Today is a good day. I exercised, practiced yoga, worked, spent time with my husband and son, and sat barefoot in the sunshine.
Last Monday was not a good day. I exercised, practiced yoga, worked, spent time with my husband and son, and sat barefoot in the sunshine.
Today, my heart and mind are free of worry and doubt. There is trouble in the world, of that I am sure, but I am filled with faith in the goodness of humanity. Each breath slides in and out of my chest effortlessly. Today is a good day. I have a lot of good days.
Last Monday, a tightness planted itself in the center of my brain and hung on like a blue claw crab that is lucky enough to get hold of your finger. What’s bothering me? I wondered. I scanned my life, my body, and my mind. Nothing. But the tightness hung over me like a cloud throughout the day, relentless. When its grip was tightest, I had to remind myself to breathe, and that after that breath, the odds were pretty good that another would come, but still, I wasn’t so sure. Last Monday was not a good day. I have some not so good days.
In the past, when I’ve thought about my not-so-good days, it’s been from the perspective of wondering how I could eliminate them. Maybe I should meditate more, eat less, drink less (wine), drink more (water), walk more, talk more, go on Facebook less…well you get the idea. Like a human abacus I would move the beads left and right in my mind, desperately trying to make them add up to the equation of all good days, no bad.
In the light of today I was able to revisit last Monday with a calm and centered mind, and through the newly discovered gifts of my regular yoga and meditation practice, I didn’t approach my bad day wearing a haz-mat suit. Instead, I entered it again with light in my heart and open arms. And I saw a rainy day, a Monday, a bad day that would come again no matter what I did or didn’t do more or less of. Behind that certainty came acceptance. Since I’ll see you again, sooner or later, perhaps we could be friends, I asked.
Like the spring rain that has turned my winter-weary front lawn from brown to green, like the Monday that ends the weekend but gives me a chance to begin again, my bad days have a positive message for me, along with the tightness in the center of my brain: compassion. Learning to sit with the sadness connects me to an inevitable part of being human: pain. Accepting that it will come and go like the weather or the passage of time prevents that pain from turning into suffering. With daily practice and perspective, I have learned to weather the weather and weather your life.
Karen Costa is an adjunct professor, speaker, and academic coach who aims to share the good news about higher education. Her passions include family, writing, and of course, her yoga practice. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son. Karen’s favorite place on Earth is Long Beach Island, New Jersey where you might find her paddling the bay on her stand-up paddleboard. Follow her @thezebracoach or learn more at www.thezebracoach.com.