zen habits : breathe

Some Days, You Just Have Nothing

By Leo Babauta

Yesterday wasn’t a great day for me.

I woke up late after too little sleep. Someone I love is mad at me, and doesn’t seem to want to talk to me, which put me in a down mood. I couldn’t get focused to do any writing, so I answered emails, read stuff online, took a nap. My kids weren’t around to cuddle with me.

I did a workout, but couldn’t finish it because my wrist hurt. I rode my bike to the grocery store on a warm summer evening, which was nice. I cooked a healthy dinner for myself. Had a strong beer.

Then I made the mistake of reading some comments on a blog post that was critical of me. The blog post was mildly critical, but the comments piled on top of each other, talking about how hypocritical I am, how repetitious my writing has become … with each negative comment, I could feel my heart drop lower and lower.

It wasn’t a great day, and my mood descended as I thought about how badly so many people thought of me …

Some days, you don’t have anything. Some days, you don’t knock it out of the park.

On a day like this, I sat still. It was all I could do.

I looked inward, and faced the hurt.

I stayed with it, just giving it my attention.

I noticed the story I was telling myself, that was causing the pain. It wasn’t a good story. The more I got stuck telling myself this story, the more I was stuck in the pain.

So I turned to the present moment, and allowed myself to feel the pain, instead of running from it, pushing it away, or trying to do something to end it.

It wasn’t so bad. And it didn’t stay around much longer, now that I allowed myself to sit with the hurt.

I also realized that this “Leo” that those people were criticizing … doesn’t exist. It’s just an image they’ve created in their heads, not really me. And this “Leo” that I have in my head — a Leo who is a good person, who tries his best — this is also just something I’ve created in my head. In the middle of all of this seeming solidness, there’s nothing. Just a fluid present moment.

After turning and facing my feelings, staying with them, and seeing the nothingness in the middle of it all … everything was OK. Not brilliant, but not so bad.

Some days, you have nothing, but that’s OK.



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