Weekend 8 saw me trying to forget my worries and enjoy the activities I was doing.
On Thursday, we took the Preps to the Melbourne zoo. It’s a long day for kids and it was fairly warm and sunny for only the first day of Spring. A few times, some of the kids said they were thirsty and we told them that we would stop the next time we got to a drinking fountain (they are fairly regularly interspersed throughout the zoo). They then continued whine to us that they were thirsty, over and over – as if we could magically produce a drinking fountain – even though there were elephants or gorillas to look at. Things aren’t always going to be perfect, or even easy, but it’s so easy to miss the good things in front of us (or satisfaction of achieving something) because we’re complaining about things we can’t change anyway. This was what I tried to remember over the weekend.
I remembered while I was having breakfast. I remembered most of the time I was rushing around doing shopping. I remembered while I was relaxing. It didn’t make as powerful a difference as I’d thought, but it was nice to stop and remind myself how yummy food was, how lovely it was to be out in the sun, or how luxurious is was to be able to lie back and watch television. I remembered while trying to study, but was grossly defeated. Study was not fun. Study was not rewarding. Study was boring and I didn’t want to do it and knowing how much I wanted to finish the year with good marks or how interesting I find Psychology generally did not help the fact that the reading I had to do for my essay was painful.
On the plus side, trying to drop expectations meant that I hadn’t really expected to be very productive with study anyway…!
I didn’t find either adding enjoyment or dropping expectations very potent. Obviously, they both tie in with the whole idea of mindfulness and I suppose in some ways I kept forgetting to be mindful and didn’t really put a lot of effort in when I did remember. However, I think I’d also hoped that by telling myself “Oooh, this is fun!” I would somehow suddenly believe it and begin to feel enjoyment, or by telling myself to not worry about things I would somehow just relax. Even knowing the power of our own thoughts to change our feelings and behaviour, that all seems rather unrealistic in retrospect.