Warning – the following blog post contains strong language. Reader discretion is advised. These thoughts are my own and do not represent anyone or anything at all. Especially anyone who employs me.
Today is a shit day. You didn’t get any sleep. Your coffee tastes terrible and you are just plain cranky. Great. Now that you’re engulfed in a bad mood, you’re looking for bad stuff everywhere. Breakfast is no good. Your thoughts are swirling around all of your failures, everyone who’s wronged you, every mistake you’ve ever made. It’s all growing darker and darker, like a menacing and chaotic storm system. You’re uncomfortable with how many times I’ve already written “shit” in this article, and you know it’s going to get worse. Your article didn’t get accepted, your clothes don’t fit, you don’t want to go to work, the temperature isn’t right, your friends are talking behind your back, life has no meaning …
Now you’re in class. You really want to love and care for all these kids, but frankly, they’re getting on your nerves, especially that one kid, you know who he is. Warm-up sounds bad. One kid is giving you the stink-eye. Another kid isn’t listening at all, looking at you like you are the most terrible irrelevant thing that ever happened to teaching. There are fifty unanswered emails on your computer, and you’re thinking about them, or thinking about not thinking about them, which defeats the purpose. Your students are probably feeling a little crappy also. Good to remember, in case we forget that just because we think we are the center of the universe, this doesn’t make it so.
Now start the affirmations … “think positively”, “it will all get better tomorrow”, “push through, you’ll get there”, “everyday in every way I’m getting better” … But the affirmations are also making you pissy. So now, you’re trying to teach, be a good person, think some nice affirmations, push away negative thoughts – but all of this is just making it worse. Great. Now you’re mad at your inability to be positive and push away negative thoughts. When is this going to end? Please let this end.
Just give up. Seriously, give up. Take a deep breath. Shitty days are like weather. Unpredictable, at the whim of thousands of known and unknown conditions, and impossible to escape. Take a deep, deep breath and welcome all of it in. Smile at the crappy day. Affirm it – “yes, I get it, today sucks, now what?” Let it do what’s it going to do. Don’t push it away. Breathe it in, smile at it, welcome it to dinner – this shit day. Give it space. At some level, even bad days are encased in their own ecosystem, held in the ground of something larger, some broader and less constricted emotional space. Find that. A more liberating space. Who knows if there’s a reason. There might be, but who knows.
Bad days are like bad weather, causes and conditions come together, and they fall apart. And that’s the great news – they come together THEN fall apart. Like everything else. This is life, we are born, we live, we die, we love, we hate, and there are ups and downs, good and bad, and everything in-between. We experience these in the moment, and in our imagined past and future. How wonderful. How liberating. Life is everything, and it doesn’t like it when we push it away. Any of it.
Also, good stuff grows in shit, mushrooms, crops, etc. Breathe deeply. Stare the shit right in the eye. Smile at it and relax. Reconnect to everything in your experience and hold it gently. Let it transform on its own. This is mindfulness, too. This present moment, with all of its transitions, and its shit.
The initial stages of MBWP are focused on developing physiological regulation and embodied grounding as a means of aiding meditative practice and artistic expression. Working with our breath and bodies helps to calm our nervous system, facilitating our ability to anchor our awareness in the present moment.
During the middle stages of the curriculum, concentration and awareness are cultivated through mindful and deliberate exploration of our senses, emotions, and patterns of thought, leading to greater clarity, stability, and equanimity.
As we non-judgmentally examine our habitual ways of feeling, thinking, and acting, we gain insight into how our perceptions color reality, giving us the opportunity to let go of unfruitful ways of experiencing and responding to ourselves and others. We then work on reframing our experiences such that they are aligned with our personal values.
During the final stages of MBWP training, after reducing our reactivity through mindful awareness, we develop the capacity to act intentionally in the world, using our experiences, aspirations, values, and ethics as a compass for wise and compassionate action.