This morning, I noticed a just after my shower that one of my diamond earrings was no longer in my ear.
In the past, this moment would have inspired a flood of self-chastisement (why didn't you remove them like a responsible person), loss (the one splurge gift from my mom 10 years ago) or even punishment (if you can't keep track of things, you don't deserve to have nice things). After all, the earrings are one of just a few pieces of fine jewelry I own, and they were given to me 10 years ago by my mother.
I suspect that many women and more than a few men will recognize the litany of self-flagellation and should-haves we can put ourselves through when faced with even a minor incident of carelessness. In fact, I suspect it's the minor incidents that cause the most disproportional responses!
But this time, I didn't. I shrugged and put the remaining earring away for safekeeping, just in case its mate showed up. And let's be clear that I'm not as enlightened as I'm making myself sound--I'm getting over a cold, and I simply didn't have much energy to expend on worrying about the loss of this item. I was tired. So instead of chastising myself, I shrugged and shelved it under "worry about that later."
And as luck would have it, I did discover the missing earring within the hour. And I took a moment to appreciate all the negative energy I hadn't spent on mourning the loss of this item.
It may just be the cold talking, but the truth of the situation struck me: the universe was what it was--the truth was there, whether I freaked out or not. It was there, whether I ever found the earring again or not. It was there, whether I blamed myself for it or not. Any emotion that I added to the situation would simply have been part of the process of my accepting the truth of the world.
This is something I'm going to remind myself of the next time I get broadsided with unpleasant news: what you think or see right now might not be the actual truth of the world. Stay involved, stay curious, and the truth will reveal itself to you.
And then you can freak out.