The Easy Place

The Quest for Self Awareness One Moment at a Time

The Junk of Life

It comes at us from all directions.  It can feel like big stuff – criticism from your boss, an ongoing dispute with a neighbor, your significant other forgetting your birthday, anyone (parent, spouse, co-worker) who doesn’t understand you.  

Or it can show up as little annoyances – a restaurant meal not cooked right, cars not stopping to let you cross the street, a rude sales clerk. 

It sucks up our energy and dampens our spirit. 

I call it the Junk of Life.

It can be painful, shocking or just irritating – the bottom line is that it’s upsetting.  The “big” junk can shake our confidence, make us feel “less than”, make us doubt ourselves.   The little junk can fill our days with frustration and anger, leaving us with one of those “Nothing went right today!” days.  But in reality it’s just debris – the stuff in our lives that will be forgotten tomorrow, next week, or next year.   

The Junk of Life can be the outcome of trying new things, trying the wrong things, or not trying hard enough. It can be the result of wanting life to be easy or expecting things to always be as we want them.  Or it can be the consequence of simply living our lives as human beings with all our hopes, dreams and tender spots.

When we let ourselves get pulled into it, The Junk of Life feels real, meaningful, important.  Even the car not stopping to let us cross the street can feel significant, like a personal insult. 

However, when we look at events in our past the junk is easily apparent.  The little stuff vanishes – bad service, cranky clerks, what’s there to remember?  And the big stuff becomes our life lessons, a drop in our “I’ll never do that again” bucket or the information necessary to do it right the next time.  When it’s already happened it somehow becomes neutralized, it’s transformed into information and not much more. 

The best defense against The Junk of Life is to try to view our current junk with that same neutrality.  To let the little stuff flow in and out of our awareness like the trivia it is.  To recognize in the midst of what feels like big stuff probably isn’t as meaningful as it feels at the moment, and to look for the lesson, the information that will help us see it for what it is.   

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10 responses to “The Junk of Life

  1. Foible Gal May 25, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Hi Melinda, I’m so on the same wave length with you on this one. I just wrote a post on dealing with my mom, and I think my new catch phrase is “let it be”. It’s too bad more people aren’t thinking like this, it sure would help us cope better during our jams, traffic and otherwise! hope you visit my post on this, would be curious on your take…best regards, Wendy or Foible Gal!

  2. Debbie May 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks for this post, Min.

    Had a little Junk of Life experience this weekend while Darla and I were visiting Emme.

    In the Whole Foods parking lot (sidenote: we spent 48 hours driving around running seemingly endless errands, beginning with a trip to urgent care because she cut her leg) I backed up at the same time as the driver parked across the aisle. Our bumpers scraped across each other. We got out of our cars and the other driver’s passenger started screeching about this being my fault. I was proud of myself for simply starting to take cell phone pictures and saying “let’s just exchange information” rather than arguing about fault or comparing my scrape to hers. To my surprise, the other driver said “you know, I really don’t care about this.” I said I didn’t either, we wished each other a good day, and moved on. My sis just said “you know, that’s why cars have bumpers!”

    From now on, when I see the scrape on my bumper, I’ll just start a little “Junk of Life” mantra and move on to the next thing!

    • Melinda May 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm

      LOVE your story, Deb! And I love that the only person who cared about the accident was someone that wasn’t part of it!!!

      Thanks for the comment :)

  3. Farouk May 25, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    you are right Melinda
    many of the things that appeared horrible to me in the past are just memories now, thanks for the post :)

  4. Elisabeth Bustamante May 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Wow am I actually the only reply to this awesome read?

  5. Dawnika June 6, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Really good read! There’s just so much we can get frustrated about, but like you said it’s just all junk! =)
    I’m the sensitive type so I can dwell on things too much, but that doesn’t do anyone any good! The “junk life” is a good way to think about it. I recently learned another way of thinking about that stuff too. A Buddhist speaker spoke about neural connections in the brain and how after time we actually become literally addicted to emotions that we’ve repeated too often. One of the descriptions she used for “the junk life” (or any thoughts) is “thought formations.” This makes me think of clouds and how they can so easily and gently dissipate before our eyes. So now I can imagine my negative “thought formations” just dissipating and that helps me.

    • Melinda June 7, 2010 at 7:47 am

      Love the idea of “thought formations” Dawnika! And it’s so true, we can end up creating such energy around negative thoughts that we dwell on!

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