A Simple Path – To the Basic Instructions for Life | The BridgeMaker

A Simple Path – To the Basic Instructions for Life

By on Sep 07, 2014

It is not length of life, but depth of life. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are days when I want to leave notes around the house with step-by-step instructions. Or better yet, maybe I could use my iPhone to record short instructional videos for my family. These tutorials would cover topics like…

…how to fill up the dogs’ water bowls.
…how to use a light switch, both ways.
…how to carry a laundry basket back upstairs.
…how to put a dish into the dishwasher.
…how to return an iPhone charger back to the place where it was found.

Stop Arguing with Reality

It’s the little things that annoy me most. My need (okay, my compulsion) for order and routine gets challenged when I see corners being cut. To me, the best time to take care of a task is right now.

But my family isn’t wired like me. The way Mary Beth and the kids define order is different than my definition. So, I can either get angry when my pet peeves aren’t shared, or I can stop arguing with reality and celebrate the fact that at least there are people who love me. And I can celebrate the fact that I don’t share life alone.

This isn’t about surrendering my needs – it’s about choosing to stand on common ground with my family. It’s on this ground where we do see eye-to-eye on the basic instructions for life that matter most. Topics like…

…how to love unconditionally.
…how to give forgiveness.
…how to show gratitude.
…how to leave nothing unsaid.
…how to make your time count.
…how to believe that miracles are possible.
…how to put family first.
…how to give what you can and ask for what you want.
…how to learn from the past and then put it behind.
…how to make room to breathe.

Sometimes the simple path to teaching the basic instructions for life starts by worrying less about what’s not getting done around the house and focusing more on how to fill the house with love.

The task in the days and years ahead is to understand the best course of action is to put down the notepad and close the camera app on my iPhone. Tutorials aren’t needed.

Instead, I will try to teach from, as I continue to learn from, the more important how-to instructional manuals.

This won’t mean that on the nights when I go to plug in my smartphone and the charger is missing I won’t grimace. It just means a beautiful young lady took it, which gives me the opportunity to find my daughter, ask for the charger back and then kiss her good night.

After all, the best time to take care of what matters most is right now.

basic instructions for life

What is A Simple Path?

This post is in A Simple Path, a series of short pieces inspired by my own life experiences. Each post is a simple path to experiencing something wonderful: maybe seeing life from a different perspective, or celebrating its beauty. Please be sure to check out my book on Amazon: 20 Simple Paths to an Amazing Life.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • Alex, Welcome back. I missed you. Keep sharing the love.

    • You got it brother! Thanks so much for reading and encouraging!

  • bheretoday

    I’m thinking we were separated at birth. I feel your pain, brother!! But I especially love the way you choose to respond with love rather than react with frustration. Peace to you.


    • Hey Soul Sister! Even though I’m not perfect, extending love sure feels does better than frustration! Peace to you, too Beth.

  • Mary Beth

    Surely you must be talking about the kids and not me 😉

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