The Supermarket Cart
David Foster Wallace noted something interesting in a commencement speech about the daily rigamarole of our lives:
"You will go to the supermarket. At the supermarket you will get a cart. The cart will have three functional wheels, and one wheel that spins out all curvy in a weird direction. That wheel - and thus the cart - will drive you mad. If you let it."
There are many supermarket cart experiences in our lives:
The things out of our control can take control of us very easily. The rhetoric is "If only". If only I had sat in another chair, if only I had been 10 seconds faster, if only I decided to go in a different lane earlier.
The relative past haunts us. If only you had made a different decision before you knew what was going to happen. Doesn't that sound odd? How could you have known? You're here now. You didn't make those decisions. And isn't it true that if you did, you may not even think twice about it? You might just let it pass?
What matters is what you're going to do now, in the reality you find yourself in. Will you let the supermarket cart wheel bother you the whole time? Isn't it funny how you sometimes think you "deserve" the bad cart because of something else you did that day? How you bring karma in to justify our bad luck?
You could just as easily get another cart. But maybe it'll be too small or too big or missing the grip. These mundane, random events are a part of your day-to-day life. They make up the tedium that annoy you, bother you, change your mood, affect your state of mind, and sometimes translate to a larger part of your day.
Being A Witness
This is a perfect opportunity to watch your mind work itself into a frenzy. Just observe how it thinks through all the bad. How it justifies. How it rationalizes what is happening. As you watch your mind, you'll see yourself removed from the emotionality of the situation but still a part of your surroundings. Still pushing the cart. The annoyance will melt away.
The more attentive you are to these simple parts of your life that have the power to drive you mad, the better you'll get at being a witness and not an actor and taking away that power. The quicker the negative emotions will melt away. The more sane and at peace you'll find yourself with the dumb luck you had. You might even laugh.
Please share your thoughts!