Today was a good day.
Now, I’ve had good days before. Any of you who have been with me from the beginning will know about my good days. Days when I’ve been flying high, words spilling out – fabulous, creative, ingenious, award winning words. Days when I’ve believed that I was on the roll of a lifetime that would last forever. “Is it a bird, is it a plane,” I would hear you cry, “begads no! It’s Deborah, the greatest writer in the world!” Invariably I would fly too close to the sun, too fast and too quick, then burn the feck out of my wings and come crashing to the ground with all the flair and finesse of a constipated gnat. Hot on the tails of days like this would come silence … no blog, no writing, no inspiration. You wouldn’t hear from me for weeks, even months, and when you did I’d meekly reappear, red faced and humble, apologising for dropping off the planet and floating through space into nothingness (I do love the drama now don’t I?!). Then low and behold I’d be back on a high again all positivity and rainbows. And so it went – an unmanned steam train that was running on ten year old whiskey and lsd (the train – not me! I swear!), with no tracks and no destination, randomly managing to stop at a station or two along the way.
Over a year ago now, I began to write this novel properly. I began to take it seriously, realising that this was the dream, that being a writer was what I wanted to be. And over the past year I have written, but somewhere along the way I lost track of the journey and could only see the end game. I knew that I needed to finish the book, knew that I wanted it to be published and for it, and me, to be a success and that is where all my focus was directed. It was all about the end result, the future. The writing became a chore in many ways, something I just had to get done so that I could get what I wanted and be happy. And therein lies the problem. I was struggling and I kept doing the same things day in, day out, convinced that this had to be hard – isn’t all success gained through hardship and struggle? Once I got the book done and got the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow, then I would be happy and all the blood sweat and tears would have been worth it.
Recently I have made a change. I have been dipping my toes into mindfulness and meditation. The ever-present hippie hiding in me (masking herself with sensible shoes and nicely cut jeans) has begun to re-emerge. I have always been interested in the power of mindfulness, but have been slow to start wholeheartedly chanting the mantras, and fully giving myself to it, for fear that I would be seen as a complete and utter knob! (There is no other word in the English language to describe it – and I’m a writer so you’ll just have to take my word for it!). Now, after a session of NLP, a full days mindfulness workshop, a plethora of self help books (You Too Can Shit Rainbows being one of my favourites) and a decision to bring mindfulness into my everyday, I can officially announce that I am a proud and loud knob! For God’s sake even Winnie the Pooh was a knob and we all know how cool Winnie the Pooh is (if you don’t know how cool Pooh Bear is, then I’m afraid we can no longer be friends) – remember the bit “What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today,”squeaked Piglet. “My favourite day.” said Pooh.” I have begun to switch my focus to the now, to this moment. To try to appreciate what I have and where I am right now. I chose to write this book because I feckin love writing. And I lost that love along the way, lost sight of the amazing, wonderful, journey that I am taking. I don’t want to look back on these days and not remember them. I want to remember them in detail. I want to remember every feeling, every word, every breath. And it’s not just in terms of writing. I want to be in the present for my family, my friends, my kids. I want to sit and talk and really listen. I want to hear the world around me and be grateful for every morning that I wake up and that I am alive.
So today was different. Today I made the choice to have a good day. I didn’t wait for the inspiration to come, or for everything to be just right so I could do my thing. I didn’t do every job and task under the sun (which could often include taking a toothbrush to the lawnmower because of course I couldn’t have himself mowing the lawn and the mower all dirty now could I? I mean what would the neighbours think?). I wasn’t fifty steps ahead of myself in my head, already on the run to ballet and making the dinner before the camogie drop off. I was present in my life today and I was happy. I took some time last night to sit down and plan. I planned what exactly I needed to do and when, in order to achieve what I am aiming for. But I also made time to have a proper lunch with my littlest person, to sit and have a cuppa with my neighbour, to go for a walk, to meditate, to read the bedtime stories and tuck the blankets in. I do these things every day, but I am often on autopilot and not really there. Don’t get me wrong, I slipped into autopilot at least three thousand times today, but now that I am aware of it, I can take a moment and bring myself back. The more I practice, the more I gently and kindly bring my brain back from the never ending wandering it likes to do, the better I will become at it.
And I am under no illusion that you will see me someday stuck in the rain, arms full of school bags and shopping, beside a car that won’t open, with hair like a wire brush, angrily cursing and muttering to myself – and you will think “Jesus, I thought she was all mindful and zen like”. But don’t worry my little petals, once I get inside the car and take a few breaths I will be like the great Dalai Lama himself. I’m not perfect and I’m not going to get it right all of the time. But I know that I am enough and I also know that you are enough. And that’s all that counts.