‘This area has been spot treated for pests!’, read the sign.
I was chuckling to myself as I pedalled along, wondering just exactly what kind of pests it was referring to. My imagination roamed around picturing varmints, noxious weeds, small children and even a few irritating grown-up-sized people! If only it were that simple, I thought; to spot treat the pests in our lives.
One of the nice things about biking long distances along pathways, is that other than taking care around the bumps, and watching out for other people, there aren’t too many dangers. There are no cars or trucks to worry about, no street signs or stop lights. That leaves lots of room in my mind for thinking. And so it came to be on my rides this week, I began to think about the pests in my life and how I could use a spot treatment on them.
In my little world, I don’t have a lot of noxious weeks or varmints to deal with. I only have one small child who I love dearly, and I only hang out with people I like. I have however, identified some pests that could use a spot treatment or two. I have the pests that show up in the form of unwanted thoughts. These are never the kind of thoughts that say, ‘Liz, you are full of grace. Awesome work with your patience!’ Nope! I don’t have any of these little pesky thoughts at all. The thoughts that double as pests in my life are the ones that make me worry. These are the thoughts based on no reality at all. They are the ‘what if’, ‘the why didn’t I’, the ‘I should have’ thoughts. They race around and around gathering speed and certainty as they go.
If I had a spot treatment for these useless thoughts, these pests, I could eliminate the ruminating about worst case scenarios and use the time to think about realistic approaches and solutions. I wouldn’t wipe out the entire thought, just the part that serves no purpose.
Another kind of pest that could use a spot treatment in my life is my endless list of jobs. My sister reminded me that we were raised on a side dish of ‘We’ll have time for fun when the jobs are finished.’ In some ways this is a great thing to teach children. It teaches the idea of delayed gratification, and of responsibility. It may even help children learn to get the tough stuff done first, and then the rest is easy. There is a catch though; when you are a grown up, the jobs are never done. I could use a little spot treatment to help me erase the jobs at the end of the list, the ones that really don’t matter at all, so there would be time to focus on more of the fun stuff.
As I continued to think about other ‘pests’ I might like to eliminate, my thoughts matured from just wanting to eliminate certain things to a more evolved way of thinking. When I think of spot removers in the real world, they serve a separate function other than simple elimination.
If you go to the dermatologist to have some spots removed, she does not leave a big empty hole where the spots once were. Rather, once the little scabs have healed, the patient is left with nice clear skin. In other words, the dermatologist did not so much remove a spot or two, as she did simply reveal the new skin underneath. The same applies to those little laundry spot-removing pens. When the pen is rubbed over the spot, what is revealed is the lovely fabric; the one that was always there, but that couldn’t be seen because it was being covered.
This led me to think about how I could use this kind of spot treatment. When I am feeling afraid, or unconfident, if I could just use my magic spot treatment, I’m sure I could rub off some of those feelings and reveal my bravery; my bravery that is sitting just underneath the layer of doubt.
When I am finding myself acting stubborn, I could gently rub my spot treatment along the ‘stubborn’ and uncover my open-mindedness.
When I’m questioning the right course of action, I could use the spot remover to release my inner wisdom.
Everything we need to become our best selves is within us. Sometimes we convince ourselves we no longer, or perhaps never did have, certain traits. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Often, the very traits we long for are just sitting below the spots. Perhaps all we need is a little sign, like the one I saw in the park, that might say:
‘Spot treatment for pests available here anytime’
This might be just enough for us to remember to look not at the pest, the spot, but at the gem underneath, just waiting for an invitation to show up in our lives.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What pest needs removing?’
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has particular expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to navigate bumps in your road.