How I'm Learning Good Behaviour over Default Bad Behaviour
I can't believe I just fell asleep again. It's 11:07 and I'm just sitting at my desk. But instead of being frustrated about it, I'm finding a way of being grateful. It was a refreshing extra hour and I had a lovely dream about being back in Luxembourg with the family. And there's the fact that I can do that without any real consequences.
Gratitude is something I'm trying to work into my life more as a means of becoming a more wholesome person.
Here's an incident from the weekend just passed where I failed at practising gratitude and that I've been reflecting on.
We had planned a birthday weekend trip to the mainland to celebrate my 50th with my family. As with any trip, that meant relying on CalMac ferries to get us there.
First hurdle: no availability. Ugh. For some reason, CalMac always switches to the winter timetable before the October half-term is finished. That means the number of crossings is cut in half.
Sometimes you can manage to sneak a booking through if you get the right person on the phone at the local office. My wife made a call a couple of days before and got that very person. Dropping my name and mentioning my birthday was enough to secure us a crossing for Saturday. Yay!
It was windy. Oh oh. The boat was on amber alert, meaning it was liable to cancellations at short notice. We were sitting in the car in the queue waiting to board when we heard the chimes. My heart sank.
Bing bong. Attention all passengers; the 13:55 sailing to Ardrossan is now ...
... sailing to Gourock!
We were so sure it was going to be cancelled! Gourock is the port of refuge and I can't even remember the last time they did this, rather than just cancelling. What luck!
The boat left late and the crossing to Gourock is two hours instead of one. Timings were now tight for our dinner reservation and the following cinema booking.
This is where my ego started to run the show.
Rather than experiencing the gratitude that I obviously should have had, here's what happened.
We were the last row of cars to be directed off the ferry, meaning we were going into a long line of traffic. There was roadworks and temporary traffic lights. I started getting stressed. And it spiralled into a negative feedback loop. I was aware that it wasn't helping, I could see what was happening. I was not in the moment; I was already way ahead, having made our dinner reservation late and missed the movie. The whole weekend in my head was already ruined. It's insanity.
This is exactly the kind of behaviour that I wish to let go. It's very harmful and damages my sobriety in quite a big way, not to mention affecting the people around me, too - in this case my wife.
And so now I reflect.
Someone asked me in a Zoom call yesterday for August Bradley's Notion Life Design course how I differentiate between guiding principles and identity sculpting. This is an excellent example of where identity sculpting practice can help; using meditation and mindfulness to come back to the present moment in times like these; finding a mantra or a quotation to help to take the power away from the ego and come back to the centre. Something exactly like this:
Instead, I chose to practice the bad behaviour and let it grow as a negative feedback loop.
I'm grateful that I have the awareness and can reflect on these situations. This A.A. Milne quote is something I should have pinned on my wall and in my car, but eventually I should be able to find that centre in any situation and come at life from a place of love. That's my goal.
Hit reply and let me know if this resonates. I love hearing back from my readers and I'd like to thank everyone who replied to my Big Birthday one last week to wish me well. My readers are the best!
Big Birthday Video
If you'd like to watch my Big Birthday video that went out last week, you can do that here. It's a little self-indulgent, but hopefully helpful too. It's a candid review of my life so far from the perspective of alcoholism and recovery and finishes on a positive note for the future.
Have a great week everyone!