Friday, March 13, 2009

Bad Day

Well, it's pretty rare, but even I have bad days. Today was one of them. Nothing seemed quite "right" today. And I'm not going to blame situations. It was me. By about noon, I was feeling contracted, defeated, and depressed. So, I went across the street for a cup of tea. Then, with tea in hand, I started to journal through my frustration. Writing always makes me feel better. Whatever situation is troubling me starts to loose its power as it enters the page.

And it got me thinking, what exactly is a "bad day"? How could a "day" be "bad"? Shouldn't every day be appreciated? Shouldn't every day be loved and tended to as something precious? Something rare even? Now I'm going to get a little esoteric and say that I feel all the elements that make me "me" have waited billions and billions of years to live this very day. It will never return again. And here I am wasting it! Calling it "bad" when I should be honoring it.

And as I was pondering this, I started to feel myself expand. Leaving the coffee shop, I looked at the people I passed and smiled -- my lungs filled with air and released their worry out into the wind -- the day was light and the world brimming with possibility again, opportunity ripe for the taking. This was not a "bad day" it was a "day" and there were still many things I could do to make it a wonderful day, and exciting day, an outstanding day -- to do justice to the opportunity to live a day such as this -- to walk out any number of doors -- not into war or rain or famine -- but into serene white clouds, people respectful of each other, soft cool breezes tickling my hair.

This blog is about embracing a layoff, but it's also about embracing the unknown, living in the moment, and engineering more opportunity via optimism. This does not mean, however, that it's always the easy choice. It would have been easier to blame people or situations. It would have been easier to throw a fit. It would have been easier to eat a box of donuts or drink a double espresso. The hard work is realizing and appreciating what is and loving the small moments of the day when truth reveals itself to you. Often it is the "bad" days that give us the most opportunity to seize the moment and learn from our frustration.

So, in honor of "bad days" and Friday the 13th, I challenge you to convert a "bad day" back into a "day" where anything and everything is possible (as it is).
  • Change scenes -- get up from where you're sitting and find a peaceful spot...whether that's your bath tub, a walk around the block, a library, a convenient store, a park...wherever you feel you can release yourself from your worries and fear for a moment. Write, drink a cup of tea, read something inspirational, stare at the rows of soda bottles or books or gum. Or simply close your eyes, sit, and be in the moment.
  • Take a deep breath and say to yourself, "I'm having a hard time, but I know that this is temporary and that I will feel better eventually. There must be something of value today."
  • Think about the opportunity surrounding you. What would make this a "good day"? Is there something exciting you could do? Is there something nice you could do for yourself or someone else? Would a change in environment help? Would a change in projects or focus help? Would seeing or talking to someone you love help?
  • Acknowledge the world around you. Hear something. Smell something. See something. Taste something. Ask yourself if you are in pain right now. If you're not in pain, are you in joy? Is there something you could find joy in right now? Something small? Something huge? Could you see one thing today and appreciate it?
And if you're able to do that, I welcome you to share what you appreciate here.

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