““Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant.” ― Stephen R. Covey
As I sit here early November, I feel my blood pressure rise with thoughts of what needs to happen before an imaginary deadline of completion. Self-imposed fear, obsession, and visions of running in circles cloud my thinking. The closer I get to the next Holiday the more pressure I feel. Family and friends are absorbed with their agenda, and I’m not even on their invitation list! What is this excitement about?
Although sober now for a few 24-hours, the squeeze in my chest reminds me to breathe through the excitement of needing to get everything done. This includes baking cookies, preparing for parties, invitations, gifts, work, cards, volunteering and, somewhere in between, sleep ranks at the top of my list.
Never once do I stop long enough to ask how important is all of this “stuff?” Cleaning my toilet is right there with cleaning my oven in time to get it dirty for the holidays! This reminds me what life looked like in early sobriety. There was no distinction of what was important, since everything, regardless of how small or insignificant, was important! My forgetting to set the alarm for the middle of the night to get things done would present the same anger and disappointed outbursts as though a major accident occurred. Nothing though could come close to my knee-jerk reactions from not having enough money to buy what I needed for my addictions.
Today, that little committee in my head knocks, whispering, “Hey! Is n’t it time you reevaluate what’s on your must-do list? I don’t see things like “breathing,” or “What is the worst that will happen 24-hours from now if you put something off” Or, (and I love this one,) “Why not just let it go all-together?” “You heard me, put it off, drop it, let it go!” The question that reverberated like a bugle call was, “How Important is it?”
It brought me to full stop.
These four words reminded me, the things I used to imagine important (an overriding need to please others, to show everyone I was as good as most, and, left to my own devices, I could do it all,) were only important to myself. As I breathe in the absurdity of these thoughts today, regardless how fast I go or how much I do or don’t do, has nothing to do with my tranquility and peace until I ask the questions.
Today peace, serenity, and sobriety are such an integral part of my thinking. The question, “How Important Is It?” rises equally to the mantra of, Easy Does It. Motives scream, “What are you trying to prove?” I slow down, take a break, and re-examine most important to me: my peace, my serenity, and my sobriety. How Important Is It? They are non-negotiable.
So this holiday, I refuse to get sucked into the trauma and drama of others: who is going where, when, why and for how long, who is bringing what, and, what about me. I will mind my business and allow others to do the same. I ask myself in prayer every single day so I don’t lose my focus: “How Important is Anything?” other than those big three non-negotiable. They are not.
What are the questions that resonate with you during the holidays to help keep your focus? What are the things non-negotiable for you that brings you peace?
We don’t have to become victim to our own, or others’ expectations, but we can if we want to.