This has been a Good Week, as proven by today being a Good Day. I fend off Average Days with an apparently limitless arsenal of Awesome Things Done With Awesome People (this is London after all, and if you can’t find limitless awesome things to do here, you’re dead and just haven’t noticed yet), and have too many awesome people around to have more than the rare Bad Day.
But it’s been particularly Good. At least…that’s been my experience of it. What’s interesting is that on any other given day, given the same set of events and circumstances, my experience of it would have probably been Exceedingly Average.
There is someone I will hold responsible for this, in due course.
So first up, in the northern hemisphere winter cometh, meaning dark and damp mornings are now the norm: but Bootcamp, though dark and damp, was still a hoot. My boss, Ben, turned up unexpectedly after for coffee and said all the right things to reassure me about the work I’m doing with my new group (though feedback like ‘unreasonably cheerful for the time of day’ turned up)*.
Next up I nailed two of the best cycle classes I’ve ever taught, one done off the bike with no mic or video system and only a boom box in place of my surround sound. Two people walked out though, and for a
neurotic sensitive instructor like yours truly, this is always an awful experience – an open door to distracting, damaging thoughts like ‘they must be really hating this class’, which obviously leads to ‘they must hate me!’ and that debilitating conclusion of ‘I must be rubbish!’ (and an urgent desire to slink away to die behind the stereo).
But today, that door didn’t open. I taught on, moving through the bikes, checking in on people, explaining and motivating and giving them everything I could – and for the two who left, many more came up after to thank me for still delivering a challenging, fun class.
Pump rocked out even though we had to play pot luck on the tunes because I’d left the CD in another gym and the stereo was, bless its obstinate soul, being very particular about what it would play on the other three discs I had on me. Could have been very messy, but actually turned the class very interactive and I was amazed to discover that some members could remember choreography I had long since forgotten and tell ME what came next. Genius!
After class I had a lovely chat with the club co-ordinator, during which I discovered I’ve been getting paid more than I realised for about the last six months (which fairly accurately reflects how far behind I am with my accounts…). Bargain.
Come the afternoon writing session, I hit a state of flow. This was achieved by leaving my phone in my bag and disconnecting the internet – a necessary state of affairs which almost never occurs, meaning writing sessions are generally a source of cyclic pain:
Phase 1 (OPTIMISM): I’m going to be amazing today!!
Phase 2 (PROCRASTINATION): after I’ve answered these messages/emails/PMs
Phase 3 (DISTRACTION): look at me! Intermittently amazing! Also: SHINY! SHINY! SHINY!
Phase 4 (DESPERATION): I’m sorry, the time is WHAT?!
Phase 5 (GUILT): it’s been 2 hours! What do you MEAN I only have 2 paragraphs? I’ve been SO BUSY this whole time! WHO STOLE MY TIME? WHERE IS MY TARDIS?
Voila, I went from Phase 1 to that euphoric feeling that comes with doing that thing you were put on this earth to do, and doing it well because it’s what you do. There was lunatic grinning and so forth and it was AWESOME instead of AWFUL.
Next up was the Equinox staff opening party, which went brilliantly until we trotted across the road to a night’s partying in a new posh club. I got in, stripped jackets off, squeezed my way about ten metres through the crammed space…and then just passed off my drinks voucher, re-jacketed and got the hell out of there.
The whole experience took less than a minute instead of a more typical hour of self-questioning/doubt/bullying concluding in the same result with a bonus slew of self-criticism for being so uncool and antisocial. Because you know what? It is totally ok for a social scene enjoyed by the majority of my age group to not be ok for me.
Admittedly it took a pair of purple wooly socks, shiny purple sports top and rose handwash from TK Maxx to be ok (and for those who know the lengths I will go to avoid shopping, that’s quite something to choose retail therapy as actual therapy), so it was expensively ok, but ok nonetheless. I then I took myself out to dinner at Whole Foods because I suddenly had unscheduled free time on my hands and their pumpkin pie makes me extremely happy.
And it was while joyfully devouring said pie that I realised how absolutely bollocks a day that started in darkness and rain, was plagued by tech fails, had people walk out of my class and revealed me to still be socially dysfunctional could have been.
Then I started to look at my thinking – my words – there. What I meant to say is that I realised how absolutely bollocks the day could have felt.
Then I realised that the way I had felt all day reflected the nature of my thinking.
I realised that actually, I’d done a lot less thinking all day. You know that old adage…
To know oneself is to forget oneself
…well I’d forgotten myself all day. I hadn’t been responding to events with the usual inner dialogue of worried self-talk. The whole feeling thing is secondary, after all. We feel our thoughts. By choosing our thoughts, we choose how we feel.
I’m cheating though. I didn’t choose to change my thoughts: Jamie Smart** mind-ninja’d me yesterday and I’ve only just cottoned on. SNEAKY MAN. You see, this is a diagram he drew to illustrate my brain:
This is a diagram he drew to illustrate a peaceful brain:
Three hours with Jamie will calm the hell down out of anyone. I had no idea how calm though. I had no idea how much I over-process the world, and how agitated that frenetic amount of thinking leaves me feeling.
I had no idea I had this much control over both what I think, and what I feel.
I feel good. I feel calm.
I won’t get enough sleep tonight. I usually spend a couple of hours leading up to bed anticipating how tired I will be tomorrow, and then most of tomorrow background processing how tired I’m feeling then. I’m filling NOW with shit that hasn’t even HAPPENED YET… except I didn’t get enough sleep last night either, partly because I was background processing and anticipating the idea of tiredness from the night before, and that’s still on my mind right now.
NO WONDER I AM A GOLDFISH.
Guess what all that thinking about how tiredness leaves me feeling?
Today was easy. Today was Jamie’s fault.
Tomorrow I suspect that will wear off.
Tomorrow, I will need to watch myself. Yet also forget myself.
Tomorrow, I will make mistakes and make choices about what I’m thinking.
Tomorrow, I will be choosing how I feel.
I choose to FEEL AWESOME.
How about you?
And just in case that was all too technical, here’s a picture of the toilets at Jamie’s event yesterday:
*I’m not sure Ben entirely understood what he was getting himself in for when he hired me, but he’s pretty much got a handle on my ballistic attention span now: most every time I open my mouth, he beats me there with ‘Is this relevant?’ and that just about keeps our conversation on track. I find this hugely entertaining. Fortunately, thus far, he seems to also.
** Jamie and I are former members of the Fellowship of Starbucks (Westbourne Grove). He’s like Gandalf, only a lot shorter and without the beard.