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Day 179: Irritating Details

denise-picking-berries“After all it is those who have a deep and real inner life who are best able to deal with the irritating details of outer life” -Evelyn Underhill

I should have been feeling great after all the rich meditation time I had over the weekend. Instead it seems to have had the opposite effect and the intrusions and details of life, the seemingly never ending responsibilities that I have collected over the years in overcompensating for a big family weighed me down and made me cranky. When I am in the flow of things, I have gotten better and better at letting the details roll off of me. It takes half the energy to attend to what needs to be done without any story line, accomplish the task and move on.

I was practically boastful about how much calm I have been able to cultivate in the midst of so many competing demands. Although I suppose it was still school days when the built-in structure of time allowed me regular distance from the ups and downs of the ranging experience of my four children. Adjusting to summer and days on free flow times four could be one of the reasons for my irritable mood. I love summer’s long light and warmth, but it has been a long while since I have had the time to just fall into it.

I have made homemade jams every summer for years: it is one way I know the season, by which berries are in season.Today, because there were so many other things on the list, I relented and agreed to just pick up a flat of strawberries instead of picking them. Of course the last pre-picked flat was walking away as I walked up. Picking strawberries with teenagers in a hurry isn’t quite what I was anticipating from the experience. So instead of relishing the heat on my arms deep in lush strawberry plants and the sticky sweet red fingers of picking, I was in a rush. It did land me on a couple of unpicked rows, but it was embarrassing to be overheard by one of my new investor friends saying, “I am in a hurry, I can’t spend time hunting for strawberries.”

Worst of all, the impatience and irritation does little worthwhile for interactions with people, both strangers and intimates. Trying to exchange a few gifts from Father’s Day became a complex chain of events which turned me into a disgruntled customer. Trying to talk to my newly adult son was an exercise in futility. Each exchange just made the next set of details more annoying.

Remarkably we finally finished putting together the new grill and actually tried it out with successful results, so clearly some details worked just fine, and mind you that was a 19-step booklet of marginally drawn assembly instructions. Still perseverance is sometimes the only strategy that is reliable in the face of annoying details. Having the courage and the fortitude to get through the details is the key. That and the guts to go back inside and see what was left undone, which in the end is where all these annoying details started.