Day 5

Here’s the sentence I keep typing and then deleting:  “Today sucked and I was so stressed out at work that the happiness tasks were just plain old tasks, and I hated it, and it was stupid, and I got nothing out of it so what was the point?”  I keep typing it because it’s kind of true.  I keep deleting it because it’s kind of not.

I love breaking down a conundrum, so let’s dig in to this one.  True:  I was a frantic, impatient, worried sack of stress today.  True:  The happiness work did feel like just another bunch of tasks on an already long list of things I had to get done today.  True:  I did hate having to do it, and it all did seem really amazingly stupid.  False:  I got nothing out of it.

The stress of the day took center, left, and right stage, and I didn’t feel a bit kind, happy, patient, positive, loving, hopeful, or any other bit of sunshine on the happiness spectrum.  I did the tasks anyway, but my heart was not in it.  I repeat – not in it!  But now that I’m sitting down really reflecting on those experiences, I realize, “Hey, wait a crazy no-sense second here; I did get something out of it.”

Which now makes me think that the benefit of this work might come from the reflection on the experience more than just the action.  The actions can feel like tasks, but maybe the action is just the vehicle to the experience.  Which also means that thinking about the day might be a necessary component of all of this.  And if that’s true, then numbing out in the evening counteracts all the good you might have gotten out of the day.  Does that mean there’s a secret sixth task and Shawn Achor lied his face off?  Each day has brought something different, so I will wait until tomorrow to judge him—two days max.

Day 5

Random act of kindness

Remember yesterday when I asked the universe to give me a clear and definite opportunity to act on?  It’s still spinning ‘em out.  All day.  It’s like Universe Gone Wild now, and its version of boobs is people in need.  I got on the train for work at 6 am this morning because I had to get to work early and at the very next stop, this really bewildered looking guy got on and asked the entire car, “Does anyone have $1.49 for a cup of coffee at Pete’s?  It would really warm me up.”  This isn’t NYC; homeless guys don’t normally panhandle on public transportation, and he was so specific.  $1.49.  Cup of coffee.  He even had the place.  I asked the universe to be clear and it provided.  No one responded or even looked at him, and I remember someone commenting about the horribleness of feeling invisible.  So I worked up the kindness courage and gave him $2, almost expecting that he’d give me 51-cents change back.

Every time I walked outside, people asked me for very specific dollar amounts.  A lady who needed 75-cents because someone asked her who the president was and now she had to go look it up.  No idea what it means, but it was a valid request.  A guy who needed 22-cents to help him get a biscuit.  I only had two cents left, but he thanked me for it and said “Only twenty-cents left” with such glee that I felt like a heel for not going to get him the damn biscuit.

Something feels lazy, though, about just giving money to homeless people and counting that as an act of kindness.  It feels too easy, especially working in downtown San Francisco where you’re constantly asked for money.  But they kept coming, and I knew I didn’t have it in me for something more thoughtful today, so I was grateful they asked.  Besides, I had the change; they didn’t.

Exercise

Walked the 2 miles home again today and cursed this project each step of the way.  I seriously considered calling a cab to get me up the final hilly two blocks.  No big realization here, but I still keep feeling like I should be doing more.  I heard from three people today that they were going for runs.  I think it’s a sign.  I should run.  I used to love running.  But out-of-shape Randy would like to perish the thought.

Meditation

I have a giant U-shaped body pillow that I call Joe.  Joe and I are deeply in love.  So much so that I often have to drape him over my desk at night because if we sleep together, I’ll never get out of bed.  It’s just too damn good.  So I save Joe for weekends…until today.

Knowing I needed to change this one up a bit, I sat in bed instead of my desk chair, and I wrapped Joe’s fluffy arms around me and meditated the shit out this task.  It was SO much better tonight, and I had some tactile thing to rely on, some comfort to sink into.  Also, a woman who’s following this blog suggested that I think of my wandering mind as a butterfly.  Crazy helpful!  Instead of counting breaths, I imagined my thoughts as a butterfly, and the focal points were when the butterfly rested and beat its wings to the rhythm of my breath.  I’m not a butterfly kind of guy, but this actually worked, and the meditation itself really helped to reset my mental state—more refreshing than profound.

 3 things I’m grateful for:

1)   The random text I received today from an old friend that included a picture of her adorable daughter.  Someone was thinking about me.

2)   Advice from people I don’t know and my ability to hear it.

3)   This new deodorant I found that smells so good that I smile a little inside each time I get a whiff.

Reflect on something good that happened

I came home thinking I had this really stressful, bad day, but then I realized that some good stuff happened.

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24 comments

  1. Lizzi; Considerer (@LRConsiderer)

    You’re rocking this. Perseverence brings character, and you appear to have it, and be developing it, by the spadeful. Reflection is absolutely key (I would assume this is why the meditation section is included in the original task) – being mindful of what and why is important.

    And a random act of kindness is a random act of kindness is a random act of kindness. They’re all good.

  2. Jennifer

    I’m sorry you had another rough day, but I’m glad you followed your friend’s butterfly tip – I liked that one! And, I’m glad you have Joe. I meditate in bed too; it is so much easier when I’m comfortable. 🙂

    Keep up the good work. It will all get easier and better. Oh, and walking two miles a day is a big deal… you aren’t ready to run… baby steps first. Sending you a big pillow Joe hug!

  3. Sandra Sallin

    Yes, walking two miles in San Francisco is abig deal. I know those hills. They’re hills alright. Your body will tell you when it wants more. The buterfly is so much more elegant. Just like you.

  4. Cindy del Valle

    Love the Universe Gone Wild analogy. Keep your sense of humor. My own has helped keep me sane (whatever that is) forever. It appears to have helped you too!

  5. jessica (@yayponies)

    Big proselyte of running. It hurts and it pisses me off all the time and I have to make myself do it some days, but something magical happens when you just wear yourself out to the point of a runner’s high and then collapse on the grass or floor in a sweaty heap. It’s a good thing.

    • randyscotthyde

      I remember this about running, and it’s why I used to love it. But it’s been so long that now I have to go back to struggling through the beginner steps to get to the place where the high comes. I might be close to putting in that effort, though.

  6. sixversushalfoftwelve

    hi rsh and fmsh – it’s anonymous from canada. my friend across the country and i are following your steps and adapting the 5 steps into ours (i stole the flowers idea and put a single friendly rose on all the ladies desks today including mine… i asked my boyfriend if he thought it was a true act of random kindness because i just used the idea from this blog-diggidey. he said that if they knew i did it [which they didn’t], that it would be a “random act of kissing bum”… so i think i did alright for today). But what I really want to know is what kind of deodorant it was…..

    • randyscotthyde

      Hahaha! I love that you did that! And, hey, I got nothing against a well placed kiss to the bum sometimes, but good for you for keeping it kind! And the deodorant is something called Men’s Stock (creepy name, I know) Natural Dry Herbal Pine Deodorant. I’m smelling it right now. So good!

  7. sweavo

    New reader from England. You’re doing great! I know that your blog is striking chords with people of all sorts of backgrounds so you’re doing more good than you might think by letting us peep into your soul from behind the safety of a touchscreen. I’d say don’t beat yourself up on the exercise front activity versus no activity is a huge gain in itself. Don’t forget to compare the difference between doing these tasks and not doing them, rather than the difference between what you did and what you coulda shoulda oughta have done. Ask yourself how things would be different if you hadn’t bothered at all. Then shake your own hand for making things better than that.

    • randyscotthyde

      This is spectacular advice! I have, in fact, forgotten to compare the difference between doing and not doing, which is another lesson in looking for the good in things. Thank you for this!

  8. Christine

    I’ve been debating whether or not to leave a comment here – I never do – but reading your blog has reminded me of my own struggle with depression (which eventually landed me in the emergency room.) As horrifically trite and cliched as it sounds, it does, eventually get better. And by the look of things you’re surrounded by people who care about you very much. I would advise keeping them close; talk to them, tell them how you feel, let them help you to make life more meaningful. I know that gut-crushing sense of emptiness, and giving obvious advice doesn’t help AT ALL, so yeah… I just want to say that, for what it’s worth, I actually DO care that you are going through depression, since nobody should have to experience that, and I really hope you feel better soon. I’ll keep following your (very courageous) blog, and I’m rooting for you.

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