I spilled my G&T the other day. This was mildly disturbing on a number of fronts. One, I'd had a completely shitty day, and I was really looking forward to my little bit of R&R. Two, I really did not want to have to clear it all up. And three, it went all over my keyboard, and some of my work and, worst of all, over the two beautiful ceramic Christmas decorations that my sweet husband had bought in memory of our two angel babies. The ornaments were fine of course - I rinsed them and there was no harm done, but still - bugger.
And in that moment when I saw the glass tipping, I felt simultaneously frustrated ("Oh for fuck's sake") and somehow crestfallen ("Why me??" and "Why on those?"). In that moment.
When days are tough - did I mention I'd had a shitty day?? I really had had a shitty day! - it can be almost impossible to move on and get back to a more serene state of mind. I know this for sure, because I used to get terribly bogged down when small things didn't go as planned. On bad days, I was really not fun to have around. Actually, if I'm honest, I got bogged down with the small stuff even when I was having a good day - huffing and complaining about the tiniest of things, and probably trying to find someone to blame for them, even when it really made no difference whatsoever to the price of fish.
And the mere idea of planning, and holding these huge expectations of a particular outcome in a situation - or even just that the path to get there will take a certain direction - well, things almost never go exactly to plan, do they! So all those ideas of 'this will happen' or 'this will happen in this specific way' - well, I'm not sure how it took me nearly 40 years to figure that out that it never ever did, but there you go.
But over the course of this year, I had a massive shift - and I mean HUGE. One that has been tremendously helpful to me both in life in general, and in my parenting. And that shift was all about learning (slowly, and often rather painfully) to incorporate acceptance into my life.
Sound like a small thing? It isn't. Nor is it resigning myself to my fate when things go 'wrong'. It's just about finding a way to make peace with What Is, rather than fighting and railing against it. And from that place I can move forwards with a clear mind, rather than getting caught up in the 'shoulds' of every little one of life's hiccups, or holding onto the difficult feelings the situation has generated for me.
How did I get to this place where I no longer spend hours, days, months fretting over every little thing? After all that was my life for so so many years. Well, there have been lots of things that have contributed, and the main thing over time was working to hold the idea of 'This is how it is' in my mind. I was helped in no small way by attending a Word of the Year workshop, by signing up to Michelle Holmes' free online 'challenges' (jump onto one of those if you ever get the chance!), reading (and reading, and reading, and reading - I love reading!) - for example looking into Byron Katie's work, and I also absolutely loved the Parent's Tao Te Ching for inspiration. And also using my Listening Partnerships to talk through areas where I found acceptance difficult, find the feelings that were coming up for me, and moving forwards to a more peaceful place in my responses to those situations.
And it has been life changing for me. Yes, I still have bad days, and yes, I still have lots more to learn. But to be able to, usually, take life's small knocks on the chin and say 'Ah well, that's how it is right now' - and even to find some gratitude for being sent those knocks on occasion, because of what they can teach me - has made my world so much more enjoyable to be in. For me, and for those around me!
And so my feelings on the occasion of the fateful spillage very quickly subsided from 'Raaaar' to 'Ah well - that's how it is then'. And the G&T? That was cleared up in moments, and a fresh one made. There were no lingering bad feelings to sour my enjoyment - and I managed to keep my drink in the glass until I was ready for it this time.
If you, too, are interested in finding a more peaceful and joyful space from which to live your life - keep an eye on the blog for more posts on this subject.