Marcus Aurelius, last of the Five Good Emperors journaled relentlessly, reminding himself that you have power to control your reactions to the events in your life. Circumstances do not define you; your reactions to those circumstances do. “You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve,” he remarked. This evergreen advice speaks directly to our generation. We procrastinate and put off DECIDING what our PRIORITIES are, and then wonder why we never realize our dreams. We take ZERO action, preferring to complain about the small things. Silent, Imperfect action will get you closer to the goal. The Good Emperor puts this more plainly than I’ve ever read elsewhere, “If it’s endurable, endure it. Stop complaining.” More than simply not sweating the small stuff. Sort out what REALLY matters to you, create priorities, and then focus relentlessly on THOSE things. The small things should fall to the bottom of the list and be ignored. Forget about haters, copiers, unkind people, unfavorable circumstances, and GRIND… Every.F’n.Day. Check out Mel Robbins on YouTube. Start by searching “Why Motivation is Garbage”, and then read her book The 5 Second Rule (book). Or…Do nothing. It’s your life, if you choose it.
Watch this YouTube video and try not to be inspired.
I’m not affiliated with the Be Inspired team, but my goodness, this compilation of motivational speeches hits on so many levels. I’ve read and listened to a number of these speakers and thinkers and authors already, but as a cohesive whole, the sum is greater than the parts. Former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, author of Extreme Ownership, says at 12:52 “Take Ownership! Take Extreme Ownership. Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame any other person or any other thing. Get control of your ego. Take ownership of everything in your world. The good AND the bad. Take ownership of your mistakes, take ownership of your shortfalls, your problems, and the solutions that will get those problems solved. Take ownership of your mission, of your job, of your team, of your future, AND TAKE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR LIFE!”
You have 5 seconds. If you don’t decide to do this HERE and NOW, your brain will make an excuse to keep you where you are, where it’s safe, where you don’t have to change. Fuck that. Take ownership, right now in a real tangible way.
Stop. Take a deep breath. Hold it. Let go.
Did you feel it? The space between those two breaths?
That quiet stillness was yours. You owned it.
Maybe the rest of your day was pure chaos, but you owned that moment. And guess what? You can do that at any time you choose.
Choose to do it more often. This is just the beginning…
Do you ever catch yourself getting mad at inanimate objects for NOT doing what you WANT them to do? You plant a flower, and you expect it will grow into the most Instagram-worthy version of itself, instantaneously, and with little-to-no more effort on your part.
We’ve become accustomed to instant gratification, and the monster gets worse and worse as we expect more and more. Seamless integration in coverage, touchless EVERYTHING in the bathroom, and on and on. Something isn’t working? Turn it off, then turn it back on, should be fixed just like that.
This is not a rant against modernity.
But we MUST realize that this digital, technical, modern life of ours has blurred our expectations when it comes to nature, to humanity, to relationships. and to life itself. We can not bring the same “get fixed quick” Turn it Off/On approach to the garden with any level of success.
“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” – Alexander den Heijer
Too often we assume there is a problem with the flower, and we need to troubleshoot in order to fix it. In reality, we need to clear the air of the poison that is suffocating it. If anything, we need to check on the quality and strength of the connections (the roots, the leaves) Do they all have access to the levels of nutrients and care that they need in order to thrive? Do we actually feed the damn thing once in a while, and give it the life-sustaining drink of cool water it desperately needs? We need to talk to it, to offer it companionship…and then…give it some space to grow. We can’t will it to grow, stand watch and cheer it on “grow, grow, grow” because as well meaning as that seems, we’re creating a shadow and blocking the sun.
Nature has an incredible way of self-organizing, and optimizing. Watch a houseplant orient itself toward the sun over time, and stretch toward the open window as if for a breath of fresh air.
“But my plant isn’t doing what I want it to do,” you keep telling yourself. It’s smaller than I’d prefer, not the right shade of pink, or smells ‘funny.’ What do we do? Give up on the plant, toss it in the garbage, and try again? Modern, disposable, fast-food living practically DEMANDS we do that very thing, to make SPACE for the next iteration. Epictetus and his Stoic philosophy suggests that same as Heijer, above. The problem doesn’t live in the plant, but in our steadfast devotion to the way we BELIEVE nature should re-organize and bend to OUR wills.
“People are not disturbed by things, but by the views they take of them.” -Epictetus
Like fixing a plane while flying it, there is an urgency and immediacy to fixing flowers. We care about these little, living things, and want to see them into a better future. This takes on long and short-term action. We must take steps now AND keep the end goal in mind.
The flower owes us nothing. Supremely intelligent nature keeps buds from blooming into poisonous atmospheres. Plants may need to adapt and re-grow and that re-growth takes time and patience. Fixing flowers is different than fixing the non-natural. Fixing flowers may actually just be fixing ourselves to the point that we can support their fragile, trusting sprouts again.
This has been about #moreThanJustFlowers, #moreThanAGreenThumb