Don’t Lose Your Marbles

My children go to a language immersion school and they both speak German fluently. A few years ago, I was in the classroom volunteering and I noticed all the kids had marbles in their pocket. I asked the teacher what the purpose of these marbles was. He said that every time you speak English instead of German you lose a marble.  The goal was to still have some marbles at the end of the school day. This was a great way to motivate the children to only speak German all day long – even during lunch and recess.

This reminded me of a story I heard about a man who puts marbles in a jar.  The man figured out that the average person lives about seventy-five years.   He then multiplied 75 times 52 and came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. The man was fifty-five years old and by that time he had lived through over 2800 Saturdays. He got to thinking that if he lived to be 75, he only had about a 1000 of them left to enjoy.  So, he bought 1000 marbles and every Saturday since then, he took out one marble and threw it away.  He found that by watching the marbles diminish, he focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight. The story ends with the man removing his last marble saying, “I figure if I make it until next Saturday, then I have been given a little extra time.”

This also got me thinking about marbles and energy.  What if I had a handful of marbles and the marbles represented my energy.  Each expendable amount of mental energy becomes a marble and we only have a limited number of marbles to use on any given day.  Of course, we expend energy with physical activities throughout the day, but these are easier to be aware of. I want you to think about your mental energy and where you are putting that.  With each thought, you give away one of your marbles.  And for this exercise you would need a lot of marbles because on average we think 70,000 thoughts per day!  Perhaps you spend a lot of mental energy on a big prospect, or you spend mental energy worried that you don’t have enough time to get it all done.  Or you spend a lot of mental energy on potential what-ifs.  If you had this imaginary fishbowl of marbles that represented your mental energy – how many of your marbles would be focused on things like hope, abundance, and clarity? Or how many marbles would be focused on fear, doubt or lack?

I believe that most people would not even know how many marbles they used in a day – reason being…most people are walking around unconscious – unaware of their mental energy.  Scientists say by the age of 35 we have become a memorized state of being – memorized behaviors, memorized emotions, learned perceptions, etc.  Most people just wake up and start reacting to everything that happens to them. When I start my day with an awareness of mental energy – my thoughts, perceptions, beliefs, etc. I have a CHOICE.  I get to choose what I want to focus on and where I want to spend my mental energy.  And of course, sometimes I forget – I go unconscious.  Like I might choose gratitude in the morning, and then someone cuts me off in traffic and I find myself irritated. I just went unconscious.  I have to practice again and again the choice of awareness and consistently and proactively choose how I want to spend my mental energy.

So, if you had a bag of marbles for this past week – where has your mental energy been?  People are always reading your ENERGY more than they are listening to words.  Often times we say the right things, but the question is HOW ARE YOU REALLY FEELING?  We think we can fake it, but we can’t.  On a sub-conscious level people are picking up on your energy and feelings.  I know it isn’t easy – but when it comes to feelings you do have a choice.  You can create a feeling in yourself without the experience.  Let me give you an example.  Have you ever gotten really mad at someone and a day later, a week later or even a few months later you are retelling the story to a friend and you feel yourself getting mad all over again? What did you just do?  You just created a feeling in yourself without the experience happening.  If you can do that with a negative experience – can’t you do it with a positive one?   If you are currently feeling fear and doubt- go back to a time or an experience when you were feeling confident, hopeful, etc – it isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either.  You can proactively choose your feelings! By doing this we are learning how to live above our circumstances and not in them!

I am not suggesting you really carry around a bag of marbles all day long. But I am suggesting that every day you start waking up and paying attention to where you are spending your mental energy.  It all begins with AWARENESS……Real change begins with AWARENESS and awareness always leads to CHOICE.

So, whether you are using your marbles to remember to speak German like my kids or using your marbles to countdown your Saturdays; always remember, each day is a gift and the only thing we really have is the moment of NOW.  You really only have one marble – the marble of NOW! This is your life, your journey, and you’re in charge.  You are the only one that gets to decide what to do with your one marble.

I hope all of you have an amazing month!  Don’t let the stress of life make you lose your marbles!  Strive to live every day in the moment of now – fully present, with awareness, and proactively choosing how you want to feel.

In love and gratitude,

Jenni Byrd Grier