Saturday, August 1, 2009

What's Important?

We spend so much time deciding what’s important. Year to year, we adjust our “inventory of importance” adding new, discarding old, elevating and diminishing priorities of our life. At various stages of life, the ranking of importance reflects our current station and age. Like flowers, some are perennials others are annuals. For some matters of importance there is a growing process of maturation required until the full measure of value is revealed. Some are things; others are matters of the heart, but regardless of form or function we guard, cultivate, and nurture what’s important in order to give added substance and meaning to our days. Along the way, some matters of importance emerge unexpectedly demanding immediate mindfulness and total focus. Other unforeseen arrivals of importance intrude commanding attention like a broken tooth robbing one of time, effort, and emotional energy as accompanying stress and anxiety challenge our inner resolve. But regardless of manner, form, magnitude or origin, all matters of importance tap into one’s moral, physical, and spiritual strength.

If one carefully reviews what was important as a child through hindsight of adult perspective, the remembrance of those items generates feelings of melancholy, naiveties, selfishness, and even some degree of embarrassment. Viewed through retrospective glasses tempered by age, the important things once so critical no longer have the same intensity or urgency they did at the time they were part of our life. And, one wonders, at this point in life, how these trivial items ever warranted or coveted such concern.

Throughout life there are a number of individuals who will volunteer to tell you what’s important. Some are well-intentioned; others attempt to involve you in their personal agenda. Some people back up their authoritative-sounding “Most Important” list with documentation drawing upon historical records, past precedence, written words, learned teachings, and personal experience. Various methods are used to convey the necessity to adopt life’s important edicts: fear, violence, food, counseling, guidance, concern, and love. “Do this or else!” If you do not do (important thing here) you will be punished.” “If you do this you can have (treat/bribe here).” “Because I said so!” “Because this is best for you.” “Because I love you.”

Occasionally, there is neglect in submitting a completed form or finishing some task as scheduled. Usually, this tardiness is followed by a directive from a supervisor who pontificates and magnifies the oversight coupled with a stern reminder of how important the completion and compliance of the task is. They posture to extreme in order to make clear: “This is important!” In reply to them in all due respect they should be reminded that: ”Winning World War II was important, the missing form in question is just a piece of paper that will have little consequence--if any.” So, what is important?

The answer to that question is within each of us. Whatever items make your personal list of “What’s Important” needs to be surrounded by laughter and love. Whatever one does needs to be delivered—each and every time--with goodness, understanding, joy and kindness. What’s important should be presented without strings attached, without self-aggrandizing motive, without threat, without qualification, without demand and without hesitation. Keeping in mind that what is important to you may not be as important to others Paramount to your delivery of “important stuff” is the way it is delivered. We advertize to others what is important to us by our words, actions and demeanor. We validate to ourselves what’s important by our thoughts, attitude, and deportment. There’s an adage that states: “Things are to be used, but people are to be loved.” What’s important begins with us. “Watch your thoughts; they become words; watch your words; they become actions; watch your actions they become habits; watch your habits they become character; watch your character it becomes your destiny.”

Find a few quite moments and ask yourself what’s important—to you and others. Check to see that there is sufficient goodness and kindness; laughter and love; and that each item of importance is shared and presented with trust, honor, respect, and responsibility. Over a lifetime, there are so many things that seem so important to us; and so few that really are. Those few are the real gifts of life. Now, what’s important to you?

No comments:

Where's Al going to be next???

Check back soon for his next appearance at a location near you!