Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Evening Page: A New View of Monday’s

This Monday I tried a different approach to the beginning of the week. I feel as though I had a break through after I had my mini-blow up after the honking experience. I feel as though it was a blessing in disguise because I don’t like blowing up; I don’t like losing my balance, and I took this as an opportunity to do some thinking and continued to evaluate my reactions in general when something bothers me.

Although my emotional loss of control wasn’t about work, it made me think of work for some reason. It made me think of the moments I do get frustrated or co-workers get frustrated and, for some reason, at that moment I wanted to get to the library to check out Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work: Simple Ways to Minimize Stress and Conflict While Bringing Out the Best in Yourself and Others by Richard Carlson.

The excerpt that has really made a difference is: 13. Join my New Club, “TGIT.” Some people are of the TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) club, counting the days before the end of the week arrives, while others are of the TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday) for those that look forward to Monday’s. People of the TGIT (Thank God It’s Today) club are “…happy seven days a week because they understand that every day is unique, and each brings with it different gifts. Members of this club are grateful to be alive; they rejoice in their many blessings and expect each day to be full of wonder, surprise, and opportunity” (pg. 40). Reading this provided me a refreshing way to approach all the days of the week. I felt a bounce to my step on Monday as I walked to work and an uncontrollable smile formed on my face as I passed the sun-drenched flowers and heard the birds chirping. I took this with me to the office, carried it through the day, and back home again.

Today in particular when I took a walking break, this one section of shrubs and plants looked especially green today. I felt almost as though I was seeing for the first time and my eyes were overjoyed with green.

Approaching the days with a TGIT framework doesn’t mean that I won’t still have moments of anger or sadness. It means that I don’t have to dread Monday’s because it’s the beginning of a workweek. It doesn’t even mean I have to focus on Friday because the weekend follows. It means each day can be special; each day an opportunity for learning, growth—fill in the blank.

Carlson closes this excerpt by saying, “Just think: If you wake up every day of the week with an attitude of, ‘I’m glad today is today. I’m going to make this day as positive and wonderful as I possibly can,’ you may be surprised at how much less stressed you’ll be. This simple shift of attitude goes a long way toward a more positive experience of life and work.”

I now have a post-it note at work taped to my computer screen with TGIT. I wrote the letters in block style with a blue felt pen and then for each letter I doodled a circle, star, and zigzag lines. I definitely feel a shift in my attitude toward work. It’s ebbed and flowed over the years and that’s why I appreciate coming back to simple reminders that don’t cost any money. Attitude is a large part of life, and I’m glad that Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… reminded me of that.


Vincent said...

There's an essence in what you say ...

I say that because each of us is different and would have different things to say to ourselves, and use different reminders to say them.

I have an aversion to self-help books and all that kind of thing, because I believe the right flow is from unconscious to conscious. The conscious part of me is crass and ignorant, needs to bow to the all-wise unconscious, within which God resides. So for the purposes of self-help I'd never tell myself to do something at all. However I would want to listen.

And I like the idea of treating each day, hour or minute as if it were my last, not that I know how it would change things if I knew it were, but just as a non-directive form of awareness - which of course I would forget 99.9% of the time, which is probably a good ratio.

But I imagine that if this were my last week, say, and I was up to date with any urgent handover tasks, I would still be commenting on your post like this, because it seems a good thing to do.

And I imagine that treating this day as precious because my time here is running out is not so different from TGIT in terms of awakening us to an awareness and appreciation.

So I like to think that you and I - and everyone else, though they may not be in a position to confirm it to us - can be part of this club together, joined in consciousness.

Rebb said...

Vincent, I am sometimes skeptical of self-help books and even as I wrote my reflections I realized this was essentially a self-help book, but that’s not how I viewed it at first. I feel that the self-help genre has gotten a bad rap and it is also quite saturated. But I take the nudging of good words from wherever I find them. The difference between telling ourselves and listening: I’m glad you point that out. That’s important to remember.

I’m glad you stopped by, had the time, and shared your thoughts. Your closing thoughts are perfect—all of us joined in consciousness. Yes.