Sunday, November 25, 2007

Be Gentle With Yourself

Be Gentle with yourself and others....

This is so obvious, but it comes across in a "duh" moment this morning more than I can say. I will admit that I have been pushing myself through life and not necessarily taking good care of myself, and being self destructive in some ways, many ways.

So, I am reflecting on breaking things and thinking a little differently about that:

A recent clogged drain found me attacking the problem boldly: I thought I was doing well, because I hate plumbing, and yet find myself thinking this is a chore I should be willing to at least try to tackle before I call a plumber. So, plunger, snake and drain cleaner in hand, I could not unclog the drain. I stupidly tried a wire and poked a hole in the bottom of the drain trap. Dummy! The next morning, I woke up and thought: "I can loosen the trap, and fix the drain problem." Well, the first nut loosened easily, but the second did not turn at all: What turned instead was the entire pipe: it broke off near the wall. Well, this is an old house with old brittle plumbing...What did I expect?

Since the sink was in the spare bathroom, I just left it be until the day after Thanksgiving, which was a day off from my employment. I really did not think that I would find a plumber open, but what the heck. The first one I called was open, much to my surprise. About an hour and a half later, he showed up. He even put little paper booties on his feet so he did not track mud and slush in the house from the wet outside. He quickly replaced the drain, discovered it was not the trap that caused the clog, and snaked out the clog. That was great, and he gave me the senior discount on my bill, besides. What did I learn from this? Among other things, I am reminded that having the right skills and the right tools makes many things easy to do. And, I do not always have the right skill or tools.

Yesterday, while multi-tasking, talking on the phone with a friend, I was rolling the TV around as I often do. More than once, I have tipped the TV, but caught it. Not last night: Amazingly, the TV continued playing, and had missed landing on the stack of CDs I had put on the floor. The color was off. My friend suggested buttons on the remote, and I got out the instruction manual for the TV. It suggested, when the color was off, shutting off the TV and unplugging it for 30 minutes. That did not work, but I did not mind watching black and white TV. I realized, this morning, part of the reason I did not mind is that I watch a LOT of History Channel, and they show a lot of old black and white footage. I realized that, after having the TV unplugged overnight, and having the color restored this morning when I turned the TV back on. To the History Channel.. And, started watching black and white history footage interspersed with now color restored footage. The TV is working, with a slight ghost on one side of the screen. (I have not tried the DVD or VCR.) A reminder to me to be more gentle.

My thinking about having a possibly broken TV was interesting: I still have the 13 inch black and white TV I purchased in 1978, after working for a year on a stipend, as a volunteer for Catholic Family Service. Although my salary was very small, I felt rich compared, and appreciated being able to purchase and watch the television very much. The other TV I own was purchased in 1988. And I still appreciate it. So, my thinking includes that I have certainly gotten my money's worth out of televisions, and in the grand cosmic scheme of things, if this one was broken, or if it does not last very long, having been so damaged, so be it. But that shows, also a change in my thinking over the years: Have I been able to advance my thinking to be less concerned about material things or am I just enough financially comfortable to be less concerned about if the television breaks. To be honest, it is the latter. I have been blessed with comfortable (not extravagant but not poverty level) financial circumstances.

So paying for a plumber and replacing a television are not what I was planning to spend money on this month, but so be it, I can afford to do it..... Lesson not learned.

This morning, trying to get a coffee cup off the top shelf of the cupboard, where I store spare porcelain cups, I was neither being gentle nor careful, and I jarred loose a cup from an incomplete set that I rarely use. No big loss: but the message is clear: I have be more careful with myself, with my possessions, my relationships, my life. I need to be more gentle with my world, and not ride so roughshod through life, not caring how I impact others. Not caring that the self destructive practices of my life do impact negatively on the lives others, not caring that even though I have plenty, I need to steward what I have, and to share more. Lesson heeded, can I put it into practice?

This morning, when I signed on to blog, I did something I do not normally do, and clicked on to an unknown blog "Attitude of Gratitude." The name intrigued me. The writings are about gratitude, and about someone who is working on sobriety, and has been for some time. Lesson heeded, can I put it into practice?

I know I need to take better care of my life: tend to chores at hand, be more mindful, steward my self, my body, my resources, my relationships. Spend less time twiddling life away, take more time being a better person. I can do that.... Lesson heeded, can I put it into practice?

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