Friday, June 11, 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!

And it's all small stuff, or so the saying goes.  It was a favorite of my grandmother's, who used to tell me, "Don't sweat the small stuff, Sweetcheeks!"  Sometimes the simple, common sayings that we take for granted can be a source of great wisdom.

I'm not sure that it's all small stuff, but I think most of it is definitely small stuff.  It's human nature to project our what-ifs out into a future that hasn't even happened yet.  I do know that for me, most of the things I find myself concerned with on any given day I won't remember six months from now, let alone at the end of my days when I'm looking back at what made my life exceptional, worthwhile, and uniquely mine.

The small things can take a big amount of energy if we let them, so there's a balance to be found in attending to them.  Keeping my house clean, or at least clean enough, I consider small stuff, but the quality of my life would be greatly reduced if I didn't consider it at all.  And I'm really grateful that I have a house, and this particular small thing, to deal with.

I remember a message at Unity a few months ago in which Rev. Ken suggested that we ask ourselves, "What am I willing to do to create an exceptional outcome?"  It occurs to me that we can ask this of ourselves about a particular situation, the day in general, or about our lives as a whole.  Focusing our attention on how we can be our best selves in a moment or with our lives helps take the attention off of the frequent, nagging, and in-the-long-run less important issues that surface.

A common example that comes to mind is those drivers on the road who cut us off in their hurry to get where they're going.  Rude drivers don't get to me very often, but they drive my husband crazy.  (Honey, are you reading this?)  One response is to sweat it, and thereby give it more power than it deserves over the quality of my day.  Another response would be to ask what I'm willing to do to create an exceptional outcome in the situation.  I find this amusing to think about - a very lofty consideration for a very small event.   Maybe blow the driver a kiss?  Or perhaps just choose to bless and see the Christ within him (or her) and move on with the gift of what's ahead.

What am I willing to do to create an exceptional outcome in this day?  It's a bit hard to think about, because I'm accustomed to just doing what I do in the roles that I fill, and that takes up quite a bit of the creative energy that I put into my day.  But what if I took back just a little of the energy that it takes to fulfill my roles, and use it to decide what I will do that's new or different, something exceptional.  I don't think exceptional has to mean untoppable each and every day, but special in a way that will make the day more memorable.

What am I willing to do to create an exceptional outcome in my life?  I believe this is a work in progress, and is created each day, in every thought we have and each choice that we make.  The answer to this question certainly changes as we learn and grow, accomplish our goals and move on to new ones.  In each moment we can choose to create an exceptional outcome, for this very moment is the moment that we live.

My husband's aunt, who is beginning to be affected by Alzheimer's, is coming to dinner along with my father-in-law, my son and his girlfriend.  I think I'll make cupcakes for them, just because.

May your moments be every shade of exceptional, and may this tool be a blessing. . .


  1. I sincerely enjoy your posts, Sherry. Richard Carlson was a genuine gift to the universe. Have you read any of his books? He wrote several in the series before his death.

  2. Hi Sandra,
    I haven't, but thank you for the recommendation. I'll see about picking up a copy at our local bookstore.