To often we think about yesterday or tomorrow but fail to exist in the present moment. Every day we have an opportunity to make this day a good day but other thoughts crowd the positive thoughts barring the opportunity to make this moment a quality one.
A few weeks back my phone was bombarded with text messages from a lovely friend, will call her Maxi, who’d returned from a vacation she fantasized months on end. All she talked about was how she couldn’t wait to get away and be with her friends.
And now she’s back and miserable.
Every text from Maxi permeated my inbox with negative jargon. She regretted doing this or saying that or eating this or eating that—to the point that her entire trip was ruined.
I’m reminded of a favorite Robert Collier quote, Riches Within Your Reach:
Take the first step, and your mind
will mobilize all its forces to your aid.
But the first essential is that you begin.
Once the battle is startled, all that is within and without you
will come to your assistance.
Every day is a new opportunity to make it a good day no matter what happened yesterday, last week or last year or a lifetime ago. Every day is a good day no matter where you are: London, Italy, France, Tennessee, or at home for a long weekend.
This isn’t to say you won’t have a bad day for surely you will but every day of life is an opportunity for change. We’ve all had those days where we wish the day wasn’t but do we really wish this? No, we wish we felt better or that our day was unfolding in a way that was more doable.
Perhaps it’s tomorrow, or more specific the uneasiness of the unknown, you may dread, but it’s not here so it’s not real. All we have is today, or more on point this moment. We have now. And you have the opportunity to make now your very best.
Take the first step, and your mind will mobilize all its forces to your aid. Ah, but you might say, how can I take the first step when I’m so tired, when my mind is bogged down with the weight of life.
Maxi had just gotten back from a lovely vacation to Southern California where she spent time with her two best childhood friends. She’d talked and dreamed of this trip for months, but when she got there she was filled with anxiety and dread. Angst over what they were going to do. Apprehension if she’d have enough to eat? Concern if she’d eat too much. Fear if her clothes wouldn’t fit. Consternation of not having energy to keep up with the girlfriends, or if she’d need naps and not be able to get it in.
Maxi was gripped in fear, yet she’d been planning and dreaming about this trip for months. Everything Maxi despaired came into fruition. She had a miserable trip. Why? Well, perhaps Maxi didn’t take the first step; hence, her mind was unable to mobilize all it’s forces to her aid.
You see the first essential is that you begin. Maxi didn’t begin. She believed in her negative self-talk that gripped her so tight that this incessant worry became her experience. She had “old talk” murmur that she’d been carrying around her entire life. This internal talk about her body and presentation drove her self-doubt. And spending time with childhood friends in an area she grew up only strengthened her doom and gloom.
Once the battle is startled, all that is within and without you will come to your assistance. But if it’s never startled, or if it’s startled with the wrong message then what will come to her assistance, only negative talk of shame, blame, and judging of herself.
Society reinforces that we are what we look like. There are certain standard expectations put in front of us day in and day out. So on this lovely trip rather than working with the mantra: Every day is a good day, Maxi was working with the internal dialogue of Every day I’m not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough all of which clouded her good day approach.
And to make matters worse, Maxi’s two girlfriends were that “perfect picture” society sets that most cannot attain. And Maxi couldn’t move past that. She couldn’t know herself beyond her body. The body is a wonderful vehicle to who you are but it’s not all of who you are and Maxi wasn’t getting that. She believed if she were thin she’d be happy. If she were thin she would not be judged. If she were thin she would be lovable.
So, on this lovely weekend a barrage of texts populated my phone from Maxi who recently returned home from her “dream vacation.” She was now home and miserable reliving every moment of her trip from her view. Maxi thought about this trip for months on end imagining how great it would be to get away from the office and hang with two best friends from childhood, but she couldn’t get past that she was beyond her body only wishing to be home working where she felt useful and productive. But the truth of the matter is while she was at work she dreamed of being anywhere but there.
Maxi reminded me of a story I once heard in one of my college classes. The professor was speaking about this fellow who was at the office dreaming about spending time at the beach. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and imagined the sounds of the sea waves washing along the shoreline, the smell of sweet ocean air and seagulls singing to the beat of the day.
So obsessed with the idea of going to the ocean he kept a spiral sea conch on his desk to press against his ear to hear the ocean. Though he really was hearing the echo of the different sounds in his environment coming through the space in the shell it didn’t stop him from imagining the roar of the waves rolling onto the shore.
And then to make his ocean wish a reality this very fellow finally set off to the beach to have that wonderful experience he visualized so often at the office. There he was sprawled out on the beach with his entire beach necessities, wanting for nothing and all he could think about was what he was missing at the office.
This is exactly what Maxi was doing, sort of. She was dreaming about this luxurious vacation and when she got there she was miserable. And now she’s home and guess what? She’s miserable. What’s going on here? Maxi missed the memo: Every Day is A Good Day! No matter where you go or who you are with you are going to bring yourself with you. IF you are miserable here you most likely will be miserable there. Maxi hated her body, her life, and who she was; hence, that’s what she brought with her to sunny California.
Maxi didn’t focus on the positive such as the ability to breathe, the heart to beat, the mind to think, harms to hug, and legs to carry her. No, she couldn’t see past her self; hence, missing out on the basic simple things in life we take for granted until they are no longer there.
Are you making every day a good day? Or are you dreaming about that vacation while you’re working. And then when you’re on vacation your thinking about what you are missing at home.
Stay tuned…you never know where my mind will wander…
I’d love to hear from you and know what you are thinking. Perhaps you can relate to Maxi. Or maybe you totally disagree and you have another way of looking every day as an opportunity, please reach out and share. We can all learn from you.
Hugs to you…I care.
Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.