An ordinary day or a perfect day?
At 11:15pm on Saturday 21st September I was driving home, I was feeling good and realised that the day that had just been may well have been a perfect day. I was however also struck by the realisation that from a different perspective, it was an average day or even a bad day. Three quotes came to mind:
“What you practice grows stronger” – Shauna Shapiro
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” – Winston Churchill
Firstly, I have been intentionally focusssing on the atiitude of gratitude within my mindfulness practice over recent weeks. It hasn’t made me richer (financially), more succesful (famous) or healthier (physically), but on Saturday I realised I was a lot happier.
Secondly, by setting an intention each day to pay attention, notice and appreciate the things I am grateful for each day, rather than the things I don’t have, I realise how much I do have!
Thirdly, In every moment of the day I had a choice as to how I would respond, my choices made a massive difference to my feelings at the end of the day.
I didn’t sleep as well as usual, for two days I had been suffering from an attack of gout and woke up a number of times through the night in pain. I also suffer from a chronic ilness, Crohn’s Disease, consequently my mornings can be rather uncomfortable and often painful. However the gout was wearing off and the Crohn’s pain was about the same as it was most mornings, cue another foundational attitude of mindfulness, acceptance. I have also recently reinstated a regular morning mindful movement regime based on 10MindfulMovements by Thich Nhat Hanh. With reservations due to gout and Crohn’s I stayed with my daily intention and practiced the 10 movements, (7,8 and 9 were particularly challenging that particular morning). There was pain and a potentially embarassing lack of balance, however, Iwas able to apply the attitude of non-judgement.
My lovely wife, Alison, kindly made me a fried egg sandwich and a cup of coffee before leaving for her creative writing group. I then embarked on my annual tradition of trawling the news channels for stories about all of the peace day events across the world. As usual it was likew looking for a needle in a haystack! But unlike previous years I met my feelings with calm acceptance rather than anger and frustration.
I then drove into Newcastle, piching up my colleague Rachel, who was due to deliver one of our Autumn workshops, and arrived at the Mindful Therapies Centre. Yoga was just finishing and workshop attendees were arriving. It was great to see colleagues and some of our regular supporters. I then left to join Just Meditation for their meditation for peace at Grey’s monument. Approximately forty other people also participated in a 15 minute silent meditation on sunny September afternoon in the busy City Centre.
Newcastle United versus Brighton & Hove Albion
I met up with fellow long suffering season ticket holder Derek and headed of to the match. Derek and I rarely see eachother except at the match, but it is always good to see him and share our passion for the club. I realised that it is the emotionally charged connection with thousands of other Newcastle supporters that keeps me going, it certainly isnt the football. It was probably the worst game I have watched in the past 25 years!
I then travelled across to meet with close friends to watch a gig at Cluny 2, a small venue in Ouseburn that showcases some great music. I enjoyed the gig and caught up with my closest friend, Tony. Dropping Tony and has wife Bridget in Newcastle was a simple act of kindness before heading home.
A imperfectly perfect day
None of the elements of the day were particularly exceptional but together it all felt just right. There was pain (gout and Crohns), there was disapointment ( low turnout to workshop and meditation), there was suffering (football) but none of that really mattered. There was connection with friends, colleagues, supporters and strangers, there was music and passion. My perfect day was a micrcosm of some of the most important things in my life. I was safe, content and felt connected throughout the day.
Start each day with the intention to to pay attention with an attitude of gratititude and acceptance and yiou have all you need for a perfect day.