By Sally Marks
Thanks for contributing this story Sally!
I was crabby yesterday. Basically I’m an optimistic person, but yesterday I was a grouch. I had a slight setback regarding our upcoming book, and I was annoyed. I probably should have taken a walk, but I didn’t. I ate a donut instead.
I didn’t specifically go out in search of a donut. A client asked me to meet him at the Dunkin Donuts shop near my office and I complied. Normally I wouldn’t have opted for the sugary pastry, but I was in a bad mood and I went against my better instincts.
Fortunately for me the donut and hot chocolate were very unsatisfying. Indulgent pleasures generally are. I get that little sugar high and then a big let down, both physically and emotionally. After all, it’s January and losing weight and exercising are always top contenders of my New Year’s resolutions. Donut eating is not on the list.
However, I did take some positive actions. I mailed a proposal, stopped at the library and checked out an inspirational book, self help book, and wrote several query letters to literary agents. I make it a point that when I suffer a setback I take immediate steps to counteract it. Unfortunately, I ate the donut before I took my positive actions.
That evening I went to a Buddhist meeting. I saw an unfamiliar face and introduced myself. Once we started talking I realized I had met her before, but since she had not been to meetings in a while I didn’t recognize her. She told everyone she had become busy at work and her once-strong efforts to strive for personal growth and work for world peace (basic Buddhist tenets) had fallen by the wayside. Unfortunately, her dedicated efforts at work (60-hour work weeks and plenty of stress) took a toll on her health. She became sick and subsequently lost her job due to her illness.
However, rather than fall into a funk over her job loss and declining health, she saw the events as an opportunity to revive her Buddhist practice. It was inspiring to listen to her as she made a determination to start anew. She spoke eloquently and her eyes shone with conviction.
My mood was instantly lifted. She voiced what a lot of folks face in their life – going through the motions of living and not really engaging one’s heart. I thought about the difference of merely writing my goals and making a real determination to create a significant change in my life. I realized that simply writing goals was an intellectual exercise at best and a mere habit at worst.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a brain bypass. But knowledge by itself is not the answer. Heart-felt conviction is crucial for embracing change and obtaining our goals. It’s no wonder I keep writing the same resolutions year after year. My head was engaged in the process, but certainly not my heart. After listening to Rosie, I knew I couldn’t just go through the motions. I needed to make a strong determination, followed by concrete actions to break through my donut-eating complacency. I may like donuts, but I love my life a lot more and I want to preserve my health.
Like Rosie, we will have times when we backslide in our efforts. It could be a donut, a grumpy mood, a harsh word, or even a financial setback such as losing one’s job. But setbacks are only permanent if we allow them to be. For me, I’d rather adopt the “Rosie” outlook and make a heart-felt determination to start anew.
Love and peace,Sally
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