Day 4

I was back to my old ways this morning.  I rolled from the bed to the shower and then moped my way to the train stop down the street.  Which means I was my normal grumptastic self on the train and politely scowled at the woman talking too loud on her cell phone.  I’m mad at myself that I didn’t make use of the time before work.  Damn it, Mornings, why do I hate you so, you ugly, cruel bastard!

What do I do here?  Do I continue this struggle with my bright-eyed nemesis or do I just make peace with the fact that it’s not going to happen and this is a futile war?  It just seems like such prime, useful time.  But I’m trying to be flexible in this project and experiment with what works and what doesn’t, so I guess I’m glad I got the chance to see what it’s like not taking advantage of the morning, but I’m still stumped on this one.

Overall, though, today was a bit of a game changer on the negative perspective front.  One of the tasks in particular kind of blew my mind.  It’s a meaty one, so I’ll save it for last.

Reflect on something good that happened

I’m about 4 or 5 months into my current job.  New jobs are hard, especially in this current brain state, so my depressed, unconfident, self-conscious ways have completely ruled the school when it comes to inter-office relationships.  Just like a nervous teen at a new junior high, I am, of course, convinced they all see through me and know I’m total fake and a fool.  Everyone seems really nice for the most part, and I totally recognize it’s all coming from me as I stumble on my words and awkwardly slink away.  It was particularly bad in the first couple of months, but as I grow more comfortable and identify like-minded people to cube-chat with, this gets a little easier.  Mostly.

I shared this blog project with a few coworkers.  The minute it came out of my mouth, I wanted to punch my own face.  WTF, Randy?!  This information is so personal!  Why are you sharing this if you’re already painfully self-conscious.  But I did it.

And a few hours later, I came back from a meeting to find a bouquet of fresh flowers on my desk with no note or name attached.  Since there was no occasion to warrant this, I’m convinced of three things: 1) it had to have been one of the co-workers who knew about this experiment and was offering up their own random act of kindness (I’m fairly certain I know who it is, actually); 2) I work with some pretty extraordinarily great people; 3) I worry too damn much.

Day 4

Exercise

In addition to life and mornings, I also struggle with transitions.  Going from home to work, from work to home, from social to alone, alone to social, asleep to awake—just to name a few.  One of the hardest daily transitions is going from a fast-paced, anxiety filled workday to a calming, quiet space at home where I’m again confronted with myself.  The preferred medication to handle this transition has been a bottle of delicious, anxiety-reducing, self-avoiding, pleasure-filled wine.

Today, I tried to think of exercise as the transition medication and walked home from work—a 2-mile walk that ends, of course, in another steep hill.  It didn’t work as instantly or as noticeably as a bottle of wine does, but it did help a little.  I also feel if I did something more challenging at the end of a workday, the help it provides could be more impactful.  But it’s hard to find time in the day and for some reason I’m scared of doing something harder.

Meditation

I did the obligatory 15 minutes when I got home.  I continue to struggle with this one and might need to change it up somehow.  One thing is for certain, though.  Do not meditate on an empty stomach because instead of counting breaths, you will count tacos.  And sometimes chicken strips.

3 things I’m grateful for:

1)   Louis Niebur for supplying me with Coronation Street – a guilty pleasure that’s much easier on the liver

2)   Being the beneficiary of someone else’s random act of kindness

3)   A home that I feel proud of and safe in

Random Act of Kindness

I have a confession that I need to come clean about.  Don’t hate me, but my previous random acts of kindness were, in fact, totally planned.  I thought it out in advance, added it to the day’s to-do list, and then completed the task.  They were heartfelt, but not at all covered in the spirit of random.  I’m really sorry.  This one is hard, though, and makes me nervous in a way the others don’t.  But today I ran out of ideas, and decided to really embrace the word “random,” and wait for something to present itself.  This changed everything.

Not knowing what the kind act was going to be, I had to watch for it all day.  In every interaction, in every meeting, every phone call, every walk outside, I had to be watchful for an opportunity to be kind, and it completely changed my perspective of the world around me.  There were opportunities everywhere, but they were subtle and easy to miss, and I wanted to be more than polite and nice, I wanted to be kind.  Most of the things I saw that I thought could really count involved interacting personally with a stranger.  There was a nervous man at Starbucks holding his resume that I could have just simply said “good luck” to.  There was a woman on the train who looked frantic and kept looking at a city map that I could have offered help to.  But these things required me to talk to them, to step out of my shell and be seen by them, and I totally whimped the hell out.  And it occurred to me that kindness requires courage.

I was leaving work and started to worry that I wasn’t going to get this one done, so I said to myself, “Self, the next clear opportunity that presents itself—you’re taking it whether you like it or not.”  And I swear on a stack of chicken strips, that just a single step later a homeless man walked past me who was talking to himself and said, “Do I need food?  Yes.”  Does it get any clearer?  Yes, it does actually.  He was also right in front of a Starbucks.  So I walked inside, bought a sandwich, and walked up to the man.  I didn’t say anything, just gently touched him on the shoulder and placed it in his hand.  No exchange of words, he didn’t even see me, but I was able to overcome my own inhibitions to help this guy out for an instant.

And I realized that the word “random” is a crucial component of this task.  I looked for opportunities to be kind all day, and it set my brain to notice instances where I could be kind to someone—not nice, that’s different.  I mean fearlessly kind.  Even after I gave the guy the sandwich, even though the task was officially completed, this stuck with me, and I noticed other opportunities on my walk home.  I was looking at the world with kindness.  I’m not sure if kindness automatically equals happiness, I’m actually not sure yet what really defines happiness, but seeing life through the kindness lens for a day has really shaken something up.

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47 comments

  1. Susie Dalton

    Randy, I love what you wrote today, so much. Your honesty wows me and makes me nod in so much agreement—and I wonder if you realize how much of what you are sharing is stuff so many of us go through every day? I’m not attempting to minimize the power of your challenges. Not at all. Just to acknowledge how much of your struggles are humanness itself (at least here in America) and how relatable (how the hell do you spell relate-able?) to so many of us. I love (love, love) what you wrote about your random act of the day, and how wonderfully true it is that it’s the openness to the possibility that is the real shift, not necessarily the act itself. You are rockin’ it, Randy. Can’t wait for tomorrow. xoxo

  2. spittingtacks

    Maybe meditation doesn’t have to be the Om-Zen-Buddhist variety? There are walking, writing, breathing, etc. meditations. I’ve found that meditating can be hard for me and my busy mind. It wasn’t until a friend pointed out that our mind’s are inherintly busy and that this static is also a part of the meditation that I constantly thought I was most definitely doing it wrong. They also don’t tell you that therapy causes us to grieve our past loses and that this can be painful. Yet, plenty of people march on with therapy too.

    I think you’re doing terrific, my friend.

  3. Lizzi; Considerer (@LRConsiderer)

    This is awesome. And even the planned acts were random to the people on the receiving end, BUT, viewing the world through those fearlessly kind lenses is incredible. And each day you do this, you will have at LEAST one thing of which you can be truly proud.

    Good for your co-worker, whoever it was. What a star. It sounds like you’ve found yourself amongst a really good team there, and that’s worth its weight in gold/platinum/diamonds. Looking forward to your next.

  4. Jeannette Pepin

    Wonder words today, Randy. I was especially impacted by your random act of kindness. So lovely that you were the recipient of another’s RAOK. Love reading the replies and comments on your blog, as well. The world is transitioning into a much better place because of you. We’re all in this together!

  5. Cindy del Valle

    Once again, you reach into that hole you describe and prove to us it isn’t really empty, just full of unrecognized potential and wisdom you are now allowing yourself to embrace. Thank you for letting us in on your journey as you not only allow yourself to grow, but ourselves as well.

  6. Jennifer Maerz

    I love that you have such sweet coworkers, it’s just like when you’re ready to think everything is crap even the people in your office step up. So great.

    • randyscotthyde

      I know! Especially since this is the group you end up spending the most time with, and you’re stuck in these boxes where you do your work, and then there are these moments of kindness that remind you that you’re in a building full of people. Not workers. Yourself included.

  7. Amie Pfeifer

    Wonderful post, Randy, I am brought to tears by your amazing kindness and bravery. So often when I am walking I am in my own world (usually with headphones plugged in) and do not notice the people I am passing along the way. Thank you for reminding me to get out of my own head and pay attention to others. So often all anyone really needs is to be acknowledged; to know that they are not alone. You, my friend, have pulled us all together; created this space where we feel we are traveling this path with you; and along the way we are meeting each other. Thank you Randy and keep up the amazing work!!! Love you!!!

  8. Chrissy Maerz

    I am officially addicted to your blog! Thank you for showing us that thinking out if the box creates a whole new life. You are definitely creating a RIPPLE that started with you and continues on and on.

    • randyscotthyde

      Chrissy, this is so sweet of you to say. If I’m creating any ripple at all, know that it’s completely unintended. I’m just trying to figure this stuff out. Thank you for the encouragement, though. It means a ton!

  9. Jessica Kipp

    Hi Randy – just found your blog and am blown away. I’ve fallen in love with you the way we fall in love with beauty we witness. Everything you’re writing about is everything that runs through my own head every day, and I have a really good feeling about what you’re doing. So thanks, good luck, and we’re all cheering you on from our own scared, lazy, unsure little insides. Your successes give us hope for ourselves.

    PS – SF’er as well; let’s be friends.

  10. Jeannie Patz

    Randy, your Day 4 writing really hits home. I am going through a transition of my own right now, and I realized today that I’ve been really hard on myself lately. This particular post is a welcomed nudge for me to ease up and be KIND to myself.

    Your random act of kindness, along with your process of executing it, is incredibly inspiring. GO RANDY GO!

  11. Jennifer

    Yay! You made it through another day, and what a day it was! I actually got shivers when I read your RAOK! You are amazing and the journey you are on is wonderful. I’m grateful you are sharing it. I hope you will follow Jeannie’s example and be kind to yourself around all of this, but in particular around that with which you are struggling (today it was meditation). Try (does’t mean be perfect at) and just be a witness to when your brain is running off, acknowledge it, and then go back to your breathing. Don’t get hooked by it, don’t fight it, and don’t get angry with yourself about it. I’m coming to learn that struggling or fighting against anything just makes it worse. One of the things they teach us in my riding class is that if you are trying to stop or slow down a runway horse you don’t pull and hang on the reigns, you pull, then release, then pull, then release, etc. This goes completely against my instinct, which is to pull with all my might. However, if you just pull and don’t release (aka lossen your grip) the horse will put all of his 1,200 lbs against your pressure. Guess who’s going to win that tug of war! Not me! So when your brain runs off with you observe, acknowledge, let go, and return to your breathing. With time, your brain won’t run off with you as much. XO

  12. katrinajoyplam

    Kindness does require tremendous courage! I hadn’t ever considered it before but it’s true. I’ve been working on opening up my heart to give and receive love, which plays out in minor interactions in the world i.e. an exchange between myself and the clerk at grocery store. I try to actively engaging with people, look them in the eye and communicate in sincere ways. These tiny little moments of connection add up and soothe the Big Lonely that I carry around with me everywhere; but I simultaneously find these moments unnerving as if revealing my kindness to another human being will leave me vulnerable and exposed.

  13. Kawena Ito

    You are 100 percent right… Kindness does indeed take courage — and confidence… Its so much easier to avoid being outwardly kind or helpful! Congrats, Randy… One step at a time… I am learning and being inspired by your journey! -Wendy

  14. chrissyloader

    I have to admit, this one made me a little teary – in particular, because it made me think about how important the so-called “journey” is within life. It seems that as you’re recording your journey toward finding happiness, through walking, meditating, journalling and really being present, you’re also becoming present in the very choices you make throughout your day and how you interact with the world. Your act of random kindness itself isn’t as important as the consideration and the courage it takes to genuinely listen to the needs of and connect with another human. This is all sort of meta, but it seems you give happiness, and you feel happiness, and then – hell – you write about it in such an honest and humbling way, and reveal your epiphany about it, that this provides ultimately provides even more happiness for people like me, the reader. Your sharing is a RAOK. Whoa. My mind is sort of blown. Go, Randy!

  15. Sophie

    I was in A Jamba Juice yesterday and two servicemen came in behind me and I thought of you and I thought, “I should buy their smoothies for them.” But then I got shy and wimped out and was mad at myself for a good hour afterwards. Gonna do it for sure next time. Also, I can’t do the meditation thing the way you are doing it either, but i have found meditation in repetitive or engaging tasks, like pulling weeds or (for others, not me) painting, where you are just absorbed in the task alone and not thinking of anything else but the next weed or brush stroke. Lastly, I didn’t see anything in the rules that said you had to do this stuff in the morning. Give yourself a little leeway, especially at the beginning… I’m rooting for you!

  16. kirbyp

    Reblogged this on siliconsavasana and commented:
    This is my favourite blog right now. Randy is doing an experiment to see if he can fill his soul hole. He writes beautifully and authentically.
    This post particularly resonated with me. Randy writes that performing random acts of kindness requires courage—and provides a lens through which you begin to see the world in terms of opportunities to be kind.

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