December 7th

It's December 7th. One of my least favorite days of the year, falling directly between the anniversary of my late brother's death and my late Mom's birthday. It's easy to fall into the "woe is me". But also, takes less than a millisecond to snap out of it.

I am grateful for my family and friends and everything else in my life. A life full of friendship, travels, and good fortune, and I think that's what my brother and Mom would want for me.

I haven't been blogging much lately. Just haven't had much to share. Also, I'm trying to disengage from thing that cause me unnecessary stress. Turning off the TV and radio from the threat of fiscal cliffs and other political discourse. Staying away from school issues, local issues and focusing on the homefront. My family, the house and our dog. There is more than enough food for thought just worrying about tree removal. No one needs to hear days of blogging with titles like "Jane gets arms stronger than Tarzan lugging debris to curb".

Earlier this week I heard a story on the radio, that I immediately rejected. It focused on teaching kids with ADHD how to meditate to improve their concentration.  I found myself taking their advice in spite of myself later that day. They recommended "unplugging" and teaching kids to concentrate on clearing their minds, or to focus only on the task at hand.

Imagine me - late as usual - sitting in slow I-287 traffic - heading to see someone with whom I expected a confrontation. I was REALLY late (not just my usual 5-10 minutes). It started with me realizing that stressing about it wouldn't change my situation. I'd left late and now I was forced to sit in traffic. Like a time out for adults. Instead of sitting in the corner or on the stairs, I was buckled into my car that I couldn't move beyond the occasional lane change. The frustration was building up.

I turned off the radio.

And I forced myself not to think about my destination, and I kept reminding myself that at rush hour there is always traffic (tsk tsk for leaving late!).

I let my eyes switch their focus between the road ahead of me and the clouds in the horizon straight ahead (mostly on the slow-moving traffic). I noticed all different shades of blues, grays and whites, with just a bit of pink toward the west where the sun was just setting.  I lost myself, a little, in the colors of the sky just above the horizon... and for a moment even a crowded suburban highway looked beautiful. I realized that the sky is beautiful everywhere.

Sounds totally corny, right?

But it worked!!! I arrived at my destination. All my worries pressed less intensely. There was no confrontation or even awkwardness.

Since this worked, I've been trying to turn off. Reading instead of watching TV. Trying to concentrate on one task at a time and keeping life in perspective.  Hopefully I will continue to this trend through the holidays and well into 2013.

It's the best gift I could give myself.

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