I’ve been listening to some of my friends talk about the notion of acknowledging “Today was a good day”. It’s something that one of them noticed in a series about living in Alaska. People, who are essentially living on the edge of subsistence, finish up their day with that little affirmation, “Today was a good day.”
We speculated about whether this is an Alaska thing. I suggested it might just be something that shifts when you’re living on the edge. I equated it to the Native American “Today is a good day to die.”
My friends are using this affirmation to see if it shifts their world view. They think it does. It changes the way they approach their days. It started me thinking about what makes a day a good day.
I’ve certainly had days where if I managed to get dressed or showered that was a good day. I’ve had days where just being alive at the end of the day meant it was a good day. I’ve had days where I’ve gotten all kinds of things accomplished be a good day. I’ve had days where I’ve been of service be a good day.
It’s interesting to me that there isn’t any kind of personal standard for a good day. I like that. I like that there is room for a good day no matter what kind of shape I might be in. I like that I can have a good day just taking care of me as well as having a good day helping out someone else.
In thinking about a good day there is something that does stand out for me. A good day is active rather than passive. I don’t mean that there needs to be a lot of activity. I can have a good day curled up reading. But there is a big difference between choosing to spend the day reading and sitting down for a break and having the day disappear.
There’s something about a good day that requires attention being paid to the day. A good day demands engagement at some level. Perhaps that is the change my friends are observing. By using the affirmation they find themselves paying more attention to their days. Being more appreciative, living in gratitude for each day, is certainly a positive life change.
Maybe I’ll give this good day thing a try.
As much as I love food I’ve always been a casual eater. I eat when I read. I eat watching TV. I go to a party and sit next to the food while I chat with everyone who walks by. I grab pickles and olives off the table before everyone sits down. I lick the spoons.
As I progress out of a totally liquid diet into eating pap I have found out the hard way that these behaviors have got to stop. Don’t feel bad for me. I’m thrilled to have an egg, or some cottage cheese. Spices aren’t a problem so bland is not an option. Paying attention is also not an option.
I don’t even remember what I was doing. I could have been reading, talking to Orion, watching TV, reaching for my computer. It doesn’t really matter. I wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating. I did all the right things. I measured and weighed portions. I put everything (like there was a lot!) on a small plate. I ate one bite at a time (I think – here’s where the attention part creeps in.)
I don’t know if I ate too much or too fast or both. Before I was finished with my doled out portion I knew I was in trouble. I’ve been avoiding that “too much” place. Everyone I know who’s had this surgery says that it’s horrible and not worth it. They’re right. I knew I needed to go there once. Now I have and I’m happy to avoid doing it again!
I tried everything to settle myself down. To deal with the pain. To deal with the “hot flashes”, it almost feels like coming down with a fever the body is working so hard to do too much. I walked. I tossed what was left on the plate. I rubbed my belly. It took a half an hour, but I was finally defeated and headed for the bathroom.
In retrospect it could have been my food choices as well. The fish was a little firm rather than flakey. Figs might not be the best bet for a side, with all those little seeds. I’ve taken a half step back. I’m sticking to things that look a little more like baby food and a little less like small gourmet portions. Eventually I’ll get there, but not just yet. First I need to focus on paying attention.
There is so much out in the world about Mindfulness. There are writings about meditating and about being present in the moment. These are not easy things for anyone used to multi-tasking through their days. But these are also the things that have become necessary for me to be successful in this process. It’s time to be more aware of my body. It’s time to be more aware of how I am actually feeling. It’s time to give up the notion of meeting a “goal” and simply respond appropriately in the moment.
The work is only beginning.