February 6, 2010

Tip of the day

Any transition or change can bring with it some challenges.  When I speak with clients, I often ask them, “How does an ant eat an elephant?”  They chuckle and respond, “One bite at a time.”  We must look at changes in life this way because, to borrow from mindfulness practices, we really can’t be anywhere other than in the moment.  We must take things one day at a time, but we often try to rush things along.  We want things on our schedule.  Ok, ok, maybe I should use first person here and say, “Often I want things to go on my schedule.”  I have a plan, a list, an organized way of doing things so why shouldn’t changes and transitions go according to my plan?  I’m an intelligent woman.  I have a masters degree—why shouldn’t my plan work??  For years I had a magnet on our refrigerator that read, “God grant me patience and in a hurry!” 

Allowing things to unfold how they will is a challenge that brings with it an opportunity for growth.  Take The Knoxville Coupon Fair as a recent example.  I was heartbroken that we would have to reschedule the event (we hope you’ll join us on Feb 27th!!).  The sanctuary was set up, we had door prizes ready, copies made, I even had my outfit picked out for the next day.  I worried that people would forget about the event if we had to reschedule.  Then the forecasted snow started to appear.  Later, as I saw the snow piling up, I knew we made the right decision to reschedule.  Yet, I felt so confused.  How could an event that seemed to have been touched by God in ever aspect be hindered by the snow?  I felt as if my faith was being tested.  Then, my aunt reminded me of one important thing—sometimes the hardest faith to have is trusting that things will work out in the way that they should.  There is some purpose and reason for the way things happen and occur.  In my studies of religions from all areas of the world, this seems to resonate with almost every major religion.

(I’ll add here that things are working out as they are meant to.  We now have another 2 experts joining us for the fair on Feb 27th! And, no, even though I’m mentioning religion here, the coupon fair is not a religious event.  No one will be preaching to you while you are there.  Everyone is welcome!)

I also know this about change and transitions—we will be faced by the same lesson until we learn what we are meant to learn.  Look at weight loss stories, relationships, communication, behaviors, whatever.  We are challenged until we “get it”.  Transitions can be slow at times because we must develop and practice what we have learned so that it will really stick.  Sometimes we forget the lesson and test ourselves, in alcohol and drug treatment we call this a relapse.  Let me give you an example from my own life.  I learned a few years ago that a fast food hamburger and fries makes me feel horrible for the rest of the day and night.  I might eat some chicken or something like that every now and again, but I make a habit to steer clear of fast food burgers and fries.  Yet, about one time a year I tell myself that I’ll have a burger and fries and everything will be fine.  It won’t  hurt my belly.  I’m stressed, I need it.  Sure enough, about an hour after ingesting the fast food feast, I’m in pain.  I haven’t learned the lesson yet, and I’ll deal with this struggle until I do.

When I started this post, it wasn’t intended on being a lesson in mindfulness practices.  But, if I step into the mindfulness mode fully, I realize that the post turned out exactly how it was intended.  ;)

Tip—when you are making a change, look at what steps you can take each day to work on your larger goal.  For example, make one organic change each month and practice it until you’ve really transitioned over fully. 


  1. GREAT post! I know for me- I'll be able to go to the coupon fair- last week I had something already planned and wouldn't have been able to go!

  2. Speaking of church, I haven't read all your blog posts, but have you ever taught workshops to teach other church communities about how they can collect and use coupons to buy more food with less money? I think you wrote that people in your church save their coupons for you and you have casually mentioned shopping for church events.

  3. My booth at the coupon fair will have information on starting a couponing program in your house of worship or community center. You can also find more information from this blog post: http://couponingincriticaltimes.blogspot.com/2009/05/coupon-ministry-program.html
    Thanks for your interest in learning how to start such a program--it has been such a blessing to our church and has greatly increased our ability to help others.

    I hope to see you at the fair! Glad to hear from Tami that she'll be joining us!