I was listening to the radio last week and heard an interview with the Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson. He has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. What struck me was his attitude to his life and what he intends to do before the end comes.
But the thing that stood out for me was when he said the following
“The things that used to bring me down, or worry me, or annoy me, they don’t matter anymore – and that’s when you sit thinking ‘Wow, why didn’t I work this out before? Why didn’t I work out before that it’s just the moment you’re in that matters?’
“Worrying about the future or regretting the past is just a foolish waste of time. Of course we can’t all be threatened with imminent death, but it probably takes that to knock a bit of sense into our heads.”
I am sure we have heard people say things like ‘try not to worry’ or ‘it could be worse’ when we are faced with a difficult situation but it is a lot easier said then done.
It may be worth remembering Wilko Johnson’s words. We can worry about what we might have said or done in the past, or what we have to do in the future but all this does is stop us living in the now. Take a moment to think of all the good things in your life at this time and allow yourself to smile about them. They are precious gifts and we should accept them gracefully and keep them safe.
Yesterday I was looking for some batteries in a drawer at home and I started to remember how we used to have an old sideboard at home when I was a kid.
It was one of those old fashioned chunky oak things (the sort you see on antiques roadshow now!). Mum and Dad used to put things away in a ‘safe place’, “because you never know when it might come in handy” mum always used to say.
This sideboard had 2 drawers and 2 doors. Things used to spring out of the drawers when you opened them because there was so much in them. As for the cupboard doors…
On wet days, or when we were fed up, I remember how my brother and sisters used to explore this sideboard. We would tell Mum that we wanted to ‘sort out the rubbish’ and would start to empty the first drawer out on to the carpet. There we would find all kind of ‘treasures’. There was usually at least 2 packs of playing cards in various states of packaging. One of us would have the job of counting the packs to see what was missing. This inevitably led on to at least one game of snap or pairs. Then we would find an assortment of old keys. These we would divide up between us and go about the house to see which lock they fitted. All the while, the pile of drawer contents was still in the middle of the sitting room floor.
We would then come back and look at the photo’s, laughing at the hairstyles and wondering who some of the people were. Mum would ask if we were done yet and we would always say “nearly”
After a while we would decide there were other things that could occupy our minds and tip everything back into the drawer. Slightly tidier then we started, that way it looked as though we had done something.
The reason I mention this, is because there are many treasures in our lives we take for granted or forget they are there. Simple things that make us smile or lose ourselves in fun activity. These things help us to take our minds off our problems, even if it is for a short while. This in turn can reduce the level of stress we are feeling.
In modern homes the sideboard as I remember it has long gone, but it might be worth thinking about having your own little treasure box that you can drop the odd item in to keep it in a ‘safe place’. That way next time you are low or feeling pressured you can have a delve in your own ‘treasure box’
See how many times it makes you smile.