’s a short, funny story filled with inspiration. I am following the daily email version of A Course in Miracles. Yesterday, I was sent a meditation titled, You can manifest anything, even a cup of coffee. Okay, I’ll listen and keep and open mind. And so I did. This morning I sent my daughter to Starbucks to get us some coffee. She just sent me this text and I am sitting here chuckling to myself in disbelief. There is nothing like a random act of kindness to brighten someone’s day. Coincidence? You decide.
Today everyone seems unusually friendly. In stores, people are smiling and making friendly conversation. One man in particular got a pretty good chu kle out of me. He was probably in his 70’s, a tall man, balding with glasses and a light brown overcoat. He looked at me and as I smiled at him he smiled back and told me wearing his new plaid scarf made him feel like a character from a Charles Dickens novel. We stood there giggling and I told him how crazy my parents are with frequenting casinos. I told him how much I look forward to the free gifts they get and how Im looking forward to wearing my silly heated scarf. As my coffee was placed on the counter and my name was called, I smiled one last time at that old man and we exchanged happy new year. Then I smiled one last time when I remembered my coffee was free thanks to a gift card handout. I was really starting to feel grateful for those silly casinos. I enjoyed every sip of that wonderful coffee, and just for today it was okay to get the whip cream on top. Thats how days should feel, happy and friendly with whip cream on top. Here’s wishing you one of those days.
We used to say I’ll see you later, now replaced with I’ll text you later. We are spending countless hours of quality time with our cell phones and very little time in the company of actual people. It’s a lonely world and the new normal is actually eating me alive. I miss the times when friends got together to talk or shop or sat down to enjoy a meal together. Now a days, everyone is always so busy doing what exactly I don’t even know but just trying to schedule a time or day to meet is so exhausting that usually I can’t even get past that step. It can last days, or weeks and sometimes even months, all the while resulting in texts and messages back and forth that never amount to anything more. I wish it didn’t bother me so much. I wish I didn’t used to have people I adored and loved right on the same street always available and up for any adventure. I wish I didn’t move around as much as I do having to start new friendships and saying goodbye to people I had grown so close to. It’s hard and it’s exhausting and sometimes I think it’s easier to just stay lost and alone. Every time I say goodbye, I leave a little piece of me behind, until one day, I woke up and realized there wasn’t enough left of me to lose.
My wish today is that everyone who reads this reaches out to someone. Call them up, invite them for coffee but make an effort and follow through. People need people, not silly cell phones and computers that make them feel even more alone. Make time now because time is the one thing that runs out quicker than we believe it will.
A very wise blogger friend of mine pointed something out to me yesterday that I found to be very significant. We have a choice every day to stay neutral in situations. I was talking about how everyone around us affects us like it or not. Whether we know them or not, their interaction with us has a direct affect on how we are feeling and our general outlook on life and the world. What then I ask do we do when interaction after interaction is selfish, confrontational and unpleasant?
Let me explain. I started my day off with my son nagging me to switch him out of vocal music. I knew in one short hour I had another meeting with the entire team of teachers, counselor, and principal so I wasn’t jumping up and down excited about my day. Anyway, I survived the car ride and the meeting and to find some calm and clear me head, I called my mom and headed to Starbucks. I was already wrapping the conversation up as I walked in but needed to get a few more things off my chest. I am anxious and a little fired up but I was allowing this time for my very favorite indulgence, a white mocha.
This late 50/early 60 year old woman stared at me over the top of her glasses. Then she looked away and said “stop talking!” I don’t think she really expected me to acknowledge her but her passive aggressiveness could not go ignored. I announced loudly to my mother that I needed to hang up because my talking was bothering the woman sitting across from me. She then thanked me and I asked for what, meeting her demands? I then pointed out I didn’t appreciate her mumbling about me under her breath and she had more polite ways to handle the situation. She could either move her seat since the entire place was empty or at least ask me in a kind manner to please be a little quieter.
It’s a selfish epidemic that we suffer in these troubling times. Somewhere along the way, the kindness, compassion and respect we once extended to one another has become replaced with selfishness, our own demands and the expectations we have about how things should be that directly accommodate our selfish selves.
But today, instead of letting it eat a hole in my spirit, I am going to focus on the lady that walked through the door and flashed me a great big smile. I am not going to let the anger, rudeness, or lack of respect of a total insignificant stranger drag me to that dark place she chooses to reside. I will remind myself she is only as big as I allow her to be and she only holds some sort of power over me if I allow her to. Why on earth would I actively choose that for myself? I will feel it and peel it. I will not allow it to stick to me where I carry it around and stick it on another. So, thank you friend for reminding me the power lies in how I choose to deal with negativity and not accepting that the negativity leaves me no choice but to be negative myself.
There are days I wake up calm. Days that the usual annoyances don’t seem to find their way under my skin. Days where I take a mental vacation from all my responsibilities and allow myself to go through the motions free of thought. I used to go to Starbucks on a frequent basis. It was a place that allowed me the freedom to sit and observe or relax and write. My favorite drink is white mocha but since I started watching my weight, I switched over to a skinny vanilla latte. I still drive through once in a while but I don’t in any way look forward to my coffee the way I used to. It’s become something that once in a while I just do.Today, I treated myself to a nice warm white mocha. I think when we indulge ourselves with something frequently we lose some of the enjoyment. But today, when I took my first sip, boy was I grateful. I think life is like a dull cup of coffee. We move ourselves through the motions but we also cheat ourselves out of enjoying the little moments. We stop noticing them and become prisoners to the very schedule that holds us hostage.
Today, I hope everyone finds time for their white mocha moment. It is so important to treat ourselves to something that just feels good, because feeling good feels good. And shouldn’t that be what life is about, finding as many moments in our life to linger in the good? So what is it that makes you feel good? Make a list and on a bad day when it feels your world is falling down around you, choose from that list and do something kind for yourself. Sometimes there is no one but you that can turn your day around and sometimes you have to be your own hero.
Dear person sitting in the corner at Starbucks. I am watching you write frantically as if you’re writing your last will. I can see the focus and urgency in the way you hold your pen. I can’t help but notice the way it moves across your paper after reading a few lines from the book that is propped open and taking up all the space in front of you. What are you studying and what are you struggling to become? I can’t help but wonder as I sit here staring at your tiny table while you are completely absorbed in your own productive world.
Dear man sitting in the cozy chair, why are you so busy today, iPad in one hand, and grasping your cell and texting with the other? I want to take your technology away and prop up your feet so you can sit back comfortably in the chair the way you are meant to be.
Dear young dad in the other chair sweetly holding your baby boy in your arms, caught up in conversation with the baby’s mom. Do you realize how fast that little guy will grow? Take a moment and look into his eyes because in the blink of an eye he will be 14 years old. Soak it all in because someday you will look back and miss these amazing days of watching him grow.
Dear 20 something sitting at the table in front of me. I see you scrolling and scrolling checking Facebook. What are you searching for? A comment, or perhaps that little green light that lets you know someone is available to chat. I am right here behind you waiting to talk. All you have to do is turn around.
I wish I could take all the tables and push them aside. What if I moved all the chairs and placed them in one gigantic circle? Would that lead to a conversation or would we still sit unattached? Would you tell me a story about your life that you haven’t told anyone else? Could we spend some time listening to each others voice instead of talking and communicating through our hands? It’s just a thought I had while sitting in this small space with people who are physically here, yet still very far away.