Remember the time you were sitting beside your brother (sister/cousin/neighbor)? The asphalt stretched before you in unfulfilled promise. S/he chewed potato chips, waking you up from a nap.
“Stop!” You said, at increasing volume. Words were exchanged. You reached for the bag, balled it up, and tossed it into the front seat (or out the window, depending on what type of kid you were).
“Ignore him!” Your mother snapped, trying to swipe at both you, unable to reach from the driver’s side as you shrunk to either side of the car.
Excellent advice, mom.
As an adult, I’m locked in a repeated pattern of proximity annoyance. Like Mario, trying to save the princess, Bowser pops up, obstructing my way. I marshal my energy and am often the loser.
Then I learned a new approach to dealing with these persistent nuisances.
“See what you can ignore,” Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft counseled in the latest episode of their Happier podcast. Upright toilet seats, ajar cupboard doors: decide what’s worth your attention and let the rest go unattended.
Genius, actually. Basically a new kind of mindfulness, where you choose what to focus on, rather than letting your emotions sway you. Respond, instead of react.
I’m trying the ignore it strategy with the biggest Bowser trying to wreck my life. And it’s working.
Yes, in the moment, the feelings are overwhelming. Tears are not far away. Instead of dwelling on them, however, I move on to something that does need my attention: picking up children, writing a piece, eating. I move on and so does the emotion.
Until the next time. With a Jedi like intensity, I steel myself not to be ruffled by Bowser.
Hopefully soon, though unlikely to be as soon as I’d like, I can move on to the next level.
What can you ignore to claim your Jedi mind trick? Who do you know in desperate need of this gem of a strategy?