I meditated today for the first time in over a week. My practice was thrown off by the trip to St. Louis and returning to Myrtle Beach has been stressful because we are in the middle of trying to move to Wilmington. I wish I would have stuck with my practice in St. Louis but, unfortunately, I found myself caught up in the day-to-day and am always kind of embarrassed that someone is going to catch me meditating. I don’t know why there is a bit of shame or discomfort about it… I should probably work on that.
Anyway, today was likely the most difficult 10-minute meditation I’ve ever had. I couldn’t get my mind to calm down at all and I felt like I was dragging through the whole thing. I beat myself up and judged myself a little bit, but eventually I just let the wild mind happen and made the best of it. My mind mostly wandered from worry to worry in my life, but upon examination I realized that my worrying was mostly a waste of time. Almost everything was beyond my control, or the things that I had control over I was already doing the best I could.
This election season is the most batshit terrifying of my life. Both primary candidates are unacceptable by most of the electorate and one only seems appealing because of how awful the other one is. There are all types of things to worry about how the President and government will run next year… but that’s the thing, we shouldn’t worry about that at all. It is 100% out of any of our hands. Our votes don’t really matter (particularly outside of a dozen or so “battleground” states), and even if our vote does matter all we can do is go to the voting booth in November and vote. We shouldn’t waste any real mental energy on it at all. Getting angry or afraid of the future only damages our own happiness.
I’ve also been stressing about finding a suitable house in Wilmington. I thought we found one but someone swooped in and turned in their application before us. I was angry at myself for not acting more quickly, except I shouldn’t be angry at myself. The past is the past, it is unchanging, it is a waste of my life to concern myself with it beyond using it as a lesson to change my behavior in the future. And I’m doing just that. I’m doing all I can to make sure we are in a position to apply quickly when a suitable house comes up. It is probably worth thinking about this process occasionally to make sure I am truly doing all I can, but when I am convinced that I’m doing all I can I should stop worrying.
Similarly, I have some interpersonal stress going on that involves some other people… but I can’t control other people. I can express how I feel and hope they change their behavior, or I can alter my behavior to “punish” them or try and hold them accountable, but if those actions actually make my life worse then I should just let it go. I only get to control my body and my mind, but those are the most important things. 99% of my life experience comes directly from my body and my mind, the rest is just noise. That is where I should focus…
- If I feel like my body is unhealthy I can cut out unhealthy food and habits, eat better, and exercise
- If I need more money I can sell things I own, cut out unnecessary bills, or try to work more
- If my mind feels unstimulated I can start reading more or watch a documentary
- If I’m unable to focus I can change my environment to make it more suitable for creation
- If I am having trouble sleeping I can cut off the computer 2 hours before bed and get into better sleep habits
- If my mind is a wild beast that can’t be tamed I can meditate or barf my thoughts into a blog post
Nearly every aspect of my life is within my control. And the things that are outside of my control I shouldn’t worry about because they are outside of my control. By focusing on them, stressing about them, letting them create anxiety, fear, or anger I let them creep into other parts of my life and give them control. I forfeit my relationships, happiness, and health when I worry about things that I can’t change.
So, I will strive to do better. I will work on me and not concern myself with the rest. My happiness belongs to me.