Friday, February 27, 2009

Not sweating the small stuff

Richard Carlson wrote Don't sweat the small stuff in 1997 and it was one of the books that I read to help me through the dark days that have now passed.  Richard passed away in December 1997 but the lessons from his books will continue to point the way for those of us who need some guidance.

As with many self help books it is worth re-visiting from time to time so that you can remind yourself of some of the lessons and I thought that I'd pick out a few and talk about the lessons I've learnt in applying them to my journey.

"Learn to Live in the present moment."

I spent a lot of time pondering the past and worrying about what the future held.    The problem with that was that time passed without anything meaningful happening for me.  More than a year went by in my separation without any decisions being made - should I go back, should I move on - I carried a lot of guilt and spent a lot of time wondering what if.   Will I find forgiveness, how will any of us survive financally, is that a reason to go back?   Why did these things happen to me?  Will my relationships with my kids improve?

I was unable to find joy in the every day - if I saw my kids I walked on egg shells, I put on a front of false bravado, I avoided friends, which wasn't hard because they avoided me too.  But it made withdrawal easy.  I was never depressed, but looking back I don't think I was functioning as a fully emotional human being.  Maybe I never had been one because I'd spent a lot of my life hiding emotion and running from confrontation.

As each and every question was asked over and over again, the fear built and I withdrew more and more from making any decisions that would allow me to move forward.  And in that unknown selfishness also made it difficult for other people to move forward to.

Carlson says that if we learn to live for the moment the fear goes away.  But often that can only be done after the situation is analysed and pondered, at least that was the case for me.  When I finally felt I had come to know myself better than I ever had before, I was able to let the worry go and just start to exist again.  In that chapter Carlson quotes Mark Twain - "I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened."


Cinnamon said...

You write candidly about personal things- this is compelling to read. Thank you for reminding me to 'live in the present'- I find this difficult to do in practice. Perhaps a bit of quiet time or meditation each day is the way to go? Thanks for dropping by my blog:)

Recent blog post: Living Heroes...part 1

Romany Angel said...

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff has at times almost been like a bible to me. It's full of simple ways to make your life easier just by getting some perspective on the things that are really worth worrying about and making the most of what we have.

Recent blog post: Putting the "fun" into funeral

suZen said...

GREAT post! That advice to live in the present moment is so very important, and its found in all the wisest books, and the more I hear it the more I know it is vital! I just finished a year long study (with a book group) of Eckart Tolle's writing - key amongst it is the present moment living. One quote from this that I want to put on a t-shirt or something to remind me of it it:
Worry Pretends to Be Important!
Like that?

Recent blog post: Expressing Yourself (or the only Job you were born with)

josie2shoes said...

For over 35 years I've prominently displayed a small piece of polished granite on which is written "Life is not a problem to solve, it is a mystery to experience." I try to live by that, no longer wrapping myself up in anxiety about the past or what the future holds, it always manages to be so different from our best-laid plans and expectations. We really only have TODAY to live, so we need to immerse ourselves and our energy in that!

Loz said...

I know it is much easier said than done for me too Cinnamon

Recent blog post: Choose being kind over being right

Loz said...

Totally agree Gypsy but it's easy to forget them sometimes and that's why I keep dipping into them.

Recent blog post: Choose being kind over being right

Loz said...

I love that quote SuZen and I'll make sure I look up some of Tolle's writing

Recent blog post: Choose being kind over being right

Loz said...

And I love that quote too Josie. I am also very happy to hear how things are for you now.

Recent blog post: Choose being kind over being right