The other day I ate a cookie — one cookie. Not two, or ten, but one. That might not sound like a big deal, but when I look back over the years and remember how many cookies I always felt compelled to eat at one sitting or standing, I can see that a huge multi-headed monster in my life has gradually been reduced to a dinky dragon with a shrunken head. And let me assure you, this was one excellent cookie with the perfect symmetry of chocolate and pecans, chewy and fresh. Not only did I eat just one, I ate it fairly slowly.
What does this have to do with life as we know it? I'm the kind of person who wants problems to go away quickly, preferably as soon as I see them. I'm also working on patience and reality. I want to take my double-edged sword and march off to do battle with the thing and chop off its head and come back home while it's still daylight. I don't much like the thought of taking teeny little steps toward change — especially change that could take months or years. I mean, who has time for that? But some monsters in our lives have taken years to grow so large and brutish. We feed them every day; we ignore them, too. I'm not sure which is worse. The doorbell rings and we answer it and let the monster in to sit on our couch and waste our time. And, you know, monsters today — they have this sense of entitlement. They can be a royal pain because the longer they hang around the more they want. I heard a story about a man who had two fighting dogs (I am opposed to fighting dogs, but it's a good story). This man earned a great deal of money because he always knew which dog to bet on. He always knew which dog would win. Finally someone asked him how he knew. "Simple," the man said. "One I feed, the other I starve." I don't know about your monsters, mine are ravenous. But I'm finding that as I starve them, those buggers really begin to lose their fight.