The other day I woke up to the gentle sound of rain outside my window. Usually this would be a relaxing, peace-inducing sound.
Not at my house. At my house lives Princess Molly, my 12-year old Lhasa Apso, who despises getting her feet wet.
So when I woke up and heard the rain I was already dreading our morning walk. And true to form, she performed as expected. She refused to do her business and instead just trembled and looked pathetic, as if every moment we were outside was pure, unadulterated abuse.
With each step I grew more and more irritated. Why? If you asked me then I would have said this is when she does her business, every morning, and if she doesn’t go now she’ll go in the house while I’m at my meeting. As I think about it now though, it’s really no big deal. Her messes really aren’t that messy. There must be more to it than that.
As I pondered (much later of course), I realized it was guilt. I felt guilty thinking I was a bad mom. At that moment she was miserable, and if she didn’t go then it was all for nothing. And if she doesn’t and she goes in the house that is “bad,” so either way I’m a bad mom. So in my head, rainy mornings = I’m a bad mom.
Obviously that’s not true, and had I stopped to take the time for myself as some wise person once suggested, then that would have been the end of it.
Of course, it wasn’t.
After the drama of the walk I left for a meeting. I had somewhat of an idea where I was going having seen the coffee shop in passing before. Unfortunately the business was not well marked from the street and I drove past it and had to turn around. I then turned down the nearest side street only to find there was no entrance to the coffee shop on that side. So I turned around again and went back out to the main road, and found once again there was no direct entrance there either. I finally figured out I had to enter a small side street, then enter a parking lot, and then drive all the way around this building complex to reach my destination. And of course the parking lot was pretty full, and there were several people trying to back out and pull in, and the only spot somewhat near the door was next to someone who was unsuccessful in parking within the lines. Oh, and it was still raining. UGH!!
By the time I got into the coffee shop my blood was really pumping. A few years ago what I would have said at this point was, “It’s going to be one of those days.” And then as the day progressed little things would continue to annoy me, piling up until I couldn’t wait for the day to be over. Lately I would have instead said, “Slow down. Pay attention. What is the message the Universe is trying to send you?”
But this day was different.
I realized that the emotions of frustration, irritation, and anger were helping me to feel more ALIVE than I had in weeks. It felt great and I was in no hurry to stop it, fix it, change it. It was actually quite thrilling. It was my wake up call letting me know I’d been asleep at the wheel. I’d been content, but not engaged in life. I was in an emotional stagnation. Coasting. That day and those experiences were a welcome change of pace.
Now I didn’t want to remain in the anger, frustration, irritation forever to feel alive, but it was refreshing at the moment. I allowed them their space, and since have been finding other ways to be more alive and engaged in my day-to-day.
- Playing outside, especially in the dirt.
- Playing with Princess Molly, even when it’s raining.
- Noticing the happy songs of the birds nesting on and around my house.
- Watching the silly squirrels in my neighborhood get into trouble.
- Greeting strangers as I run.
- Singing and dancing while I clean the house.
- Having fun cooking up fun things in the kitchen, especially cookies.
I’m grateful for the rain that day, and that my dog is a princess, and for the awkwardly located coffee shop. They reminded me I’m alive and that it’s more fun to be engaged rather than coast through life.
How do you respond when you realize you’re having “one of those days?” How might you be able to see them from a new perspective? I’d love to hear your comments below!