The other day I was walking home from the library… in a BAD mood! I hadn’t done the work I needed to do, I’d got stressed because my laptop battery was on the point of running out any second and I’d tried to race through my stack of email instead of getting something creative done… and I hit the street stressed, and very grumpy.
I was a 5 minute walk from home, and it occurred to me that when I got there my wife would be waiting, and I could tell her all about my woes.
Then it occurred to me that this probably wasn’t a very good idea. Dumping everything on Marina wasn’t very fair on her, and wasn’t likely to lead to a reaction that would help lower my stress levels!
Suddenly I had one of those light-bulb moments – “Hang on!” I thought, “I’ve got resources to deal with this!”
I remembered some of the things I’d been learning for years from Thich Nhat Hanh – looking up I saw the sky was beautifully blue and I remembered a phrase of his ‘you don’t have to go to China to enjoy the beautiful blue sky’ – and I felt better already.
Then I remembered the practice of mindful walking, and cut my stressed, hurried pace down to a slow, gentle stroll, putting my attention on my steps and my breathing, up to the blue sky, back to my slow, relaxed steps.
Soon I was smiling at passers by, and by the time I got home, I was in a great mood. My wife didn’t get all my earlier annoyance and stress dumped on her, and I felt much better. I felt particularly great that I’d remembered that I had resources to cope with difficult times, and that they’d significantly turned things around.
Since then, I’ve been lucky on a few other occasions (but not always!) when the stress and moodiness sets in to remember to say to myself, “Hang on, I’ve got resources to deal with this!” And I’m amazed to discover once again – This mindfulness and happiness stuff really works!
2 thoughts on “This Mindfulness and Happiness Stuff Really Works!”
Love Thich Nhat Hanh’s writing (though it still takes me about five minute to spell his name correctly). And even when walking meditation does not “work,” it still works! “Non-striving” is key. Open up space for an awareness that is larger than your mood; notice the thoughts traipsing across your mind. Watch them come on, and then recede. You are not them, so what does that mood really matter anyway?
Ah…those damn emails! I close my eyes and breathe…
Ha ha, yes, I have to google his name every time I write it, and I’ve been reading him for years, been to Plum Village – even translated his talks there for Spanish people – and I still can’t remember how to spell his name right!
Good luck with the emails 🙂
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