Stuck in the on position

When my 12 year old garbage disposal stayed in the on position and couldn’t be turned off, I felt trashed.
Garbage. What garbage? 

Appliances wear out and have to be replaced - it’s a fact of life that you can’t toss out with the recycled plastic jars. I called my usual repair guy who told me that it would cost $785 to put in a new unit. He couldn't repair the old one. 


All about the
I figured I would plunge myself in and make a few calls to see if I could find an alternative solution. Fortunately after calling the appliance manufacturer and speaking to a living breathing human being, I learned that the switch could be replaced and for the cost of a Benjamin ($100), the problem could be solved. Once I got the name of a repair service who could fix the defective switch, I would be back in business without being financially drained.

Life Lessons
I’m not good at letting this type of event whirl by me without trying to find the metaphor or meaning in this little experience. Like the four nails in my four tires this summer, these things happen for a reason beyond a switch wearing out. I do believe there is a bigger plan or some meaning that I need to pay attention to all of life’s stuff that splashes up in your face. I just needed some quiet to understand what was going on or in this case, to realize what wasn't going off. 

The Off Position
Years ago I read a book about stress reduction that focused on being and not-doing. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the author of this books on mindfulness (Full Catastrophe Living) writes about just stopping and beingNo goals. No to do list. No nothin'.Just being the damn garbage disposal. 

Was the universe  reminding me about the joy of just being? Was this a little alarm telling me that it is not such a bad thing when your button is stuck and you are forced to turn off the circuit breaker, kill the power and just let it be. Amazing the power of not whirling around in a blur and just breathing. 

I created my blog called MomentSlater to help me live in the now. To recognize that all we have is now- the past and the future are constructs but life exists right now, right here and this exact and precise second. How can I stay as aware and alive in my life's moments?

I am convinced the lesson the universe was trying to share with me was a reminder about awareness and self. Something was telling me to slow down, do less and find joy in the simple pleasure of breathing.  In our rush, rush, rush 24/7 cycle, there is healing power when we stop- to stop working- to stop functioning like machines- and to take in the world around us. Unplug. Turn off the power. Stop grinding up the junk. 


Just be. You can't do it right or wrong, you can't win or lose and you can't over achieve and get a gold star. Remarkable. To practice you just sit in chair in a relaxed position and close your eyes. Let all the thoughts flow through your mind- like a screened in porch. Don't hold on to anything- just sit, breathe and let go. Some call this meditation. I like the word being since it doesn't carry all the weight of having to learn something new. Does anyone need to learn how to be? 

No Experience Necessary
Can you sit quietly without any TV, radio, computer, phone or other modern convenience on? Are you able to just sit in a chair for 10 minutes without doing something? I am the first to admit I have trouble with this- but I do try because it gives me a chance where success or failure are not the outcomes. Mindfulness is a hard to describe activity since it is not an activity. It is just being with your mind. 

Don't try and get anything done. Accomplish nothing (or everything) depending on how you phrase it. Live and be in this precise moment before it goes down the drain and floats away.  Can you disable your 'on' switch that causes you to spin? 

Repair and Aware
I find that I am more creative, more productive and generally happiest when I can keep the stress away. By sitting still for 10 minutes each day and doing nothing, I can experience what I think of as an abundance of nothing. Calm. Restful. Quiet.

I don't want to run on automatic all the time.  I like nothingness; I enjoy the quiet. I find refuge in simple. 

Circuit Breaking
On. Off. Repeat. 
The garbage disposal is back in business chopping up banana peels and apple cores. It is no longer stuck in the on position and is back at the daily grind. The gift in this appliance awareness moment is that I have been reminded about the joy in resetting my own switch every now and then. 

On. Off. That's not so difficult. 

Footnote: To learn from the genius of mindfulness and Jon Cabot-Zinn you can watch a wonderful video of him speaking at Google's headquarters. Just follow this link.