Well, I have this super silly thing that annoys me. Though “getting annoyed” would be cited by my family members as high on my list of faults, this one was Big.

It was an event, really, and then after happening, it transferred into a reality, a memory, and a possible future menace. I can’t be more specific, unfortunately, but I think you’ll get the gist here without the details of *exactly what happened*.

Alternatively, depending on how you wanted to look at The Annoying Thing, when it happened, one could see it as either really big or really small. I’ve gotten validation from all whom I’ve told that it’s very big. My husband thinks it’s fight-worthy. My co-workers think it’s egregious. My family definitely sympathizes. None of this made me feel any better. In fact, it made me feel worse, because The Annoying Thing, in this case, was unalterable. It was a (somewhat or very) frustrating, yet unchangeable, reality. None of the sympathy in the world could change it. And, this Annoying Thing seemed to fascinate all whom I told. To them, it was a good story. But to me, it was my mental enemy.

The Thing had a room in my mind, maybe a whole wing. It had a shape and a taste and past and future fears and anxieties. Thinking of it triggered specific physical feelings: slightly clammy hands, increased heart rate, racing mind, swirling frustration and doubt. It was not painful. It was not life-threatening. It might not have affected the quality of another’s life as much as it did mine. (And when I thought of this, I only sunk deeper.) Simply but, the Thing was Just Annoying. To me. And it lived with me.

A few months ago, a development occurred that meant that the Annoying Thing would be staring me more in the face very soon. It would become more unavoidable. It loomed in the future, ready to face me. There was also nothing I could do about this reality. But I took it in stride. I tried to be game. I was ready to face it.

I made it my summer meditation goal to get past The Annoying Thing. Just last week, taking a divine yoga class at Euphoria Yoga in Woodstock, NY, I had a meditation breakthrough. The teacher talked about what we need freedom from, and I realized, without a missed beat, that I needed freedom from The Annoying Thing. Two mantras came to me: “It’s not personal” and “Life isn’t fair.” The annoying thing had gotten too much power over me. I needed to depersonalize. I needed to reset my expectations. I knew these mantras constituted the path to success and release from The Annoying Thing, but I knew a lot of meditation time still lay between me and true release. But I was ready for it.

Then, disaster struck. Outside forces took the Thing out of my path. (Outside forces were the only thing, outside of meditation, capable of doing that.) Due to the actions of others, over which I have no control, it was gone. And then, gone too, was the focus of so much of my grief and grumbling, so much meditation and so many attempts to let go, mantras, hours of meditation. Some people might think or say that Karma came around, (my husband included). More devout spiritualists might say that the meditation had worked. But I am a realist and I know myself and I knew the Annoying Thing, and I knew that it went away for none of those reasons. A vicissitude of life that carried it away; there was no wherefore, cosmic payback, or Great Scheme.

I’m two days now into the awareness that The Thing has gone away, not through my mental meditative triumphs, but through outside forces, and I feel a little lonely. This was an important mental block for me to vanquish. I can’t just smile at my fortune and pretend The Annoying Thing never existed in the first place. And I won’t. And the main reason why I won’t is that I know the lessons that came to me in Woodstock still remain true. They are true. Life isn’t fair, and it isn’t personal. Annoying Things, no matter how many beset me, aren’t out to get me. It isn’t about me. And it’s not my job to right the scales of justice in the universe. I’m probably not even right about how I think they should be leveled.

So, I’m lonely at July’s end without my meditation goal, without my Most Annoying (but really not that important) Thing. But I’ll keep to my mantras, because they were the meaning behind this whole experience. Even when poetic justice surges in to right the annoying wrongs the world has done you, you know you can’t trust poetic justice or fortune. They are fickle creatures; they don't rescue you every time.

If you told me when The Annoying Thing first surfaced in my life, roughly 2 years ago, that it would help my meditation years later, I would have been wary. But it taught me some mantras, and now I’m on the way to learning the real substance behind the mantras. The substance will come to me eventually. Maybe just in time for the next Annoying Thing to happen to me. Because more Annoying Things are coming. And all I hope is that next time, in this upward spiral journey, I’ll do a little better.

  • Elizabeth