December 24, 2016

Lost, Misplaced & the Mysteries of the Universe.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably found yourself impatiently searching for something you’ve lost or misplaced.

Maybe you’ve rummaged through the console of your car, torn through a desk, or wandered your home fighting off the exasperation of a search, quietly offering unwitting pleas to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost things.

I know it’s in here.

I just had the dumb thing.

Although I live alone, I’m convinced there’s something afoot in my home. Playful elves must be hiding my television remote. Fairies are giggling as they slip my cellphone under a magazine or between the cushions of my couch. Malevolent spirits are surely eating the last bits of a bar of dark chocolate I’ve carefully stored in a cabinet.

These are the mysteries of the universe for which I seek answers. Apparently, Ghost Hunters doesn’t specialize in this sort of paranormal investigation, so I’m forced to consider other measures.

I’m going to have to pay attention, to be mindful of the little things I do to disrupt my own peace of mind. No, these aren’t matters of life and death. Well, maybe the misplacement of dark chocolate rises to that level. But for the most part, these little nuisances are drops of water in the ocean of life.

But they’re a bit like chocolate chip cookies. (Again—the chocolate. I may have a problem.) Eat one cookie. No big deal. Eat a plateful and my mood is affected as well as my waistline. Eat a plateful every day and my doctor and I are likely to have conversations about weight loss and my blood sugar. In short, losing track of things—these little cookies of distraction—can become a threat to my well-being.

Paying attention to small distractions is the first step toward eliminating them—and dealing with even larger ones. Make enough small changes over a long enough period of time and at some point you’ve made dramatic progress. Save a little more money. It’s there for an emergency. Eat a little less and lose those last few pounds. Meditate a few minutes longer and you uncover the source rather than just the symptoms of a problem. These skillful measures are the stuff of the mindful path. It’s a journey, but with a destination in mind.

I know I’ve made some progress. I don’t get as frustrated as I once did when I misplace something. Most of the time I’m able to remind myself I simply need to slow down and talk back to the voices telling me I should let myself to be irritated or hurry up my search. I’m finding that having less means it’s harder for the elves, fairies and spirits to toy with my things. But I can still make changes that limit the need for as teachable moments.

I’ve found a place for the remote control. Top shelf of the bookcase. My wallet and keys go on the dresser. My journal belongs on my coffee table. The cell phone is still a challenge. I need to find a place for it too. But as I examine that thought, I’m suspicious. It might be a thing that owns me rather than me owning it. So I’ll work to be more skillful with it, to be more mindful, and the other small things that sometimes distract me. I’ll find a place for my phone and leave it there.

I’ll continue to examine and let go of things that have neither functional nor spiritual value in my life. Sometimes it’s the way I think or respond to my circumstances. Sometimes it’s my stuff. Sometimes it’s the wrong stuff I believe. Whatever it is, there’s one thing I’m certain of: I need to do a better job of stocking my home with dark chocolate.

I think Saint Anthony would approve.




Author: Jim Owens

Photo: Gremlins movie still

Editor: Travis May

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Jim Owens  |  Contribution: 5,465