I usually start these posts with a generalized synopsis of how the day went overall. But today, dear reader, I’m going to instead have you sit beside me in the car as we ride together on Day 9’s emotional roller coaster. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened – the peaks and valleys will both be steep.
I woke up this morning still riding the happiness high of yesterday. I showed a Sunday who was boss, so I figured Monday would be fearin’ me something fierce! It’s another particularly busy week at work, so I woke up early to get into the office earlier and to get some meditation time in before I had to jump into the workwind (work+whirlwind=workwind). Freshly showered and coffee-d, I laid down on the floor to meditate since that’s been working pretty well. I’m counting breaths, counting breaths, counting again, still counting, and I guess at some point the breaths turned into sheep and I counted myself to sleep.
Fortunately my roommate says “good morning” through the door to wake me from my snoring slumber, and instead of getting to work early, I was 15 minutes late with 30 new to-dos waiting for me. Today, meditation can bite me.
3 things I’m grateful for
I had multiple deadlines on multiple, difficult projects, was catching my mistakes all over the place, having a hard time focusing, and pretty much pissed off at the world and all that it holds. The happiness tasks were not only failing me, they were causing my destruction.
Then completely out of the blue, I got the three most touching emails from people reading the blog. These emails were so encouraging, kind, and incredibly well-timed. Three of them, almost at the same time! Somehow they psychically knew to save their comments when they’d be needed most. Today was that day, and today I am grateful for them. I’m sorry I haven’t written any of you back yet, but please know how much it meant.
1) My friend Diane – you were spot on with your wise words and nailed it today like nobody’s business
2) My friend’s sister Yukiko – you got me to the page today and helped me understand that I’m not just doing this for myself
3) My cousin Gena – you reminded me that I’m loved
So it’s 9:00 p.m., and I’m finally leaving the office without exercising or being kind to anyone or anything. In fact, I was looking to skip exercise completely and be specifically unkind to everyone and everything. The fact that the train wasn’t going to show up for 47 minutes encouraged this idea and made me want to punch someone in the neck. No funds for a cab, I was forced to walk 2 miles to home. Points to keep in mind: It’s 9:00 at night, I haven’t had dinner, I still have tons to do, it’s drizzling, it’s cold, and I forgot the main tenant of San Francisco living – always carry a light sweater.
Random act of kindness
It occurred to me during my cold and long walk home, that there was nothing in the day that I could count towards this task and the day was almost over, and I was going to have to admit defeat on this one. Mind you, I was somewhat glad to considering my intense hatred of the world just then.
I’m walking down the sidewalk and this frat-boy-looking-tough-guy calls me over to him and follows me when I keep walking. I’m a pretty thick guy, made of hearty stock, but I’m convinced that all strangers are out to successfully beat, mug, or harm me by some other method I haven’t thought of yet. But I recognized it as fear as he held out a map and expressed frustration in a European accent. Poor guy just needed directions back to his hotel. So we struggled through his German-laden English, and my incredibly bad sense of direction, to find it. I walked him two blocks to where he needed to turn off and now he’s hopefully found rather than lost.
Reflect on something good that happened
I chatted with the European frat boy for a couple of blocks, gave him a few must-sees while he was here, and continued my walk home. Then I started thinking how nice it was that I had this random, but pleasant encounter with a stranger. How out of the blue I was forced to exercise, had three easy things to be grateful for, and a random random act of kindness that seriously defined random. Then I started thinking how much I’d accomplished that day at work. I got a lot done, and a few things I did pretty well. And then all of a sudden, it was a good day. My outlook, my perspective changed in an instant. Damn it, it’s that random act of kindness again–making me look kindly on the world and kindly on the day. And it came home with me. I can hear the siren song of TV coming from the other room (a mindless song I often gladly swim toward), but I’m at the page. Writing. Doing something I love to do. After a hard, but good day. And now I say good night and “happily” present you a drawing.