Letting Go of Your Hassles: New Year 2017

Rose quartz for love, clear quartz for clarity Photo: Julianna Paradisi 2017

Rose quartz for love, clear quartz for clarity Photo: Julianna Paradisi 2017

My friend who teaches Pilates and mindfulness was approached by one of her students after class. The student said, “I really appreciated your words of mindfulness, especially the part about, “Letting go of your assh*les.”

My friend, who I’ve never heard use that particular word in causal conversation, much less during a meditation, was taken aback. She could not recall saying it. She asked the student, “What did I say?”

She repeated herself, “I really appreciated you saying, ‘Let go of your hassles.”

Hassles. Ah yes, that makes much more sense. “Let go of your hassles.”

Since my friend told me the story, I’ve considered the hassles I want to let go of in the New Year 2017.

The usual suspects come readily to mind: Rude comments from others, drivers who take my pedestrian safety into their own hands by running stop signs, miscommunications of various species, the neighbor who parties and plays loud music until 4 am on a Monday morning when I have to go to work. I considered forgoing Twitter to avoid finding out US international policy changes before I’ve had coffee in the morning, but those tweets pop-up in the national news and Facebook immediately, so there’s no point.

While reflecting on hassles, it occurred to me that letting go of mine isn’t enough. It’s a principle of universal attraction that like attracts like. In other words, we attract to ourselves the energy we send out into the world. Simply put, the only way to let go of the hassles, is don’t be a hassle. 

To not be a hassle requires mindfulness. It requires choosing to respond to hassles (especially those manifesting in the form of other people) with care and thoughtfulness. Letting go of hassles requires empathy and compassion. It requires restraining yourself from placing a wireless speaker against the wall between you and your neighbor’s home, and turning up teeny-bopper heart-throb boy band music really loud at 6 am on a Monday morning when you get up to go to work, with the intent of preventing your hung over neighbor from getting to sleep after partying all night, which kept you up when you had to go to work the next morning.

Letting go of the hassles requires not being a hassle.

Letting go of the hassles is an ongoing job, a moment by moment, day by day thing. It requires renewing the commitment to doing what’s right everyday.

It takes practice. I don’t expect to get it right every time.

“But I’m tryin’ real hard to be the Shepherd, Ringo. I’m tryin’.”

Meditation on Luer Locks and Legos

It All Fits Together (2009) photo: JParadisi

It All Fits Together (2009) photo: JParadisi

     If I’d known I was going to be a nurse, I would have played with Legos more as a child.

     I say this to myself while snapping together the various plastic pieces needed to start an IV: valve cap, connector tubing, luer lock syringe. This tiny medical sculpture will connect to the angiocath once it is successfully introduced into my patient’s vein. On the other end, I connect the infusion tubing dangling from the bag of solution for the patient’s treatment.

     The pieces fit together in such a way to make needles unnecessary. The needless system is a safety measure  preventing staff from poking ourselves with contaminated needles.  On second thought, the system is more like those Habit Trail environments for hamsters, only it’s molecules of blood, medications, and normal saline running through the tubing, instead of a small, furry rodent.

     It’s easy to feel like a hamster running through its Habit Trail on days when the tasks that need to be accomplished are unending.  I remember this while I carefully connect the pieces I need to start an IV one by one, mindful of keeping the ends sterile. I imagine myself stringing beads. I think of a rosary or prayer beads as I make each connection. I focus my thoughts on the task at hand: placing an angiocath into the vein of my patient. I remember to breathe. I am ready to begin.