Oofta, if this subject line isn’t hard to type out… Today, I was going to write about intentional happiness and more, but then I saw an email that just made my morning go sideways. So, we’re fresh, hot-off-the-press with this life lesson!
To explain really quick what happened: I’m in another master’s program (this time in history) and the university library and I are on close terms. Because I’m a long-distance student, books come and go through the mail. It’s incredibly helpful and brilliant, but now I’ve got more advice for you…
Tape those return book boxes up like they’re mummified and getting shipped from one corner of the world to another. Think you don’t want to use two more extra dollars worth of tape to package that up good? Or feel like you don’t have time to make it as secure as a vault? Well, this is how I’ve just learned an incredibly useful, and potentially costly, lesson.
Tip #1: When Feeling Rushed Get Present
When we’re in a rushed state of mind, we need to practice mindfulness even more.
I practice it when cooking, walking, or sitting outside, but now I’m going to use this “skill” when I package books up. It sounds silly, perhaps, but when I was putting the books into the box, I neglected to tape the bottom. This box held five dozen eggs and had one of those bottoms that fit snugly together, so why couldn’t it hold them? Now, because I was so rushed, I can’t even remember if I thought, “I’ll tape it better later, I just need to pack them now because I have work to do,” or if it was a moment of, “It’ll probably be fine…”
Either way: famous last words. And now, the books are potentially spread between my local post office and one up the coast.
Tip #2: Pay Attention to What You Say or Think Right Then
When our thoughts, and thus, actions, relate to “I can’t prioritize this because I need to get back to that,” take a pause or step back. Even in the case of, “It’ll probably be fine…,” clearly, I wasn’t acting in my wisdom. In the end, it was a different way of me doing my normal book send-off routine.
As I think back to that day, I presume my inner voice was a little frantic and trying to “balance it all.” My program is enrolling students now and I’m incredibly excited to start sharing FSW wisdom with the first cohorts over the next couple of months. Excitement about one thing meant I sacrificed the other thing. However, from here onward, when that inner voice or ego is frantic about anything, I’m going to listen to her more often. Not forever, so I get stuck in life, but at least for a few seconds to recalibrate plus pay attention to what’s happening right in front of me and how.
Tip #3: Do What You Can to Make Up for It & Move Forward
When I saw the email from the school, I’ll admit, I panicked. To be fair, the fine for lost books is hefty, especially when multiplying it by about ten or so. But that wasn’t all of what I felt.
My fellow book lovers can understand: I love books deeply. I see the wisdom (or at least opinions) in them and feel the intention within covers and among the words. I might even cuddle with them if they’re important to me… The very idea of books flailing about, very lost and potentially damaged, makes my stomach tighten. And to know I’m the cause of it, because I didn’t “slow down to think” makes my chest feels tight.
So, what’d I do after getting the email? You bet I (finally) took the time to slow down and get my bearings.
Cursing myself for not being present with what was needed at the time, I promptly dropped everything for the last hour or so. I got a book list from the library, went over what was on my shelves in my office, and responded to library staff a couple of times. When the local post office opened, I ran down there with my MIA book list in hand, all color-coded. See, now I was acting all meticulous and detail-oriented, but that didn’t save my ass after the fact. So, I explained what happened and they’ll do what they can to try to find the missing history books.
Now I wait and pray to the deities of library patrons, historians, and postal workers…
Guilt. Shame. Annoyance at myself. Am I feeling these things? Oh, yes. But will they help me move forward with my day? Oh, no.
What’ll help? Working with you and sharing this circumstance, so you might slow down before a lesson is received, so to speak. The old Virginia would’ve obsessed about this mistake for days, but it makes me even more dedicated to my program, actually. Why? Because it teaches some of these principles: slowing down, being present and mindful, and managing stress. Yeah, yeah… Every lifetime is a good session for practicing what you preach, eh? To learn more about the program, check out the info. below; this story might make it into my slide decks, honestly.
Love on yourself when these things occur… We can’t always know what’s going to happen when we make a choice but showing ourselves compassion is a great first step. When we’re more compassionate towards ourselves, we can try to navigate the ripple effect a little better.
And while this is about books, I’d know this situation can apply to multiple areas in our life: the roles we have and the choices we make. I’ll keep y’all posted on what happens or if they’re found! And feel free to let me know if this resonates!
Want to know more about the FSW program? Let’s talk! You can read more about it by clicking here. As I said earlier, I’m enrolling members now and you can chat with me by clicking here to get on my calendar.
That’s it for this week! Feeling inspired? If you’re looking for more updates and want a more direct connection, join (for free) the FSW Circle. And if you have any questions or comments, leave them below or contact me 1:1 this way. Chat with you soon!