Use the one X one rule

Up, up, and away, in my beautiful balloon. (Someone should write a song about that.)

I was given a hot-air balloon ride by my family this past weekend. The event was over a year in the making, and celebrated a milestone birthday for me. It was worth the wait.

I’m a bit of a daredevil, so the thought of going up high in the air didn’t scare me. I like heights, speed, and living on the edge a little bit. I still want to jump out of an airplane.

Rising high allowed me to see familiar landscape like I’d never seen it before. I could see beauty and patterns obscured by the ground-level view. Our pilot, John Klempner of Okanagan Ballooning, was skilful in keeping us going safely in the right direction and bringing us in for an easy landing. It was so peaceful and wonderful.

Floating above the familiar cityscape caused me to reflect on the wisdom and peace that’s available when I rise above, and gain a higher perspective on, life. I was reminded of a practice I’ve used over the years to put things in proper perspective.

In my earlier years, I wasted so much precious time and attention, getting my knickers in a knot over things that just weren’t important.

I’d yet to awaken to the wisdom of asking myself an important question, “Will this situation even matter, or be remembered, in one year?” If not, then I don’t give it more than one minute of mental air time.

This is the rule of one X one.

When I learned this rule, I considered the many sleepless nights and the days of mental torture I’d spent. I couldn’t even remember what most of the situations were about.

The object of my worry was so inconsequential and mattered so little, I couldn’t recall what had happened within a relatively short period of time. So much lost time and suffering over nothing.

We, alone, determine the amount of air-time we give to the minutiae, the ups-and-downs of life. We choose how much mental and emotional coin we spend by jumping into the mental loop of suffering. Many times, we feed it and keep it going, prolonging our pain.

Pausing to ask ourselves if we’ll remember the moment or situation in a year and how much it’ll matter to us then, is a perfect place to begin. If not one year, then five; will it matter in five years? If not, then let it go.

Next time you notice you are triggered or the hamster wheel of the worrying mind kicks into action, pause, take three deep breaths, and ask yourself, “Will this matter or affect me in one year? If not, don’t spend more than one-minute worrying about it.” Gain a higher perspective.

This simple practice has improved the quality of my life in a powerful way. I’ve learned not to make mountains out of mole hills, to relax, and not to take myself and life so seriously.

As you begin the practice, you may need to repeat the process a few times to remind yourself. Remember to breathe, and to be patient, gentle, and kind with yourself, as you learn a new way.

What you practice grows stronger, and your brain changes as you decrease time spent on worry or upset. It takes practice to change old neuro-pathways and habits of being but it’s worth it.

Taking a bird’s-eye view offers clarity of vision as things appearing big when you’re up close are placed in proportion to the whole.


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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

Corinne, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Health Science, is a staff minister with the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, and a hospice volunteer. She is an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan, and is currently teaching smartUBC, a unique Mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. She is an invited speaker and presenter.

From diverse experience and knowledge, personally and professionally, Corinne has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people to gain a new perspective, awaken, and to recognize that we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts or to life; we are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 41 years, and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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