What’s Worth Keeping

I wondered recently what I would keep if I only had a few minutes to save some of the things I own. I’m not sure where the thought came from, but it made me sad and a bit anxious. What would happen to all my other treasurers, the ones I didn’t or couldn’t keep?

The thought initially created suffering inside me. Why had this popped into my mind?

It was fleeting at first and hard to capture, but then a second thought came forward. I wondered which of my emotional reactions in life were worth keeping.

Is it worth remembering each hurt, disappointment, and failure? How about retaining every instance of anger, worry or resentment? Are any of these worth keeping?

And if I decided to hang on to them what would happen to me, to my inner being? What would their impact be on me? Would they somehow serve me, even if they felt heavy and weighed me down?

I needed to spend some time with these questions to see what would happen.

I wonder how they strike you. Are you holding on to emotions or thoughts that are truly worth keeping?

I came to a one basic conclusion I’d like to share with you.

I realized that each thought and emotion helped shape me and that it was entirely up to me to decide which to focus on and keep in my consciousness.

Those I chose to retain could help guide me. They could assist me with choosing new directions. Even if I initially felt they were part of negative experiences, I could learn from them and discover the beneficial aspects that could improve my life.

I decided to kick back for a little while and give myself some open space to consider. I sat back and allowed an example to come into the light.

The first to appear was this.

I’ve had a really bad cough for over four weeks now, which has made sleeping very difficult. It’s the only symptom I have. To be sure I was okay, early in the process I decided to take a COVID test. Gratefully, it was negative. However, dealing with the cough had become so challenging that I resorted to taking a Tylenol PM before bedtime.

It was magical. I began to have the best sleep I’ve had in years, even considering a few coughing fits during the night. Instead of waking up at 5:00 or 5:30am, I was sleeping until 7:30 or 8:00am and feeling well rested. I know it’s medically unwise to take the Tylenol PM for long, so I’ve switched to Melatonin, which many others I know swear by.

So, what’s my point in centering on this example?

It’s this. All my attention could be focused on the difficult physical challenges I’ve been having and how life can feel very unfair. I could dwell on ‘why me’ or ‘why is this lasting so long’? And when thinking about this experience, the parts I would keep would be very negative. They might even influence the rest of my life every time I felt a cold coming on or coughed for any reason.

But a certain wisdom inside me recognized that rather than choosing the negative outlook, I could shift and express divine gratitude that I might encounter deep blissful sleep for the rest of my life by taking something to help me. I could recognize that without this apparent negative coughing experience I would never have known there was help for me. So, I decided that’s what was worth keeping.

Other experiences began to take shape, and each offered me the same opportunity. I could choose to focus on the negative aspects or find the valuable learnings within each experience, the ones that made them worth keeping.

Regardless of what we experience in life we all have the choice what to keep with us. I am very grateful for this and hope you find ways to choose wisely.