I am easily aggravated – there’s no sense in sugar-coating it. It has improved since I’ve started my journey towards mastering mindfulness, but I have much work to do. I have been able to recognize times it happens the most: when I’ve allowed outside events control the flow of my day(s) or when I haven’t had ample, quality alone time (MUCH needed for this introvert). Things start to feel out of control, and the smallest of infractions pluck every straining last nerve. Things tend to get better once I recognize this, when I’m able to write out my thoughts, and when I can step away, even for a couple of hours. For example, yesterday I was able to spend at least a couple of hours on my art which helped to center me. Really, I wish it could have been all day. Missing out on my full art days makes such an impact on my mood. Yet, who is to blame? It is easy, so, so easy to blame it on extenuating circumstances or on another person. But, the reality is it’s all on me. Anything else is an excuse.
So how does this tie into mindfulness? For starters, just recognizing the aggravation triggers is an important first step. But secondly, being mindful of what makes me happy, what makes me grounded, helps in making the choices of how I spend my time. To be frank, this would be infinitely easier if I was single. But with being married, I need to also balance time with the hubby. As simple as this sounds, this too can be an issue if both of us aren’t on the same page. As an example, Sunday morning this week found me face-t0-face with cleaning the hubby’s bathroom, a bathroom that would give a highly-traveled truck stop bathroom a good shaming. I volunteered to clean it, of course, because I was trying to be nice. Hubby was out playing flag football with the guys. After about three minutes of attempting to clean a toilet that really just needs to be trashed, I became furious. Furious, aggravated beyond reach, that I was spending my free time doing work that I hate to do, all the while hubby was out thoroughly enjoying his free time. It hit me that I was being ridiculous, that no one, hubby included, is going to value my free time like I can. I could have been painting all Sunday morning yet I had allowed myself to push it to the bottom of the agenda for no good apparent reason other than my inability to be mindful of my time. True, a house doesn’t clean itself (and I’m not wanting to hire someone to do it at this point), so it does need to be done at some point, but that’s not a reason to ignore my wellness, my happiness. Would it be nice if hubby cleaned his own bathroom? Yes, it would be absolutely delightful. But waiting on this to happen should not prevent me from pursuing the things I’d rather be doing.
Mindfulness is about being attuned to your every moment. It’s not easy – it takes work. But the payoff is a mind at ease, at peace. The payoff is being completely aware of yourself, taking care of yourself, and being aware of how you spend your time. I don’t look at my inadvertent trips down Aggravation Avenue as failures – far from it. They are learning points. The more I stay on top of the triggers, the less episodes of frustration I will experience. It will take time to master this. I may never fully master it – I am human after all. But I will not allow these moments to conquer me anymore. It’s my life, my time. My life, my time, is sacred. The only person who knows this, understands this, and respects this, is myself. The same will be true for you. You are sacred – treat yourself as such. If you fall down, know you can stand back up and keep moving.