Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Moving On With Awareness

Hey All. 

As discussed on Wednesday, this past week was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.  Along with refraining from eating, drinking, and other activities normally taken for granted, Jews are encouraged to atone for their sins, perform acts of kindness and righteousness, and to find ways to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Those of you who have been to services in synagogue on that holiday know that it's quite long and repetitive.  It's not designed that way because there's a test later, or because some snooty hall monitor wants to make sure you're following along with every word.  My understanding is that it's meant to provide a background for direct communication between ourselves and the Almighty.

So during that period of communication, I not only asked for forgiveness for my slips and foul-ups, I asked for a roap map, or a guide-post, to see how I could reduce, if not eliminate, further instances of what I'd done.  And wouldn't you know it, I received an answer.

The worst sins I committed this past year were not against other people, but against myself.  I'd been guilty of holding onto anger, worry, fear, and stress long after the causes of these feelings had disappeared or become resolved.  This is the equivalent of neglecting to remove trash from a full receptacle.  Too much buildup that can only be destructive (anyone seen "Hoarders" lately?)

The sad thing is, I'd blogged against this practice of psychological self-mutilation many times, but was guilty of doing the same thing myself.  So what was the way to avoid this?  Simple commitment and practice.

As my father still likes to remind my sister and I, our minds sometimes wander on their own, but we are able to control this wandering.  We can decide what thoughts occupy space in our heads, but when we don't, our minds will repetitively regurgitate thoughts that will never give us a moment's peace.  

So in that spirit, here's the guidepost I received:

(1) If the situation is still ongoing, do whatever is necessary to resolve it.
(2) If it is finished, or nothing can be done to resolve it, cease thinking about it.
(3) If at first you can't stop thinking about it, actively concentrate on other matters.

Not an easy task, but I know that life will be infinitely better if it's done.  The key is to practice it every time a negative thought rears its head.  After that's done enough times, it will hopefully replace the former stress out/stay angry/stay worried/stay paranoid/stay hopeless-and-then-find-out-it-was-nothing-in-the-first-place practice that traps us far too often.  And let's face it, having that reaction is just as bad as that kid who pulls a fire alarm when there's not really a fire.  Creates a whole crazy scenario that was completely unnecessary!

Well, it's been less than a week, but I have been attempting to put it into practice.  Yeah, sometimes an issue at work will enter my thoughts on the weekend when I'm not working, but if I can't think up a solution to the problem right then and there, and email or text a note to myself to fix it on Monday, then I get busy and active doing anything else but think about it.  Given my normal tendency to vege and chill whenever I'm able, this does not seem completely natural.  But if it gets me off of this vicious cycle, without yelling "Jane stop this crazy thing" like George Jetson, then so be it.  :)

That doesn't mean you get lazy and irresponsible and just blow off your work duties or family responsibilities.  It just means that there's a time and place to deal with them, and a time and place to NOT deal with them AT ALL.  A high school football team does not discuss its algebra homework in the huddle, and a business executive does not discuss his child support payments and board meetings.  Do likewise.

That's my piece, all.  Have a good Sunday night!