I don’t like to be positive or hopeful without tons of proof to back it up (I like to ensure that my bets have incredibly safe odds), but I tentatively and hesitantly say that I think this experiment might be going well. I promised not to judge yay or nay until it’s over, so I’m not going to say too much about that. But know that Sundays are typically hard days of the week, and today was a noticeably good day. Good days are never Sundays.
I felt refreshingly free of overwhelming angst and the feeling that I’ve swallowed heavy weights filled with the sands of gloom and foreboding. No, today felt…I’ve been struggling with the adjective, but I’ll say…light. Sunshine was welcome instead of glaring, the extra time in bed was a pleasure instead of a must, and I viewed the happiness tasks as a comfort instead of a requirement. It was nice to have a break from hopelessness-brain, but I need repeated instances of reliability before I call it a success. So I’ll give it a lower case “wow.”
I’m really digging the alone-in-my-room yoga. I always thought doing it alone would never work, that I’d need a class full of people so I could rely on my competitive nature and fear of humiliation to do more than five minutes before I gave up. But I’ve been to enough classes that I have a basic knowledge of what to do, so I committed myself to a strict 30 minutes. I fought the instinct to give up after 10, and surprisingly finished the full 30. I felt sweaty, refreshed, and satisfied. (And never in all my most recently depression filled life did I think I would ever type that last sentence—and mean it.)
I studied North Indian Classical Music in college and took tabla lessons from a guy who studied with Ravi Shankar in the same class as the Beatles (it’s my most exciting brush with musical celebrity). One of the primary elements of this genre is the drone. It’s a single note that is constantly present throughout the entire piece. It’s the foundation that every other note relies on and relates to.
I’ve been understanding this meditation thing better, and I realize now that it’s really about training the mind to focus on a single thing. It’s not about counting the breaths, it’s not about waiting for some mind-blowing metaphysical or personal understanding, it’s a focus on one, singular thing. So today, in the hippie, Eastern spirit of meditation’s source and a remembering of things I used to enjoy, I put on a 20-minute Indian Classical piece, and my meditation today focused on the drone. Wherever the music went, wherever my brain went, I returned to the backbone, the foundation note. And I was reminded, again, of the things I used to love and was grateful for finding an active way to re-invite it back into my life.
3 things I’m grateful for
1) New relationships with old loves
2) A good day
3) My friend Jim (and I’m about to tell you why)
Random act of kindness
I had dinner plans with my friend Jim this evening. I also had more leftovers than I knew what to do with. So I packed some up (complete with utensils and dessert), put them in a bag, and wrote on it with a black marker, “If you’re hungry, here’s some food.” Then on my way to the restaurant, I put it on top of a trashcan in the middle of a busy block. I walked past the trashcan on my way home and was excited to see that it had been taken and that someone was enjoying some damn good pasta (if I do say so myself). But this is not why I’m grateful for Jim.
Reflect on something good that happened
This is why I’m grateful for Jim. Jim is a friend that I met at a Thanksgiving dinner party a few years back, and our paths sometimes cross with the kind of work I do. Jim is happily married to a wonderful person and has a career that keeps him busy, so I don’t see him often. It’s probably been a year since I’ve seen him last, but calendars worked and we had dinner this evening.
Jim and I are similar in ways that I don’t quite understand. Whatever internal workings dictate perspectives of life, his and mine are the same. And whatever benefits have come from this first week of happiness work really let me talk WITH Jim. All-caps “with” is important here. I didn’t feel any pressure to play the conversation game—I talk, you talk, I talk again, you say “that’s nice,” I ask questions to keep conversation going, etc. No talking volleyball, it was just easy. It felt like real human connection. It felt like a friend. And this is why I am grateful for Jim.