Deferred Maintenance

I was at a friend’s crib recently and he asked me to help him fix something. (And yes, the slang version of ‘crib’ has been one of my favorite words for like fifteen years now.) I’m not the handiest tool in the shed, but all I had to do was hand him some things while he was on a ladder, so we were in business. I don’t even really know what he did, but it only took about fifteen minutes. It involved drilling some holes and then screwing some air vent-looking things into the ceiling. He was covering a fairly large rectangular “hole” in the ceiling. After he was done, he was really, really happy. Elated. He said he had been putting this off for months, and it would’ve been even easier and less expensive had he dealt with it when the problem first started (there must’ve been some effort and expense involving that hole in the ceiling in the months before). Anyway, he said it’s always best to suck it up and deal with these things right away, because a $300 job will inevitably turn into a $600 job if you wait and let it linger. Deferred maintenance.

So why are we talking about drilling holes into dry wall and installing air vent-looking things? Because of the concept of deferred maintenance. The first thing that popped into my head when he said that involves the kind of work we do here at A Clean Mind. We do inner work that makes our lives more peaceful and less dramatic, even with the same exact life stressors firmly in place. We change how we see things. We learn how to let feelings pass through us, staying as long as they need to but no more than that. We learn to respond instead of react. And what my friend said about waiting to fix something wrong with his house totally applies to our drama. Generally speaking, the longer we wait, the worse it gets. At the very least, we’re stressed out during the wait. It could even just be a faint background stress, but trust me, it’s there. And the longer it’s there, the more power it has to mess with your peace. I have plenty of clients with gastrointestinal issues because nobody taught them how to release when they were younger.

So if you have situations in your life you’ve been meaning to deal with, there’s no time like the present. The fastest way out is through, so you might as well get started. Will it be fun? Probably not. Will it be less painful than later, though? Most likely. So do it. Take the first step in dealing with these issues. It might not be your idea of a good time, but $300 now beats $600 later. For most people, anyway.

The types of things I’m talking about dealing with are basically anything that bothers you in your life now. Relationships are probably the biggest. We all have unresolved issues with other humans, big or small (big or small issues, that is, not humans, although they come in big and small sizes as well). I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to deal with these, go through the pain, and get to the other side. Now it’s not on your list of “things that bother me about my life.” You dealt with it. You crossed it off the list. Awesome! Keep doing that.

Also, the issue might not get resolved how you want it to or how you imagine it will. That’s fine – ditch the picture in your head about what the perfect world looks like. You’re just being authentic and telling someone there’s something you aren’t at peace with. You don’t attack. You’re totally calm. And they can sense this. They see that you’re being real. Sometimes they’ll laugh and say there was never a problem – it was in your head. They’ll respect your authenticity, though, as well as your intent for peace. They’ll respect what they saw from you. And if there really is a legitimate problem, they’ll respect that you’re straightforward and honest and that you really do want to resolve it. These conversations aren’t always fun, but everybody generally feels better on the other side of them.

You can also work on other cases of deferred maintenance that don’t involve relationships. Relationships are the biggies for most of us, though. Other things we might want to address include our job, where we live, finally going to the dentist, our hobbies, exercise, diet, finances, etc. Anything. Just remember, though, that inner peace is always what we’re after. This is because outer peace doesn’t exist – not for very long, anyway. I like shiny new things, too, but the shine always wears off. And that’s fine – that’s reality. So don’t depend on these things changing in order for you to be happy. We just have to do what we have to do to be at peace with these situations. Just get started. Make the first step. Or don’t! That’s fine, too. It might costs more later, though…