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The older daughter sighed loudly and rolled her eyes. Her younger sister slowly destroyed the display at the end of the aisle. And where was their parent?

Don’t ask.

The August series, Easy Fixes, is looking at ways to quickly address everyday problems. Most of us don’t have an extra 5 hours to spare on our meditation cushion. We need techniques to use in the middle of our fast paced world.

As I browsed the office supply megastore one lazy Saturday morning, the agitated questions kept coming. I couldn’t tell whether Middle School Mom was talking to the staff, her kids, or thinking out loud.

“Why don’t you have all the notebooks in one place?”

“Why are the scissors so far away from the pens and highlighters?”

“Why is this stuff so expensive?!”

As a third sales associate avoided eye contact and tried to pass by, she blocked the aisle with her cart.

“You know what you need to do? Get a list of all the schools in the area, figure out their school supplies list, and then sell them in a bundle. You could make a lot of money with that!”

The sales associate was dumbfounded. He said slowly, “Well, there are a lot of public and private schools in the area. Um…I’m not sure how we would do that.”

Overhearing their conversation, another customer chimed in. “That’s a great idea! Why don’t you guys already have those packages put together? And then you could add a dollar to the price. That’s it – $1! That would be perfect!”

Sales associate #3 went blank. “Hmm…that’s an interesting idea. We’ll give that some thought.” The women continued complaining as he dashed to the stock room.

You’ve probably figured out by now that this story isn’t about school supplies. Not really.

It’s about what happens when we get triggered. And when we get triggered, we’re spoiling for a fight.

Let’s make this personal. Think back to last week. What was your breakpoint – the moment something didn’t go as planned and spun out of control?

If you could rewind the situation, what spiritual principles would you use? Here are 3 steps to avoid the fight:

  1. Start by setting an intention. When you envision the end point, what actions do you need to take to get there?
  2. Use discernment and ask yourself, “Am I seeing this clearly?” and “Is this mine to do?” Looking back, Middle School Mom might admit that getting set up for an entire school year takes time. Forcing herself to make all the decisions, especially when she already felt rushed and overwhelmed, made everyone miserable.
  3. Incorporating mindfulness will keep you on track. For example, you may have become frustrated when someone was unkind. And then, like Middle School Mom, you found a buddy who justified your aggravation, and kept it going. Instead, stay flexible and avoid your crazy spot. Do you feel like fueling resentment? Just skip that part!

If you find yourself getting a little stressed this week, go back to basics. Do you need to set an intention, be mindful, or just maintain your sense of humor and keep it loose? Fill your week with easy fixes!