I decided to finally clean out the shed in our back yard recently. My wife left the house early on a Saturday morning to run some errands and I knew that my cleaning the shed would please her greatly.
On the way out the door to fulfill my noble task, I take a quick look at the morning mail and notice a past due bill so I run upstairs to write a check.
Upon reaching for the checkbook, I see there is only one check left, so I call my mom in Georgia and ask her to send me more.
My mom tells me my uncle Fred is not doing well, and she makes me promise to give him a call, so I ring him as soon as I get off the phone with her.
He’s happy to hear my voice, and reminds me that I still haven’t sent any recent family pictures. When I get off the phone, I run downstairs, get the pictures, run back upstairs, and put them in an envelope.
I wake my computer up to get my uncle’s address, and the phone rings. My neighbor’s on the line asking me if I can move our bicycles so he can get a delivery. As I move our bikes I see another neighbor taking out their garbage, and realize I need to quickly do the same.
I run in for the garbage and the phone rings again. This time it’s my daughter’s piano teacher explaining the upcoming monthly teaching schedule.
Needless to say, by the time I get off the phone, I wind up just missing the garbage truck, and I slink back to the house knowing my wife won’t be pleased having to keep the garbage for another two days.
At this point in time I realize that I need to establish my priorities and stick to them, or the day is really going to spin out of control.
I sit down to sort myself out, and after a bit of time spent thinking, my wife comes back home and cheerfully asks me what I have accomplished so far today.
Upon hearing her question I suddenly feel the beginning of a panic attack coming on. I missed getting the garbage out in time, I still haven’t written the check for the overdue bill, I haven’t yet addressed the envelope with the pictures for my uncle, and of course I have yet to begin cleaning the shed.
Soon the day will be half over, and not only am I not making headway, but I am losing ground!
Recognizing the emotional pain, I am in my daughter pulls me over to sit on the couch and climbs up on my lap.
“Daddy,” she says, “Why don’t you do what you told me to do the other day when I was upset? ”
“Take three deep breaths…”
“Look around you and notice that indeed the world is NOT falling apart…”
“And give thanks for all that you have, and all of the people who love you!”
Better advice has never been given.
When you find your life spinning out of control, take the time to breathe and feel into the emotional experience you are creating. Regardless of the task at hand, if you maintain a clear concept of who you are and what you are wanting to accomplish, you can stay on track and feel OK with all that transpires.