A day is a day. It’s just a measurement of time. Whether it’s a good day or a bad day is up to you. It’s all a matter of perception.
Donald L. Hicks
About 30 year ago I started attending AlAnon meetings. I made many new friends but one in particular stands out in relation to this story.
We felt like soul mates diving deep into recovery from our alcoholic childhoods. As well as AlAnon we also attended Inner Child workshops and other support circles trying to understand what had happened to us, and then suddenly she changed.
She was shining
She had gone to something called the Hoffman Process. On her return we went for a walk along Brighton seafront. It was a dark, grey, low cloud day, but she was shining, radiating a light I had never seen before, something inside her fundamentally shifted. She seemed lighter, brighter, happier.
Naturally I then did the Process myself. I wanted to find that light in me. Before attending the Process you have to fill out an enormous form, pages and pages about yourself and your family. It brought up lots of difficult stuff, but there was worse to come.
On arrival there is an induction interview with two of the teachers. You leave this meeting with a pseudonym they have chosen for you. Everyone is instructed to call you by this name all week, until a ceremony at the end where you reclaim your true name.
These names reflect in some way the nature of your emotional pain. Mine was Misery Guts. “There is no way I can leave this room with that badge on my chest.” I blurted out.
“That’s the deal,” they said.
So sad, so unhappy
I cannot tell you how embarrassed and ashamed I felt leaving that room with Misery Guts pinned to my jumper. I slunk out sideways and beetled off to my room. Now there it was the truth, for all to see, pinned to my chest – Mairi is an old misery, unhappy and moaning, complaining, pain in the butt. I felt deeply ashamed.
As I unpacked my room mate arrived. She was Dutch, took one look at my name and gave me an enormous hug. She said, “ you must be so sad, so unhappy.” I was.
Her reinterpretation of my name helped me face the rest of my group. A collective squirm of name sharing began Drop the Ball, Secret Shame and Daddy’s Little Princess, Loner, and more all assembled to share the 8 day journey.
Every name pointed to our emotional struggles. I was miserable. I viewed myself and life through an extremely negative veil and struggled to find much to feel positive about, ever. Clinically it’s called depression.
A great day
The reason I tell you this story is because I have turned that around. Miserable as I was I have found my way to joy and happiness. I have learned to look for what is great in each day instead of what is awful.
I know, amazing hu?
It didn’t happen overnight and it has not been easy. Change takes effort, but it is possible to have a great day, great week, great month, great year, great life.
I am having a great day is at the top of my daily affirmation and intention list. Virtually every morning I tap (See EFT) and repeat this phrase to myelf. As I do, two things happen.
- I set myself up for the day. It is my statement to self, my intention reset at the beginning of each new day.
- It is an opportunity to reflect. Here in lies the real power of this practice. I also reflect on what was great about yesterday. I am tuning myself in, directing myself to look for the positive, the delightful, the accomplishments, the wins, the things great or small which made my day, a great day.
A great day
Believe me, there are often totally crap things going on in my life, things I would rather not have to be dealing with. However I accept that these are part of living a fully human life. Shit happens. But in amongst the shit lovely things happen, joyful things, pleasurable things. If I:
- have been swimming in the sea, it was a great day.
- went for a walk in nature it was a great day.
- cooked and ate something delicious it was a a great day.
- danced to some mad music it was a great day.
If I sat down and had a wee rest, read my book in the daytime, met a friend for a walk, had a hug from someone I love, laughed, did some gardening, created something, drank hot chocolate out of my flask while staring at the sea, saw the mouse who lives under my meditation cabin, an otter or seal in the sea, all make for a great day.
The list becomes endless when we are searching for the good stuff, taking note and focusing on the positives.
It is also a great day if I:
- deal with something that has been lingering on my to do list for ever.
- sit with myself and do some tapping.
- clear some clutter.
- unsubscribe from unwanted email.
If I tend to my hurt places, if I look after my emotions, if I let myself cry, if I go to the woods and shout to release something. All these also make for a great day. Almost anything can contribute to a great day if we chose to see it as such.
So, my simple self care suggestion is to use that phrase or one that feels more suited to you. Often people chant their affirmations like times tables, not present, not engaged; actively participate.
Tap around your points and repeat I AM having a GREAT day. Then pause, allow your mind to reflect on yesterday. What was great about it?
If nothing comes, then make damn sure you include something, no matter how small today, that you can look back on with pride tomorrow and say. I had a great day.
And what of Misery Guts? She retired, exhausted, thank goodness. Not without a struggle I may add. That part of me developed to protect was preempting disappointment by telling me it was all shit anyway. What a delight it is now to be so perky and positive so much of the time.
. When your mind tries to point out the horrible, shitty stuff that happened yesterday, or indeed if it tries to trash your entire life. Thank it. Gently acknowledge it is trying to help and remind it you are trying a new tack now.
Return to what was great, have a great day.
Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.
More self care
- You can check out more simple self care practices here.
- Read more self care blog posts here.
- Or book yourself on a self care workshop here
Come and join me on Telegram. I have started a new channel to inspire, support and encourage us all to practice Radical Self Care.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here, in blog posts and on the website Change Is Always Possible are those of the author Mairi Stones alone, and do not represent the views of any associated bodies. We do not diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Information provided in this blog is not intended to substitute advice, treatment and/or diagnosis from qualified medical and nutritional professionals. Take what you like and leave the rest.