Thursday, September 04, 2014

Aggravation---and Learning To Drop It

Maybe it's just me, but I am finding myself irked frequently yesterday & today. I am thinking I need to resume my 3 Cs wristband challenge, in which I have to switch my wristband to the other wrist every time I criticize, condemn, or complain.

Last night, when I was making my first recipe in the La Luna Cooks Mrs. Yoder project, wheat oatmeal bread, and forgot to halve the water amount, resulting in unworkably sticky dough & the need to add the rest of the originally-called-for-amounts of everything, I was terribly annoyed with myself for forgetting. However, the bread turned out nicely and I had enough to eat at home, send to work with Jeannene, and give to the neighbors. So, it was silly to be irked. It also taught me a good trick, suggested by my clever wife---write in the half amounts next to the whole amounts before beginning the actual cooking! Aha!

Today, when I was driving to the gym, and again driving home, I was horribly impatient with the other drivers around me. "Go! Go! Go! What are you DOING??? The light's greeeeeeeeeeen!!!" This morning, it was completely my fault I didn't start as early as I liked, completely my fault I lay in bed too long talking myself into going, completely my fault I stayed up reading until 1:30 this morning and thus had to talk myself into getting up & going to the gym. Not their fault & they were only driving normally, not going super slowly just to hinder my progress. At least I seem to have learned, for the most part, not to call other drivers idiots or worse. Maybe if I slip my wristband back on, I can learn to be chill when I am moving slowly. Pity the gym's not in the opposite direction as the traffic, but it isn't, I know it, and I might as well just relax & listen to the world news. Wait, that's not relaxing! How about if I use the trick of the Greyhound driver my mom encountered on the Charleston, WV, to Nashville route all those years ago? When someone cut him off or otherwise performed a jerk traffic move (either out of inconsiderateness or, more likely, just not paying as much attention as they could), he would say something like, "Careful, sweetie" or "Ease back a little, honey." Perhaps another "My religion is lovingkindness" bumper sticker would be a good practice aid, as well. I miss that sticker.

In the pool, I felt terribly snarky about a woman who entered the pool after me, chose a spot right next to me (cramming me close to the wall), & proceeded to tell me that she had to be somewhere afterward & didn't want to get her hair wet. She asked that I refrain from splashing her, saying, "You know, like Sea World. This can be the no-splash zone." Well, I didn't deliberately splash her, but I sure was tempted & I definitely would have enjoyed seeing her soaked & resembling a drowned rat. Isn't that mean? I told her I could sure try, then proceeded to do my workout as I normally would. It's a water workout. You can't expect not to get wet. However, my irritation with her arrogant request took me into some pretty mean thoughts and I try really hard not to be mean, even in my thinking. I am probably too compliant, but when a friend said she'd pray for the woman, I thought, "What a better response." Although, it was pretty funny to write about the ridiculousness of it on Facebook & composing my post while I bristled in the pool allowed me to relax into my workout instead of allowing her demand to ruin my morning. I also think a lot of times, the best we flawed humans can demand of ourselves is outward kindness. Even then, it can take an extra measure of grace to act that way.

Then, dealing with our property management company set me back into growly mode, as it usually does. Their communication is terrible, both with us and within the company. I can speak to two different people and get two completely different answers on just about any matter. Further, they seldom seem to want to go to any effort to fix a problem. However, today, I was given permission for something I've been asking about since January, so that's a great thing.

And that's the trick. It's looking for the great things, instead of focusing on the annoying things. It's recognizing that I am capable of fixing a baking mistake & producing yummy bread. It's grinning as I remember the old man who let me into the flow of traffic as I waited and waited. It's appreciating the woman in my water workout class who helped me figure out one of the moves when I couldn't understand what the instructor was saying. It's delighting in the wee, tiny boy in the gym's café who was sharing with me his enthusiasm for the construction equipment outside. It's the thrill of sneaking across the street to leave a surprise loaf of bread on Beth's door. It's anticipating with great joy the tea date I have with my mom for this afternoon. This, friends, is why I strongly advocate the practice of gratitude journaling. At the end of the night, I remember the bright, shining spots of the day and give thanks, instead of allowing the (pretty dang insignificant) clouds to blot out the light. It's a much better way to live.

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