not a problem to be solved

February 10, 2008

I am not a problem to be solved.

I’m reading The Silent K, who is one of the first blogs I started reading. She’s a yoga teacher and counselor, and she’s been going through some tough times. Don’t we all? Anyway, she’s talking about this new Mindfullness therapy training she’s been going through, and one of the things they have taught is that we are problems that need solving.


It’s like a light bulb just exploded above my head! I’m looking at my relationships, I’m looking at my work situation, my family life. A good portion of my life, I’ve seen areas that I’ve been lacking in and have tried to resolve them. And I’m nit-picky too! I used to be very stressed out about my reading speed. I wish I would just go ahead and listen to the other 4-6 hours of poetry podcasts I have sitting in my iTunes. I should be better about making the bed, and calling my grandmother and wearing sunscreen. Lack, lack, lack.


Now, shouldn’t I be thinking about what is really important in my life? Remember the golf ball analogy?

A professor is demonstrating something for his class. “Consider this jar is your daily schedule, your life,” he says. He takes a large empty and clean pickle jar and fills it to the top with golf balls. Then he pours in some gravel, which fills in all around the balls. He shakes it down, pours in some sand, shakes that down too, pours a little more. Then he slowly adds water until it won’t do anything but collect at the top. It’s a mess, but the jar is essentially as full as it can be. He asks the class, “Now, look at this and tell me what you’ve learned.”

One students responds, “No matter how busy you think you are, you can always do more.”
“Not quite,” the professor assures. “What I want you to realize is that, if I had put the sand, or the water in, even the gravel, I would not have had room for these golf balls. Think of the golf balls in your life: family, faith, work, health. These are the truly important things in your life. If you don’t get them in first, you may not be able to get them in at all.”

What is most important? How are my priorities seen as solutions or addenda to problems that I may or may not truly have? What is “improving myself” a point of stress or insecurity?



  1. I may pick up the Silent K…

    We are NOT problems to be solved. My favorite way of thinking about what we ARE is along the lines of a bumper sticker that seems to be popular in my area; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

    One of my favorite authors, Richard Bach, said something like “there is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek your problems because you need their gifts.” Everything we do – all the energy we draw to ourselves – is toward the end of our learning. We’re each here for a purpose, and we seek our friends, our experiences and yes, our problems, as a means of fulfilling that learning.

    At least, that’s how *I* see it. I could well be full of shit here…

  2. Hehe. Mrs Chili, your not full of shit(and even if by some stretch of the imagination you were, at least it smells pretty which that in itself is an accomplishment).

    That’s a great analogy with the golf balls, one in which I’ve never heard of but it makes perfect sense. Putting the “golf balls” in first is easier said than done, because if it was easy to do, nobody would have those issues … but I agree completely with you E, or at least with the notion you were going after, I tend to lean towards both stress and insecurity ….

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