This morning something mind-blowing occurred to me.
It is impossible – literally impossible – to have a good day.
At least, it is impossible for me.
I could no sooner have a good day than I could have a good life or a good death.
This is because I am not there yet.
A good day, like a good life and a good death, is in my future rather than my present.
The most I can reasonably, feasibly expect myself to accomplish is a good second….maybe a good minute if I’m extra-focused and industrious.
This means I have been putting waaaaay too much pressure on myself pretty much forever. Which sucks. No wonder I have tended to be such an anxious type.
Even worse, I’ve probably been way too instrumental in fostering anxiety in others as well, going around as I tend to do, wishing everyone a good day.
I mean, I do want them to have a good day, in the same way I want me to have a good day. But it is a lot of pressure. It is a lot to ask or expect of myself or others (especially once you factor in each person’s ideas about what having a good day should look like, which is a topic for a different blog post).
As with many of my personal aha moments now and anytime, this one came to me courtesy of my pets, Pearl, Malti and Bruce.
Not a one of them ever wakes up in the morning and tackles a whole day at once. I know this because of how each one handles disruptions to their regular daily routines.
I see it best and most easily in Pearl, my parrot life companion of nearly 21 years now. This is how his routine should play out, if nothing (like my own schedule) arises to disrupt it.
First we do parrot wake-up, followed by cleaning the parrot casa and then serving parrot breakfast. From there should come a smooth segue to Yoga with Pearl (online via YouTube with the lovely #yogawithadriene) and then parrot shower…and so on and so forth.
Pearl is so sensitive to when and how each event should unfold, not to mention where, that I often start getting “evening rice alerts” a full hour before his warmed portion of rice, quinoa and kale is supposed to be served.
So imagine what happens when the daily routine gets disrupted.
For example, let’s say we skip over Yoga with Pearl. This also means we just skipped over the half hour or so where Pearl sits in the towel basket in my (his) closet nesting with his bestie, the small grey bathroom clock. For the next several hours, every time we pass the closet, he will shriek and shift his small body on my hand/arm/shoulder in that direction, indicating where we need to head to remedy the omission.
Pearl is not focused on evening rice during parrot wake-up, or parrot breakfast, or Yoga with Pearl. He is focused solely on the activity at hand, moment by moment by moment of it.
In other words, he is not aiming to have a good day. He is aiming to have a good minute.
I chalk this up to Pearl’s impressive ability to remain rooted, grounded, hyper-vigilant in each moment. As a petite and (apparently) particularly delicious appetizer-sized prey species, Pearl is very much aware he is a card-carrying, actively participating member of the greater food chain o’ life.
Here, it doesn’t matter that his MommyGuard – that is, me – would full-on tackle and dismantle anyone or anything foolish enough to wish him harm. In Pearl’s present-focused mind, every minute could be his last.
Therefore, every minute he survives constitutes a high five, a gold star, a truly good minute. Throughout his day, from sunup to sundown, Pearl strings these good minutes together like, well, pearls, one after the next and the next and the next.
He never gets ahead of himself, not even for a moment. If he did, that moment could be his last.
This leads me to ponder how long I might last if I was out there in the bush, traveling around, lost in my thoughts, expectations, worries, plans, memories as I often tend to be. I probably wouldn’t make it through the day.
This makes me oddly happy, because once again, it takes the pressure off.
I am not supposed to be worrying or wondering about later on today, let alone tomorrow or next week or next year. Even with that big pile of grey matter allegedly stashed way up high above my eyebrows, it is apparently still most gainfully employed simply focusing on having one good minute and then another.
Not surprisingly, so am I.
With great respect and love,