Brian and I are usually in contact every day or so. Sometimes it just an encouraging text, sometimes it is setting aside time to put together our next workshop. This week has been busy for both of us, so I’m not surprised that Brian’s post from yesterday is about being present.
Oddly enough, even when we are not working on content together, our minds end up in similar spots.
Today was a whirlwind of a day. I woke up on time, but needed a couple of extra meditation sessions to start the day off. The first session was about being ok with being grumpy, the second one was about setting a daily intention. My mind was racing so fast, I had to do that one twice. By the time I finished meditating, I was late. There is some irony or paradox in there, but I didn’t have time to figure that one out.
My work day kicked off with me partially facilitating a half day training of a 10 day series. Day 1 is always fun, but I know what is in store once the class warms up and gets to know each other. That is when the magic happens. As an instructor, I’m impatient to get to that magic point where the class brings in their experiences and I get to fade into the background. After that class, I was running from commitment to commitment the rest of the day. File all of those activities under “working mom trying to tutor teenager”. He learns at the speed he does and rushing things won’t help him build solid analysis, research or study skills. Honestly, it would be faster and easier if I just did the homework for him. But we don’t have a principle around hitting the easy button to make our lives as parents less stressful. Now It is 8:00 pm and I’m finally able to sit down and eat dinner (in front of my computer while I type).
After this madcap day of rushing around, when I read Brian’s article about striving to be present over looking for balance, the concept resonated. All day, I’ve alternated between wanting to be in the future and being stuck in the past playing catch up. Neither situation is helpful. Also, when your brain is stuck in either the future or the past, that is prime space for the Inner Critic. This critic tends to remember the worst of the past: “you should have done something else instead”, and forecast doom for the future: “you’ll never be able to get that done tonight”. Eventually I turn the tide and give the Inner Advocate space to speak up: “you are just fine now”. On of my most frequent thought loops is to stumble into 12:
Agile Best Self Principle #12: At regular intervals, reflect on how to become your best self, then tune and adjust.
Then I have exactly the same epiphany I’ve had a dozen times already. Bring in mindful and intentional principle.
Agile Best Self Principle #6: The most effective way to be your best self is to be mindful and intentional.
And the close of the loop is some action. In this case, it is taking back control and focusing on something I want to do for myself. This isn’t a difficult thought loop – by now it is quick way for me to get back on track. Habits like this help me get control back in a situation where a day seems to be spiraling out of control.
Control means giving ourselves a break and living in the present. It doesn’t mean having the audacity and hubris to think we can control anyone else or anything tomorrow. Yes, this present may be the eye of the storm, but at least it is quiet here – in this present, right here, right now.
Copyright © 2021 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson