Have you ever opened the lid of your washing machine to discover little bits of tissue coating all of your clean clothes? That unpleasant scene happened to me this week. I usually check my pockets as I throw clothes in the hamper, but sometimes a rogue tissue finds a secret hiding place. If you have experienced it, you know it can be quite a mess. But here’s something I have learned over the years. When this happens, I don’t have to shake out every piece of wet clothing over a garbage can to remove the tissue fragments. Actually, that makes more of a mess. If I continue the process as if nothing has happened and place the tissue covered clothing in the dryer, the lint trap does the work for me! When the cycle is complete, there may be a few lingering pieces of tissue on my clothing, but most of it ends up in the lint trap. I simply scoop it out and the mess is gone.
It occurred to me that this might be a great metaphor for how to live life. Sometimes unexpected inconveniences and challenges show up. We can struggle with the situation expending extra time and energy to manage the details more to our liking. Or, we can trust the process, continue moving forward, only to discover the details often work themselves out without any extra effort on our part.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we put our heads in the sand and ignore issues that need our attention. Sometimes we need to have that difficult conversation with an employee or set a clear boundary with a friend. I am saying that sometimes we make things worse by trying to micromanage or manipulate the situation. In my experience, whenever I make choices from fear and try to control things I have no control over, it doesn’t turn out well. It actually creates more stress and steals my peace of mind. If I give it some space and trust that all things are working for my highest good (even when that doesn’t appear to be the case), miracles happen.
When I tried to think of an example of this truth from my own life, ironically an experience involving laundry popped into my head. Several years ago in Florida, my mother’s drinking created a very unsafe and unhealthy living environment for her. Her neighbors began calling me demanding I step in and do something. It was heartbreaking to see her living like that, but nothing we tried changed the situation. Given her age and past experience, an intervention did not feel like the right choice. The only thing we could do was love her, pray, and trust something would happen that would get her into “the system.”
Eventually, something did happen. One evening, my mother was extremely inebriated while doing laundry in her mobile home park. While carrying a big basket of clothes home from the laundry room, she lost her balance and fell in her driveway. The injury to her head was so severe the attending physician deemed her a danger to herself. Thus, the process of getting her out of that unhealthy situation and into a safer place began. As horrible as that accident was, it was also a blessing in disguise.
This week I invite you to search your mind for those situations and circumstances that are taking away your peace. Before you give them any more time or attention, take a step back and be the observer. Are you making more of a mess by trying to control things you can’t possibly control? Perhaps if you give it some space, keep moving forward and focus your attention on a happy outcome, you will see that life often takes care of itself all on its own. Let those pesky tissue fragments and circumstances get caught in the lint trap!
It would be my great honor to help you step back from those challenging life circumstances and give you tools to find inner peace no matter what’s going on outside. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information about a single or series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session.
Until next time, I invite you to let the lint trap of life do the work and just keep moving forward!
It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters, and circumstances are helpful.
~ A Course in Miracles M-4.I.A.4:5