I woke up today, startled by the alarm clock. I was shocked out of a dream I was having. Again. Twice in 2 days. Actually I should say it was a nightmare. I can’t remember the exact details, but I do remember it had to do with my Mom (who passed away 20 years ago) and my Dad (who is still alive but not doing well). This is noteworthy because in 20 years, I can honestly say I have had maybe a handful of dreams where my Mom was involved. So when I do, I try to pay attention. It was a painful, difficult, frustrating nightmare…..I was supposed to be doing something for them and I wasn’t, or couldn’t understand what they needed me to do……either way, it wasn’t good. And it kept me hostage all night long. I was kind of in between the dream state and the awake “What the hell is this dream about and what are they trying to tell me?” state. It wasn’t restful sleep in any way, at the aftermath of daily savings time, which makes sleep that much more elusive.
So when the alarm went off at 6a.m. I didn’t exactly wake up chipper and bouncy and ready to go. I was pissed. Why do I have to wake up this early and rush to a job I don’t even like? Why can’t I stay home and tackle the projects I actually WANT to tackle? Why can’t I eat gluten? Why can’t I drive through Starbucks and feed my caffeine fix? When I am going to be able to make that phone call to deal with that bill? Shit, I forgot to pull out that other paper about that other important phone call I should have made months ago…….all these thoughts whirring through my head, all within the first 10 minutes of my day.
That’s not how I want to start my day. That’s not how I want to live. That doesn’t work for me.
So I have to make a conscious effort to shake it. To shake the grogginess, and read an affirmation about what I SHOULD focus on and retrain my brain. To suck it up and make a healthy spinach/almond butter/fresh fruit smoothie-that-will-take-me-15 minutes-to-make-very-quietly-on-my-tip-toes-so-I-don’t-wake-my-sleeping-family-when-I-really-want-a-Chai-Tea-Latte-and-a-breakfast-sandwich.
I get to school and rush and suck down my healthy smoothie (grumble grumble) while I write the lesson for the day on the board. I go through my first couple of classes with all the energy and information I can muster. My dog and pony show is met with crickets chirping in the classroom. Nothing. Nada.
So I decide to get serious, pull out the big guns and use my planning period to meditate, to cultivate peace, awareness, gratitude, generosity, kindness, connection of some sort. I manage to catch the corner of a glimmer of something of the message from the nightmare/dream, then it’s gone. Yet still I feel a connection, a message running quietly, subconsciously, like a program running silently in the background, bringing me a sudden…..peace. And just like that…..shift happens.
It’s subtle, but it’s there. My next class comes in with a bit more kindness. A student gives me a compliment even. Okay……I’ll roll with this. Next period I manage to keep it going, engage more, crack a few jokes, have fun even if I am the only one laughing. Which sometimes I am. But that’s okay, at least I’m laughing.
The work day ends and I hurry home to see my family. The days I leave my husband home with my son all day, I never know what I’m going to get when I arrive home. They are like oil and water. But this time, the magic continues. I am greeted by smiling faces playing outside, “washing the car” which looks a lot more like my husband soaking my 4-year-old son with the hose, and him running and squealing with delight. I decide to change into my “playclothes” (every time I use that term I suddenly feel like Maria/Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music) and join the family car wash.
Is it all magical/perfect/roses after that? Of course not. Things go wrong. There’s whining from both me and my son (him because he’s over-tired and had a long day, me because I can’t have that glass of wine I really, really want because did I mention I am also back to no sugar?). But I keep moving forward, with a small smile. Because today, it’s almost if I am walking around with an invisible arm around my shoulders. When I meet the next “crossroads” moment, I breathe and remember the universe has my back.
So for today, for this moment, I choose to tackle the next learning opportunity with a smile. And that’s what I do. That’s what it’s about. Choices. Tiny choices, moment by moment, that add up over time to create a better reality. It’s definitely not easy, but isn’t it worth it? Aren’t you worth it?