It had been a while. I know. I could name a million different excuses, heaviest courseload yet, four year old that needs my attention, increasingly stressful work environment, or even rocky relationships that require attention. But the truth of the matter is that I haven’t prioritized the things that are most important to me. In our church small group last week we had discussed anger. Probably a very good topic for this point in my life. I struggle with anger in a way that I haven’t before. Part of it is my ever increasing road rage. I’m constantly rushing to the next activity, church, school, yoga, home, work, etc. Therefore I hate every car that gets in my way of me arriving on time or sooner. I realized that this is the American entitlement coming out. The very thing I hate in the world around me, I find that I myself possess. I feel entitled to have full reign of the roads. I feel entitled to not be inconvenienced in any way. I really hate that I possess that entitlement. I have also found that I have a shortness in dealing with co-workers, family, friends, and strangers. Things that used to not bother me, things I could just overlook with ease, now drive me crazy. I am short with people who are undeserving of the unkindness. Sometimes I find myself getting into fights that aren’t worth it. That I would otherwise dismiss. It seems I have all this anger and it needs a place to get out. This new anger just makes me really unhappy with myself.
This particular small group had a quote that made me realize what the main issue is for me and my anger. “If someone is looking for a fight, it is because they aren’t already in one.” My anger at the rest of the world is simply misdirected anger. My life should be a fight for something. I’m a passionate, energetic individual. If I spent that passion and energy on a fight that was a worthy cause, all the other little things wouldn’t get my attention. I would have no energy or anger to expend on the petty day to day items. However, right now it is the petty things that are getting my attention.
My sister, man I hate getting counseled by my little sis, told me about a Buddhist monk who in one of his books said that he was able to give to the poor and less fortunate unreservedly without ever feeling spent or overwhelmed because he as able to rely on the peace that was within him. This peace took years to acheive. So oftentimes as Americans we say you can’t give all you have, you have to look out for yourself. You have to put yourself first. I have always had an issue with this. I never found it Biblical. Isn’t most of what we are called to do is to give to others. I can’t seem to guiltlessly give to myself and put myself first. But maybe it is not about giving to yourself or putting your needs over others, maybe it is finding what fight is worthy to fight and focus your energy on that. And when you establish your purpose and you engage in that fight, the peace that you find within is what will energize you.
As I age, and hopefully mature, I find that the ability to priortize is one of the most important abilities you can possess. Maybe that monk had the ability to priortize and not waste unneccessary energy on the things that didn’t matter in his fight. I’ve not been very good at priortizing. I lost sight of my fight. I have so many things going on my life constantly, that I am in survival mode. I go from one activity to the other, complete whichever task is due next, and hope to God that I can get a moment of rest somewhere in there. I’m not giving my best to any area of my life, I’m just giving whatever I have left. Because of this relationships, school, church, work, and my causes suffer. Whatever is loudest in my life gets the most attention and sometimes that can be a relationship that isn’t deserving of the time and effort it requires or maybe it is a project at work that gets all my focus and it, in the large scheme of things, is undeserving. So my child who is just happy to get any part of Mommy he can get, gets the least of me because he is four and far more forgiving that an adult relationship or a communications paper. Priortizing is not easy. It requires the ability to say no. Something I have never been good at. It requires the ability to plan, another skill that has escaped my grasp. It requires establishing the true purpose of one’s life, even if only for the time being, and living your life based on that purpose.
I’ve gotten into yoga and paying more attention to what I put into my body. I’ve also focused on how my actions impact the planet and those around me. Trying to be more “green.” I’ve never been very environmentally focused. But I like the idea of intentional living. That is why yoga has caught my attention. It is so intentional. Focusing on your breathing, movements, and your body’s response to it, is very refreshing. I find myself far more aware in general because of the practice. When looking at a grocery store ad while shopping, I then return it to its carousal rather than take it home and just throw it away. Why should my laziness waste paper? Intentional living. Its something I am exploring becasue I feel that it will help with the practice of priortizing. Noting how and what you do affects those around you. Noting how my laziness in fixing dinner impacts my child’s health when I give him a hotdog and chips. Or even more so, how much I want to sit and read a book or watch a stupid tv show rather than engage in the development of this amazing kid who thinks I am “the best mama ever.”
So, I’m back to write on this blog to figure out what “fight” I decide to put my energy into. I need a fight. I don’t need to be constantly looking for fights just to expend some pent up anger. No, I need to figure out what is worth my time and energy and live intentionally based on that decision. Who knows what that will look like, but I’m anxious to find out. Maybe someone will stumble upon this blog and be interested in joining me on this journey.