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05 November 2007

Every Day is Day One

Bw_72"Cultivating a generous spirit starts with mindfulness. Mindfulness, simply stated, means paying attention to what is actually happening; it's about what is really going on." - Nell Newman

It came to me about two miles into my walk on treadmill #4 at the YWCA on French Broad Avenue today. As I watched people in varying degrees of undress walk back and forth from cars to the Y through two panes of glass, I realized Something Big, Something Extraordinary, Something Life Altering, Something That Oddly Made Me Hungry for a Black and White Cookie from Staten Island.

It isn't that I'm on Day 8 of Day 1 of this challenge not to complain or whine or gossip or gripe, though I am. That's defeatist--that makes me feel like I'm failing, and feeling like I'm failing makes me want to whine even more (not fair! not fair!), an infinite regress of The Whinester. Plus, I'd like to differ with some of the assessments of My Family about Whether or Not I'm Whining, but perhaps that would be seen as Complaining. I ask you--is using the word "evil" to describe someone a complaint, a whine, or a gossip, when it is certifiably true? I think not.

But honestly, I have come to realize that when I have to preface my sentence with the phrase, "I'm not complaining, but..." it's pretty certain that I'm back to Square One.

All that failing has come to a screeching halt. At 3.8 miles per hour and an incline of 8 at 2:11pm today, I realized that Every Day is Day One.

Every single, stinkin' day.

Each one.

Today. Tomorrow. The next day. January 13. March 25. All of 'em. Not as punishment or failure, but as gift.

Day One, Day One, Day One.

And that, my friends, is how it feels to be mindful. Not mindful on days ending in "day" on which it rains more than 2/10 of an inch, or days that are cloudless, or days on which the Pope makes a pronouncement, or days on which Billy Collins writes a new poem (you thought I had forgotten him, didn't you?), but Every Single Day.

As Michelle Burford has said, "Mindfulness can be summed up in two words: pay attention. Once you notice what you're doing, you have the power to change it."  Not as punishment or failure, but as gift.

Blackwhite2I really should work out more often. These insights come from sweat and that slightly light-headed feeling that comes from a combination of exertion and hubris at actually making it to the gym, the kind of working out that makes you want to jump off the treadmill, stop clinking cartoon-large weights together over your head, certainly stop doing walking lunges with a twist while hauling a 25 pound medicine ball (okay, a 4 pound medicine ball), and go straight out and eat a black and white cookie from Alfonso's Pastry Shoppe on Victory Boulevard in Staten Island. I dream about those cookies, but I'm not complaining that I don't have any, and I digress.

I'm just sayin.'

Every day, a new day, new possibilities, new mindfulness. Not failure, but gift.

[image of Seinfeld and black and white cookie from here]


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Personally, I think that an incline of 8 entitles you to all the cookies you want.

Ooooh! I love it! I joined 4 days ago and the longest I've gone so far is 5 hours and what a blissful 5 they were!!! I agree, Day 1 is SUCH a gift! Im thoroughly enjoying it and seeing a tremendous amount of humour in listening to myself! And finding NVC to be a very powerful tool for being able to state how I'm feeling without it being whining/gossip or complaining.
I'm always reading you, Patti, even when I don't stop to let you know! Yours is my all-time favourite/most inspiring blog. Thank you for all the goodness you write! Can't wait for the book!!! xo

Great Post! Thanks for inspiring me. I really enjoy the content of your blog.

Love & Gratitude,
Think Simple. Be Decisive.
~ Productivity, Motivation & Happiness

As I commented to another challenge participant yesterday, I'm genuinely enjoying the 'setbacks'...because they're rife with learning moments. I find myself wondering if (the good lord willing...and by lord I mean my ego) I ever make it to Day 37...then what?! I secretly think the reason I haven't been depressed about starting over several times is that the day one experience is so potent.

all I can think to say is thank you for this post.

"Every day, a new day, new possibilities, new mindfulness. Not failure, but gift."

along those lines, i have recently come across "". their tag line is "because there's no such thing as not enough time". it's a whole website (and they send out ideas daily via email if you subscribe) of all kinds of things you can do in 5 minutes or less that will make a positive impact in our world. talk about empowering - i love it!

I can totally relate to your statement: "I'd like to differ with some of the assessments of My Family about Whether or Not I'm Whining, but perhaps that would be seen as Complaining." I find that sometimes I have to tell the story of something that has happened, and then try to find the positive -- for instance, my car overheating yesterday after spending all day Saturday at the car doctor: At least it didn't explode while I was driving the little one to the baby doctor.

I started doing something a few days ago and have done it each morning since: when I wake up in the morning, before I get out of bed, I simply say, out loud, "Hey! Thanks!"

It's both an expression of mild surprise that it is possible to return to being myself one more day, and one of gratitude at the same time that I get one more day.

We'll see what I say when I run into one of those mornings when pulling the covers over my head seems like the most I have to offer the world: blessing the world by not interacting for one day!

Today, Day Nine, is my first attempt at Day Two. So far, so good!

Insightful message, Patti!

I do something similar to what Sally does when I can remember. But what I say I got from your daughter: "Hi, Worldie!"

Now gotta go check out

Thanks for this. You have a great outlook. On the days when I am sore, stiff and it hurts to move, I shall try to think of each day as a gift and find something positive in it.

Shula - your note really made me laugh!

Mary-Sue - your message so cheered me - thank you for your very kind words. What is NVC? (Perhaps it is obvious what it is and I just need another cup of coffee...)

Tina - thanks so much for taking the time to write!

Marilyn - as Madame Curie has said, "dissymetry causes phenomenon." We have to be knocked off balance to learn. And that learning is, as you've said, the most potent...

Dandelionseeds - and thank you for your note. I love your name.

Lori - what a great resource - many thanks!!

Sally - your "reframing" really made me laugh. It's amazing to do, though, and really shifts energy, mood, intention, direction...thanks for this example!!

Rick - I love this. Thanks so much for sharing it!

Kikipotamus the Hobo - You really made me smile by using Tess' universal greeting to the universe!

Judy - I appreciate your note so much - just so you don't think I'm always positive, I grumble like a Champion, which is why this challenge is so important to me, too!

Those cookies look yummy! Too bad there's no Alfonso's around here. Not that I'm complaining or anything. ;)

It's great that you are working out . . .keep up the healthy lifestyle! I appreciate the new sense of awareness you've given me. The best we can do is just keep trying. 30 days makes it a habit, right? This is a lot harder than I thought!

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