Day #33: Choices, Meaning and Progress
Mind: Did the choices you made today reflect the best of you?
Mind: Did you achieve meaningful progress today?
Adrian: Not really. Yeah, not super satisfied with my Monday.
Mind: Did you feel like your Monday happened to you - that there was little opportunity for choice?
Adrian: Yeah, a bit.
Mind: Is that question a cop out?
Adrian: Yeah, it is...
Mind: Ok then, if you could choose to do one thing tonight that would be you at your best, what would that be?
Adrian: Quality time with Ayla before she goes to sleep.
Mind: Right, you're going to have to be more specific. What will 'quality time' look like?
Adrian: I'm going to be really attentive, comforting, and calm. So that's the state I will be mindful to cultivate and share with her after dinner.
Mind: Alright, I still think you could be more specific. But, rather than try to plan it all out, take that intention forward. Let's face it, you can plan and then all hell can break loose if things don't go to plan. Be mindful of the state you intend and - good luck!
One more thing. What is likely to get in the way of your intention? Is there anything you should be prepared for now?
Adrian: Well, bath time might get a little rowdy. But, now that Ayla's feeling better, I'm cool to roll with the bathtime fun if that's the mood she's in.
Mind: Anything else?
Adrian: Well, I had one of those days. I didn't feel super productive. I had massive expectations going in, and tonight I feel a little underwhelmed by what I managed to get done.
Mind: You're beating around the bush Adrian, why does this matter here?
Adrian: There's a chance I might get distracted from attending to Ayla by thoughts of what I could squeeze in to get a little more productivity out. Like, I might pick up my phone to do a little task or something...
Mind: Must I refresh your memory with an image of your face on princess Elsa's singing "Let it Go!"?
Adrian: Not necessary. I see the potential distraction, and with a little 'note to self', will let go of the impulse and maintain the course with my intention.
Mind: Alrighty - away you go. I've done about all I can do from here so i'll see you in there. Oh, and feel free to give us a reflective report once you come out the other side!
After bath time fun that got a little rowdy, on went the PJ's. We got warm and snuggly on the couch with a bottle of milk. Ayla was looking tired, so we moved to her nursery to brush her hair and listen to classical piano. I could feel the relaxation Ayla was enjoying with each stroke of the brush. We were both finding the music super calming too. She was still awake, but I could tell she would drift off to sleep soon.
It's at this point that I began thinking about what I would do when she was asleep. Quick as a flash, I thought about grabbing my phone to start ticking things off. I noticed the tempting thought like a little devil on my shoulder. "You could stay still in the cuddle whilst also doing a couple of things one-handed you know..."
Rather than fall into the temptation. Rather than getting frustrated that this sort of distracting thought pops into my head. I chose to notice the thought with self-compassion. I chose to allow the thought to be there, without acting on it. I chose to direct my attention back to the cuddle and the classical music Ayla and I were enjoying together. As it turns out, the cuddles were just what I needed too. The simple and calming effect of being still was what I needed to practice. The intention to be attentive, comforting, and calm for Ayla turned out to be the state I needed too. Noticing that distractions can get in the way of that, but being clear on my intention going in, really helped me meet the trap with mindful awareness, acceptance, and agility.
Mind: So, let me ask you again. Did you achieve meaningful progress today?
Adrian: Sure did. Thanks for the insight.
Mind: Don't mention it. Seriously, your mindful choices got you where you are. So, let me leave you to enjoy the evening with this message.
It is not our abilities that show us who we are, but our choices (Albus Dumbledore)
And if you're wondering whether I sometimes use Albus Dumbledore's voice as my inner dialogue, you'd be right. What, is that odd?