Let things do what they are supposed to do, and nothing else.
This sounds simple, but we often use things for purposes other than what they are intended or designed for. This lies at the heart of many of the things we struggle with.
This can happen in funny or slightly annoying ways.
The bed is used for a closet, the kitchen table as a junk drawer. The car for a trash can, the garage as a storage unit for things you don’t need. Not helpful, but not necessarily destructive either.
There are more problematic ways, the things that have the potential to disrupt the important things in our lives.
Work becomes a place where we talk about our personal life more than we should, or we let professional relationships become too personal and get ourselves in trouble. I talk to a lot of people whose bed has become a place to eat, play video games, read, play on their phone and iPad, and watch TV, but they cannot sleep.
Then there are the persistent, problematic ways of allowing things to become something they are not, ways that grind our world down and make us unhealthy.
Food is meant to nourish the body, sleep is meant to help us get rest and give our brains a chance to defragment after the day. Work allows us to contribute to society, to engage our minds and earn a living. Raising kids also contributes to society and engages our minds. These are all good, necessary things.
But, for many, food becomes their source of entertainment and comfort and stress relief. Sleep becomes a way to avoid facing the day, to avoid unpleasant emotions, or to just pass time. Work becomes the place they get their sense of self and identity and where they get their worth. The same thing happens with kids, and this is not a fair weight for them to carry.
All of these things are out of place, and this always brings unhealthiness – physically, mentally and, emotionally.
Maybe these things being out of balance only happens in response to something being wrong in the first place, maybe it’s a chicken and the egg thing. But, if this is the case, we chose a solution to our problems that didn’t fit, we let something get out of place, and it became a habit.
What can we do about this?
It’s really pretty simple.
Let things be what they are supposed to be, don’t expect them to take care of things beyond their scope.
You can still enjoy going to sleep at the end of a long day, you can still enjoy a really good meal or trying something exotic. You can still take pride in your work. You can still love your kids and do a lot for them. This isn’t about strict definition of roles and purpose, but it is about not allowing things to become something they are not. A Band-Aid over a seriously infected wound may cost you your arm.
Things have a job to do. Let them do it.
Eat, sleep, work, rest.
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I write, podcast and make videos about living in freedom through mindfulness, intentionality, compassion, and equanimity.
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