Yesterday was one of those days where I spoke out loud to myself and asked the jokingly rhetorical question, “Is this day over yet?!” By 4:00pm I was ready for the day to be done, which wasn’t a good sign seeings as light lingers until around 9:30pm here this time of year. I don’t feel as though I need to go into details about my bad day, we’ve all had them and we will all continue to have them. There’s nothing especially unique about having a bad day. They are, despite what we may like to think, part of life.
This acceptance that in life there will be not so fabulous days is actually a very deep practice that can benefit us in many ways. When we practice embracing acceptance we also practice letting go of the fight we put up against such things as an occasional bad day and our ability to look deeply and develop understanding is nourished. This acceptance might not transform our bad day into a good day but it will allow us to stop struggling with those detrimental inner voices that say bad days aren’t supposed to happen or questions what the hell is wrong with us that we can’t snap out of it. And it’s this struggle with how we think things are “supposed” to be and not “supposed” to be that really makes for a bad day.
Yesterday afternoon I was impatiently standing in line at the post office and was aware that the succession of events that had unfolded that day were directly related to my aggravation. I was the only person in line and there was one woman at each of the two available clerks at the postal counters. The one woman was having her envelopes weighed for postage but the other woman was done with her transaction and simply chatting with the clerk at the counter. I was in a hurried state trying to get somewhere and their polite, casual conversing (about nothing postal related) while I was standing in line waiting to be helped was very irritating. I gave the passive aggressive signals of huffing, noticeably checking the nearby clock, and relatively dramatically fidgeting and shifting my weight from side to side trying to cue the postal clerk to wrap up his social visit. And all through this brief interaction at the post office I was aware that my impatience, hurrying, passive aggressiveness, and negative inner dialog directed at the woman and clerk were a manifestation of the day I had had. This may seem obvious from an outside perspective but I find it to be a mark of great progress in my mindfulness practice to have been able to see the causes and conditions of my state in the fray of a difficult moment. Awareness leads to deep looking which leads to understanding and transformation. Without awareness there is nothing to be transformed!
In the midst of my bad day I was also able to keep in contact with good day elements, which exist in every moment regardless of how tuned out we are to them. This too is a fruit of cultivating a mindfulness practice. The ability to, as the quote speaks to above, take a deep breath and know it’s just a bad day, not a bad life, is very important to our overall well being. A friend came for a short visit and gifted me with a beautiful flower, the sun was shining brightly, birds were singing, I met another friend for an early dinner, and at the end of my day, exhausted and worn out, I took refuge in a creature comfort and ordered a pizza. Some days (maybe even most days) life doesn’t get much better than that.