I suppose weekend two’s challenge was ultimately not a success.
For each thing I drop and add, I measure success according to the value each activity (dropping or adding) adds to my life and also how well I was able to implement it (and therefore incorporate it into my life more permanently). For last weekend, I clearly failed on implementation.
I made an effort, for the first half of Saturday, to make decisions mindfully. It was interesting how often I found myself happily choosing to do something that I would otherwise have put off. It wasn’t because I reflected and then found that I should be doing a certain task and so forced myself to do it. There was something about calmly and non-judgmentally thinking about how I felt, what I would like to do and what outcome would make me happiest that made it easy to choose first those small tasks that I put off rather than get out of the way and subsequently choose to do some more relaxing or indulgent things. It also helped me to reach for an apple rather than a biscuit, for instance. However, I had my international guests staying with us on Saturday night and friends and family around on Sunday and it wasn’t until late Sunday evening that I realised I’d been rushing around like a headless chook and hadn’t remembered my mindful choices at all. And I really noticed the difference. I hadn’t felt grounded, I’d just felt as if I was moving from one thing to the next (cooking or socialising with this person and then that person or helping with my little nephew) without mentally pausing. And, perhaps most importantly, I realised this is exactly the situation when I most need to pause and think mindfully. It’s not that I wasn’t enjoying myself, because I was in wonderful company, but I wasn’t relaxed, and that was because of my own mindset and not because of anyone around me.
Ironically, partway through Saturday morning when I realised that I had forgotten to drop negative thoughts, my first reaction was to chide myself for it. Which, of course, meant I immediately had to implement my drop one challenge! I noticed a few things about dropping negative thoughts. The first is how there can be a quiet, constant undercurrent of them that I’m not quite conscious of but make leave me with a sense that I am not doing well enough in whatever I’m doing (for instance, I was constantly just a little awkward at the feeling that I wasn’t doing the right thing as a host for my guests). I noticed how they snuck up on me, so that it was difficult to completely drop negative thoughts immediately. I noticed that the only way I could get rid of a negative thought was by replacing it with a positive one. Sometimes this was a counter-affirmation (for instance, noting that all my guests were smiling genuinely and entertaining each other, so there was every reason to assume things were going well) and sometimes this was a more forgiving thought (such as acknowledging that I’d been very busy and had little sleep for the whole week previous and therefore allowing myself to have some unproductive rest time).
Of course, by Saturday evening I’d completely forgotten about the DO/AO anyway, so all sorts of negative thoughts and feelings spiralled around beneath the surface and popped into my brain fairly frequently. And once again, I have arealised that situations where I’m busy and constantly engaged are when I most need to be able pause and ensure my thoughts are at worst realistic and at best very positive, because it’s times like that when I don’t have the lesiure to develop the habit of catching my negative thoughts and replacing them.
So, both ideas seem to have strong value in my life, but neither were easy to develop into a habit because I couldn’t even remember about them! I think for now I will stay content with having made myself a little more aware of these things, which will hopefully help sometimes. I will perhaps try again more concertedly to develop these into a habit at a later stage…perhaps with visual cues…