A Little Piece of Lint Teaches Me a Big Lesson


It was just a small piece of lint.  A little piece of white fuzz on a dark green carpet.  It sat there on the freshly vacuumed floor and every time I walked past, it seemed like a little spotlight shone on it.  Worse, I felt a subtle little zing of irritation each time I noticed that little speck of lint.

I had bigger things to be concerned with than a piece of lint on the carpet. In fact, whenever I spotted the lint, it was more like a side glance, something that I saw and vaguely registered, but it never quite fully got my attention.  I remember some of my passing thoughts: “I’m in a hurry, Chris (my DH) will get that.”  “I’ll get that next time I vacuum.”  “Boy that really stands out on the carpet!”  “That makes the whole carpet look dirty!”  “Why did that lint have to show up right there?” “Oh, is that still there?”  They were more like whispers in the background of the more pressing thoughts on my mind.

I had walked past that darned piece of lint at least a dozen times before the full realization hit me:  I was experiencing a little distraction and a little zing of stress every time I saw it.  I stopped in my tracks, turned around, picked up the offending lint and deposited it in the trash.  When the lint was gone, I was startled at how much better I felt.  The feeling was even more powerful when looked at the now lint-free stretch of carpet.

Picking up the lint took no longer than 15 seconds, yet the repeated noticing of it had given me at least a dozen unpleasant zings before I took any action.

The feeling of relief from removing that tiny piece of repeated irritation was almost exhilarating.   That moment of bliss is what really got my attention.  I started thinking about all the seemingly small things that I notice in my life, yet never really focus on, and simply tolerate.  How much was I tolerating or ignoring that was causing me little zings of stress on a regular basis?

That’s when I decided to do my best to be more aware of my surroundings and especially be more aware of  seemingly insignificant things that were causing any degree of unpleasantness.  I made a choice to immediately correct those little things that I noticed and that could quickly be fixed. Notice that I did not choose to actively look for irritants.  In contrast, I made a choice to be aware of my own reactions and to pay attention when I felt a zing.  The result was surprising:  it made a big difference to my sense of self-esteem and my sense of power to improve my world.

Being aware of the things I was merely tolerating – the things that were making constant little scratches on my sense of peace – was a subtle shift that made a noticeable difference in my stress level.  Just recognizing and respecting that something bothered me, rather than forcing myself to ignore it, brought a sense of peace.  It didn’t even have to be something that I could change.  Simple identification and acknowledgement was healing in itself.

It’s easy to try:  Just be aware of your feelings.  If you notice a bit of tension, irritation, or even something vaguely unpleasant, then take a moment to focus.  What caused it?  Once you see the cause, is it something you can fix in just a few seconds?  Then fix it, say it, or take care of it.  Otherwise, if you can’t change it, take a moment to feel that sense of relief from respecting your feelings and acknowledging that something is bothering you.  It seems to lose it’s power over you that way.

Amazing that something as insignificant as a piece of lint would have made such a change in my life.

 

With love and peace,

Patti

 

 

 

 




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