Yesterday I told the story of Annabeth, a Toyota Camry rental, and me. That story was fun to live and fun to write about.
But that’s not the end of the story. Things took a tragic turn once the kids entered the picture.
The plot thickened when Sofia found an old, cheese puff under the driver’s side seat. Mommaaaaaa?!?! There’s an old cheese puff under your seat!! Eewwwwah! Sofia was totally paniced. Old cheese puffs are seriously toxic. Especially old shriveled ones in rental cars. She could not look away, transfixed by its disfigurement.
Just look away, honey. Ignore it. I’ll get it later. I replied.
I could feel her staring at the cheese puff not wanting to look away for fear it would move, come closer. She was memerized, truly. This “bad thing” that she did not want was calling her like a siren.
Time passes, my day gets away from me and I totally forgot about the “problem”.
(Fast forward to after school pick-up.)
Hey, girls. How was your day? I asked.
Fine, but Tanner sat too close to me at music again and Fin was picking his nose and ….. (long, awkward pause …..)
Momma? The cheese puff is still there. You didn’t pick it up like you said you would. Sofia was totally focused on the cheese puff again. Her discomfort was palpable.
Oh, yeah. I forgot. Can’t you just ignore it? Don’t worry about it. It’s going to be okay. I said.
Nooooo, it’s groooosssss. It’s really bugging me!!!!! I want you to get rid of it when we get home!!
(Fast forward to the next morning, getting in the car at 8:30am.)
Um, Momma? The cheese puff is still there. You NEED to get rid of it. Sofia needed this “problem” to be fixed immediately in order to enjoy the ride to school.
(Long, drawn out sigh.) So, I complied.
Okay. Fine. I’ll do it now. I ripped off a corner of the rental car agreement papers that were in the side pocket. I picked up the bothersome old cheese puff and properly disposed of the hazardous material.
Once the situation was different, she was able to see the car, and the car ride, differently. Except .. only moments later I heard …. Momma? I like our car better. When are we getting our car back?
Sofia needed the yucky cheese puff circumstance to change before she could be happy. But, interestingly enough, as soon as the first problem was solved there was another right on its heels to focus upon.
What’s your cheese puff?
In other words, what situation or circumstance do you feel needs to change before you can be happy? Is it a friendship that went sour and you think about it every time you see her at the gym? Does your pant size need to be size 6 instead of 12 before contentment can wash over you? Do you need your income to be more like the guy down the street with the big hourse and fancy car before you can rest easy at night? Is your marriage broken and it’s driving you nuts, all the time?
The one thing no one ever tells us when we’re young is that the reason we all want for anything—the more money, the better body, the happier relationship, the larger email list, the more FB likes, the adoration of our spouse, the old cheese puff to be gone … is that we believe that in the having of it (the new condition or circumstance) we’ll finally be happy.
There’s a flaw in that belief, however. If we wait to be happy until we have the perfect conditions, we’ll never be happy. Both you and I know that once you get the thing that you’re wanting (the change in the situation or condition), you’re going to find something new to want by the next morning. It’s the nature of our desire. We’re born to always want more; it’s part of the creative process. And it’s more than okay.
Here’s a trick to use to feel better, now. I mentioned it in the beginning but I’ll say it again here.
Look away from the cheese puff.
In other words, ignore the reality of what is. The “isness” of your world is the siren’s call. In the Illiad and the Odyssey, the sirens called the sailors toward them with their illusive beauty and song. The men didn’t want to look, but they couldn’t help themselves. Their focus on what they didn’t want truly was their demise. If they had only looked away …
My advice? Ignore the stuff that makes you anxious, upset, frustrated, and annoyed. Look away from the “evils” that call for your attention and feel bad when you observe them.
Look away from the old cheese puffs in your life.
If you look in the direction of what you do want, instead of looking at what you don’t want, then you’ll change what you “attract”. In other words, your focused attention is what causes an increase in any result in your life, good and bad.
I know, I know. You’ve been taught to be “realistic”. Your mom told you that all the time growing up. David, you need to be realistic. Money doesn’t grow on trees. or Jenny, how are you going to do that? You’re a lawyer, not an artist!
If you live your life by what is realistic, you’re living your life by the headlines of yesterday’s newspaper. You’re a step out-of-time. Your current reality? Old news. It’s the end result of your thinking, feeling and acting—in the past.
So, if I may be so bold, I’d would like to encourage you to …
1) Look away from the old, stale cheese puffs in your life as often as you can and instead look at what you want, even if it’s still in a virtual reality form.
2) Decide what you want and imagine how great it will be when you get it. That’s a much better use of your time and energy and you’ll feel better … before anything has to change in your physical world. And then when you get to the point where you don’t need others (situations and circumstances) to change in order for you to be happy …. you’ll be completely (stale cheese puff) free.