This is what I looked like this morning - no wonder my kids got dressed superfast and behaved themselves before school!
Being a person who reads some things about Buddhism from time to time (I don't really like to call myself a Buddhist, because it feels like stealing: stealing a label that doesn't really belong to me!), and tries to live in a fulfilling and productive and happy way every day, if possible, I was shocked to find that I did not feel HAPPY today! It was a strange feeling. I haven't felt it for a long time. I used to feel depressed in my late teens and early twenties, as pretty much everyone does at those ages when we think we are the centre of the universe and that we know everything, but yet when we are presented with evidence of our own ignorance we think that the world has turned upside-down and that we are worthless and useless and all that rubbish! Having my babies made me realise how fantastic the world is, how I'm lucky to be alive in it, how worthwhile I am, how life can be testing but that it's up to me to do good things with it. I've known how to be happy, and how to look for something good in every day for a long time now - for the last few years it's felt to me as if I've known the secret, you know, the secret that everyone's looking for, the one about the purpose of life? I've known about it for a while, and then I read the Dalai Lama's words about the purpose of life being to pursue happiness and that just confirmed it! That is the whole point of being alive - to pursue happiness, and to spread it around, and to help other people to find it. I haven't had a day in which I didn't feel happy for months, years perhaps. (Some might say that it's easy to be happy when you don't have to work - they might be right about that, I don't know, I'm not getting into it! I love my 'job' and I'm not going to feel guilty about it!)
So what happened today? Well, I had to analyse it a bit, and I've been ruminating on it all day, but I think I've had a breakthrough. I know what this Buddhism lark is all about. I needed a bad day to work it out properly. Being a Buddhist isn't just about being blissfully happy every minute of every day, and floating about on a euphoric cloud of joy and laughter! It's about life lessons, and about learning how to deal with bad days and bad things. It's about learning to not feel guilty for silly reasons, and accepting that even though I might not have had a productive day today I can start again tomorrow. It doesn't really matter what made me feel down today; what's more important is that I identified what the negative feelings were and faced them and decided how to work through them. And that's something I've never really consciously thought about before. I've always let myself feel guilty about having wasted days, and then gone on to have more of them because I'm not dealing with the problem that's making me feel worthless.
I felt down today because I was tired! Simple as that really. Tiredness was the root of it. I know, it's pathetic! I was feeling sorry for myself because I was tired, and thus I've achieved virtually nothing for a fortnight. Time is of the essence for me - I need to be producing good work now if I want to be able to write full time when all of my kiddies have gone to school. So when I spend a fortnight being poorly and looking after poorly kids I feel guilty for not writing! Bloody stupid, I know. There's not a lot you can do when your family's ill! (Then I realised that I've been eating chocolate like it's going out of fashion this week! So that made me feel guilty too.) Guilt makes me tired! Chocolate makes me tired, more guilt makes me tired, not smiling makes me tired. Being tired annoys me.
So this afternoon I realised why I was snapping at the boys, and why I was walking round with a scowl stapled to my forehead - it's because I haven't written a word on my book for a fortnight because I've been tired. It's not to do with being poorly - we've been poorly on and off for the whole of this winter, and I've still smiled every day! No, it's to do with not writing. I think that I must have become addicted to writing, and not doing it gives me withdrawal symptoms of a sort.
Once I'd identified today's negative feelings it was ace! It was as if the mystery was solved, and the credits rolled and we went to the ad break before the start of the next programme :) My little head-voice sort of went 'oh right, we've just been feeling guilty for not doing any work. Oh well, we can soon sort that out.' I still haven't done any work, ha! But I am now looking forward to tomorrow morning, when I will be able to spread all my work out infront of me and just blummin well get on with it! It will be a joyous three and a half hours and I will have produced some good stuff by the end of it, and I will be HAPPY!!! I am happy again now though, knowing that I'm back on track. Crisis averted. Guilt is rubbish, and counter-productive, so I'm banning it. Instead of feeling guilty when I don't work I just need to get on with the work! What's the point in wasting precious energy beating myself up and being miserable when I could use it to write a couple of pages?
So, not a particularly bad day by most people's standards, ha ha! But it was useful to me. It allowed me to test out my Buddhism, to see if I could drag myself out of a low patch and come up smiling. :D!!! It was very easy, but then it wasn't really actually a proper bad day. I'd like to say that it'd be interesting to see how I cope with a really Bad Day - but I don't really want to wish bad stuff on myself! Which brings me to the question - do I have an easy life, or am I just lucky to have good coping mechanisms? I have no idea!
Hmm. Sorry for the waffly post, rambling away as if no-one's reading, treating this blog like it's a proper diary! I will find something beautiful and fun to write about tomorrow, promise :D