FINDING GOODNESS IN THE MIDST OF DIFFICULTY – DAY 1
In my 20s I was on a mission to fix the broken me that was full of stress and anxiety, and until I was ‘sorted’, I couldn’t settle into being happy. That’s why I meditated (fervently).
I forgive myself that. So much of Western culture focuses on acquiring or striving for self-improvement (whether it’s exercise, meditation, diet or yoga). Many of us envisage ‘getting better’ as moving along a straight line – so, ‘after this, then that’.
But stress can happen at any time, and if our physiological hardwiring triggers us into anxiety or fear, it can feel like we are going backwards.
Does any of this resonate with you?
The good news is that ease, peace, joy, contentment, awe, gratitude, generosity and thus happiness are all ‘triggerable’ too…. We just need to know how to do it.
Practice is the key to ingraining these ‘states-of-being’.
So, today’s invitation is to absorb a bit of goodness from your day. First, notice how it feels to drop the shoulders, soften the jaw and tummy, and sigh a breath out. Now bring to mind one nice thing that happened today… the smaller, the better. Some ideas from other students:
• Coffee tasted nice
• A meme made you smile
• An exchange of messages with someone you care about
• A pet, friend, family member snuggled in for a hug
• The shower was hot, and the gel smelt divine
• A matching pair of socks to wear
• A moment of self-kindness when you were feeling sad
Holding in mind one or two of these little moments, start to smile. If you are feeling a bit low, maybe just letting the corners of your mouth turn up a fraction. Keep replaying the little drips of goodness. Notice how it feels in your jaw, shoulders, tummy or ribs to dwell on this moment of gratitude. If the cynical, pessimistic mind is hammering out its old stories, just smile back and say: “I hear you, but look, the sunlight is coming through the window, and the day has goodness for you too.”
Mary Oliver: The summer day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around
with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention,
how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
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