Monday, November 16, 2009

The Aggravation of Life

Many of us have focused on eliminating the big aggravations in our lives, and many an author has scribed a book or delivered a seminar to teach us how to release those big aggravations. The expectation is that eliminating big aggravations will transform our lives.

It’s great that we’ve all taken the time to attend the seminars and read the books about how to release the big aggravations in life, but during that time, we were also victims to smaller aggravations that we did not realize. These small aggravations are unseen mental energy blocks that keep us from living in a state of peace.

Let me illustrate this point by sharing a story with you about one of my clients who had a small aggravation continuing in his life. When we worked together to put his big aggravations on the shelf and look at the small aggravations, we were able to transform his life. As a result, he had the energy to go back and transform the big aggravations in his life and start living in peace.

Every morning at 5:45 a.m., Steve arrives at the gym for his morning workout. As with most early morning workouts, Steve’s were followed by a shower at the gym. This caused him aggravation every single morning. The problem? Only one of the three showers ever had soap in it. The other showers had the soap containers, but they were never filled.

Small aggravations start with something small, like no soap, but they build up and are often topped with a relationship aggravation. The top of this aggravation for Steve was the “Long Shower Man” who apparently took a long shower by Steve’s description. This man was also on the same work schedule as Steve, so they always got ready for work at the same time.

Steve always finishes his work out with thirty minutes of cardio, and during this time, he watched the man work out and knew when he was about to head for the shower. Steve did this day after day five days a week – watching the man and the clock, mentally calculating how much time he had left on the cardio machine to be able to beat the man into the shower – the one with the soap.

Steve’s overall life program is competing and winning. This serves him well in a golf tournament or a baseball game, but not in his morning shower routine. This small aggravation is how he starts every morning at 5:45 a.m., and the kicker is that he has been caught in this aggravation for six months.

Do you think this could be draining some of his mental energy? Of course! It has been proven by scientists that being aggravated causes blood pressure to rise and muscles to tense. But what aggravation also does, which we can’t measure with a medical device, is to slowly eat away at the energy we are given for the day.

Small aggravations cause us to get further aggravated by other small situations more easily. Then, our head gets foggy and we do not make clear decisions – we are not present in our life. We are focused and obsessed with the aggravations. All of these things show up in our lives as stress, overwhelm and fatigue.

So what are Steve’s choices? Take a minute and write down what he could have done to ultimately not be aggravated by this situation.

What did you write down? Look at it closely and answer these questions:
1. Did your solution include another person doing something to remove your aggravation?
2. Was your solution a wait and see solution?
If you answered yes to these two questions, I would like you to spend more time on this by thinking about what can you do to alter your situation without asking anyone else to be involved.

You see, we often want to blame or engage others with our aggravations. We do this with the big aggravations in life, and the small ones follow the same pattern.

When I asked, “What are the other solutions?” Steve’s response was, “Well, I told the zombie girl at the desk, and she didn’t do anything about it. Then I told the guy at the desk, “Mr. Friendly,” and, for weeks, nothing was done. Then I told the woman who sold us the membership, and she told me to tell the people at the desk. I have told everyone. It is ridiculous; they can’t get soap in the other two showers!”

Yes, this is a battle I might have fought in the past, but since I have felt what it is like to live in continual peace, I choose not to fight these battles any more.

This is how I see it: Steve has not felt the peace I am speaking of. He is blocked by his Ego program of competition and control – competition with the “Long Shower Man” and control of the way the gym is maintained.

Our Ego will tell us we should fight for the soap! We deserve soap! We are paying for a membership to the “gym with soap,” right? We will be the soap hero, and everyone will know it, because the Ego will let them know! You were the one who complained day after day. And after years of complaining, you got the soap! You might even get a plaque as the client of the year!

Involving others to fix our aggravations takes a lot of energy and time – the two things humans want more of. Plus, involving others usually doesn’t solve the aggravation. This is why we need to look at what you can do that is only in your control that would immediately eliminate the aggravation.

Take time to think about it, and then send me an email with your solution to; I will then let you know what Steve did to eliminate his aggravation and start living in peace, at least in the morning.

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