The day started like any other. I was seated at breakfast with my 7-year-old son and the time was 7:15 am. Despite there being five members in our family, it was just the two of us that ate breakfast at the same time during the week. He sat eating his bowl of cereal and I my eggs. He was quiet, as usual, reading the back of the cereal box.
Rolling around in my mind was how difficult the previous day had been for us. He had gotten into a disagreement with a friend at school that then led to further misgivings and poor choices. In summary, he declared it was a bad day. We had listened and imparted our wisdom, assuaging his hurt feelings, but also reminding him to make good choices. How could I influence the day in front of us? How could I set him on a path for a “good” day?
The definition of good
When I googled “good” I pulled the 4th definition displayed that suited my situation best. Here it is –
“Good: giving pleasure; enjoyable or satisfying”. Synonyms included: enjoyable, pleasant, agreeable, and pleasing. This seemed like a great (or good) place to start. Now that I had established the kind of day I desired for myself and my son. I nudged him from his reading reverie and declared, “today is Friday and we are going to have a GOOD day”. He looked up at me, blinked, and said, “okay”, slurped up the last of his milk and walked away. Ahh, he seemed agreeable enough.
Setting the intention
I decided the best way to draw myself into this good day was to state it out loud. After saying it to my son, I repeated it to myself several more times as I prepared to leave the house. What could be next in this quest for good? Mindfully being aware of my surroundings you say? I think you’re right! I decided to pay attention to each and every moment and draw upon the positive in the situation. Off I go!
Mindfully drawing in the positive energy
If you’ve ever mindfully done anything, you know that it’s difficult to stay the course with so many distractions! “I will pay attention”, “I will pay attention”, may be my repeated mantra until I see a squirrel or hear someone chew or breathe. Ha! Wait right there, this is being aware. If I am aware of what is happening in my surroundings, observing through my senses, then I am being mindful. Oh this is tricky business. Let’s check google again for a definition to assist us with this tug of war. Alright, Google says it’s a noun and – “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” Bingo.
Okay, so if I notice the squirrel, breathing, or chewing of someone in my environment, I am aware of those noises and visual displays of energy. I think what is important is what I do next. Do I act on those noises or visual activities or do I notice them in my awareness and proceed with my day? I need not act on all of the things, I get to choose! Yay for me being in control of myself.
When being mindful of all that is, then I can choose which things I will act on and which things I will simply observe. When I have chosen to act on something I can choose how to interact and feel with that sensation and determine whether it is something that I will take with me or leave be. What I mean by take with me is the act of holding it close as evidence or support of something greater, like an intention. If it does not support my intention, then I need to actively let it go.
I can decide that something, a circumstance, a feeling, an encounter, is worth keeping if it adds to my intention of having a good day. If it does not and it actually hinders that intention, I will let it be. This does not mean I ignore that it happened or how it made me feel, but I will decide to not take it with me. The only things that I will draw into myself, tuck away into my pocket, are the things that add to my intention of “good”. All the rest will receive no energy from me. I get to decide.
There may be situations that arise that stir up unsettling feelings in myself. I may feel nervous or fearful hearing about something impending. Breathing I remind myself that time is wasted on experiencing that feeling in the current moment because it is not currently happening. Remember mindfulness? I draw myself back into the present with the faith that future moments will supply me all that I need to be in that future moment. It is not easy and will be the hardest thing I do all day.
Finally, as the day draws to a close and I prepare for sleep, I will empty my pockets. Each experience I tucked away is now reexperienced at the end of my day, providing me with ready examples for my practice of gratitude. I have all of these things that happened today that made my day pleasurable, enjoyable, or satisfying. In reframing less desirable situations I was able to take out of them what I wanted to keep in my pocket, proving to myself that I can handle things that come my way. This is pretty powerful stuff!
Here’s my list –
Slow traffic on my way to work made me experience frustration, but I decided my take away from that time was recognizing the safety in driving slow on icy roads. I was grateful to make it to work and back home safely.
I was able to eat healthy foods for all three meals. I am grateful for how the healthy foods provided me energy to perform my best.
All of my children left the house with all the warm clothing they needed to face the elements of the winter conditions and returned home with all of these items. I am grateful to have access to warm clothing and for not having to purchase any more to replace lost items.
I recognize the countless ways that my husband assisted me today and give him thanks for seeing when I needed him.
The laughter of children.
I smile experiencing ease and joy. I had a good day.