Day 9 – Mindfulness Year and a Day
I’ve never really liked the “happiness is a choice” thing. Mostly, my disdain stems from the fact that clinical depression and generalized anxiety suck ass, and they are most definitely NOT a choice. They’re a chemical imbalance.
A big part of living mindfully is choosing awareness over reaction… knowing how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way, and then consciously deciding on what your reaction is going to be. I can feel the mantle of depression creeping over my shoulders this week. It’s there, reminding me that this cycle comes and goes like the phases of the moon. I feel it in my bones, and I know it’s affecting my responses to external stimuli.
Take, for example, this morning:
I woke up at 5:15 with my alarm, and I dragged my tired ass downstairs to do my morning yoga… in truth, I wasn’t 100% set on doing my yoga… I was thinking I might just read. At any rate, I needed to prep the coffee pot, so I ground the beans, filled the water well, and pushed the “go” button. Afterward, I wandered off to go do my morning things.
A bit later, I heard a weird sound coming from the kitchen… the coffee pot was gurgling and spitting and whooshing. Not normal. I went back into the kitchen to find the lid over the filter basket not quite seated correctly… which means that the carafe itself wasn’t taking in liquid… which meant that the coffee and the grounds were ev-er-y-where…
Sooooo I spent my morning yoga time cleaning coffee grounds out of basically everything.
I’m not going to lie… between the creeping depression and anxiety and… coffee mayhem… I was annoyed as shit. I re-made the coffee and sat on the couch and grumbled silently to myself as I scrolled through Facebook. I was already done with the day, and it wasn’t even 6 AM yet.
That’s when I saw this:
I wasn’t sold on the idea initially, but it did bring me around to a bit of awareness. Do I really want this annoyance to set the tone for my entire day? I mean, it’s kind of funny when you think about it. Except, I didn’t get to do my morning yoga… and… coffee grounds. *grunt* *grumble* *fuss*
My husband came downstairs, and when I recounted what had happened, he laughed and said, “You did coffee yoga!”
I admit, I kind of wanted to smack him.
But that made me think more about this idea of being stubborn enough to focus on whatever good comes from crappy situations. What could I be smart enough to cherish?
I made my husband laugh first thing in the morning. And I admit, I laughed with him, even if it was a bit reluctantly. Yay!
My kitchen is clean now, and my coffee pot is absolutely sparkling. Yay!
When I stopped at Target to get formula for my nephew yesterday, I took advantage of their coffee sale… had I not, the grounds all over my counter top would have represented the last of the coffee in the house. So I didn’t have to go without coffee this morning. Yay!
I can still do my yoga later today. Yay!
I got to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee with my husband before the day started. Yay!
Honestly, clinical depression and generalized anxiety will do their best to convince their host that the most minor annoyances are life-ending events. They’re not. And it’s not easy to see through the haze of chemical imbalance to mindfully choose my reactions.
However, if yoga practice has taught me anything, it’s that a good focal point will help you gain the strength, balance and perseverance to do many things you thought were impossible.
So yeah, I’m rethinking my stance on those “choose happiness” messages. I’ve never thought about choosing my focal points and my reactions in terms of stubbornness before… and that suits me well. I still can’t even with the whole new-agey bliss thing… but “stubborn” and “smart?” Hells yes! Now THAT I can wrap my head around.
Today, my invitation is this: When something goes sideways in your day, try to find the shred of good. Sink into it like a mule refusing to budge on the edge of a cliff. Let it be your path and see where it takes you.