My morning regimen consists of sitting with my wife on the couch sipping together our morning Joe, followed by time on my news reader, checking social media and then I head into our spare bedroom and don my Oculus VR headset, often the highlight of my day .
I start with a 10-minute warm-up where I ride a virtual bicycle almost anywhere on the planet. I’ve pedaled through Ukraine, visited the pyramids and toured Paris. After loosening up, I play one of several virtual reality dance apps – the most fun I’ve had since rolling down grassy hills as a small child. Completely immersed in a computer-generated world with all manner of balls and other objects flying towards me in rhythm to some of my favorite songs, I knock down the objects by swinging my hands. Not only does it burn calories and improve hand-eye coordination, but when I’m “in the zone,” it’s as if I’ve visited another world. My mood is uplifted. I am energized. Life is grand.
That was how today started. I finished my virtual ride through the French Alps and then played Synth Rider for 45 minutes, ending up with my standard 53 push-ups. Inspired, proud and feeling strong and upbeat, I left the house for my 30-minute walk, listening to one of my favorite podcasts.
“Thank you, God. This is a good life, ”I thought as I returned home.
While hanging up my keys, I accidentally dropped them behind my printer stand, triggering several choice not-for-print exclamations. I peered over the edge of the stand and, between the other stuff that has fallen back there over the years as well as dust bunnies that could win competitions, I could not see the keys.
“What the hell?” I said to no one in particular. “Where could they go? They have to be here. ”
My pursuit led to me getting on my hands and knees, unplugging the printer, moving everything off the stand and dragging the whole mess across the office so I could squeeze into the space behind my desk. Finally, my office in shambles, I found the keys buried under some files.
The upbeat, joyful mood of 15 minutes prior was evaporating faster than water droplets on a hot skittle. As I shoved and slammed back in place everything I had torn asunder, instead of swaying to the music in my head, I was pounding on tables and kicking trash cans, upset over the mess that was now my workspace (not that it’s very neat to begin with).
I was reminded of a Christmas card I received one year, showing a cartoon of a very skinny, emaciated Santa. In the drawing was a plate of cookies with a note, “For Santa.” The thought balloon over his head said, “I guess one cookie won’t hurt.” Along the top of the card was written, “It all starts small.”
But isn’t that the way everything begins?
Little by little, minute step after minute step, what began as a random passing thought flourishes and evolves, eventually taking over your life. I had moved the needle of my day from “wonderful” to “awful” in less than a quarter of an hour because of something so minor as dropping my keys.
Even in the best of times (and I do not think anyone would refer to the present day in those terms), if we allow ourselves to focus on the minor irritations of daily living, we lose sight of all we still have. Add into the mix the heightened frustrations of climate change, dysfunctional government, war, inflation – and oh yes, a pandemic – and simply finding a smile or kind word to say can feel overwhelming.
But that more than any other reason, is why we need to not sweat the small stuff, as “small stuff” does not remain small very long. Rather it takes over what space it can find in our already over-taxed brain.
If you, like me, periodically find your mood slipping, there are three questions to ask yourself:
• Can I change this?
• If not, can I leave the situation?
• If that’s not possible, how do I accept what’s happening?
Now, more than ever, we need to find the small positives, the cracks of sunshine slipping through the darkness. Everything starts small, but they too will grow.
Scott “Q” Marcus is the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com and the founder of the inspirational Facebook Group, Intentions Affirmations Manifestations. Join his free online semi-monthly motivation sessions by signing up for his free semi-monthly newsletter at www.thistimeimeanit.com/signup.