There is a part of me that finds life decidedly difficult at times.
Last weekend I went to an animal sanctuary out in the countryside with my family. It was very hot, Madrid in an unseasonably hot June type of hot.
I didn’t have a sun hat, and didn’t want to put suncream on as the water in our building was shut off for emergency repairs, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to wash it off that night.
“How annoying!” I thought. And for the first 20 minutes I was wondering how tricky it was all going to be, trying to enjoy a relaxed morning at the animal sanctuary, whilst rushing through the sunny bits to stop and hide under the patches of shade.
Just as this sun/shade/heat dilemma was beginning to become the sole focus of the day, I stopped, smiled to myself, and thought:
“Hello Mr Awkward! How are you my old friend?”
Because I realised that the awkward part of me that finds life decidedly difficult at times, had popped up again, and was planning on taking over the day.
Noticing this familiar old reaction and saying “Hello!” like this has an extraordinary effect. I get to smile at that side of me, greet him as the old friend he is, and almost immediately I’m left in peace to get on with enjoying wherever I am again.
Sometimes this side of me appears in restaurants if I don’t get to sit where I’d hoped to. Sometimes I find myself worrying too much about the comfort of others – like when helping organise mindfulness workshops recently, and being completely overly-concerned for the first half hour of one talk that no-one at the back could hear the speakers properly. Even though I was further back than anyone else and could hear fine!
On occasions like this, as soon as I see my ‘this is all a bit difficult‘ reaction crop up again, I smile, say “Hello Mr Awkward! How are you my old friend?” and he evaporates into the mist!
I get to let go of any worries and difficulties, realise they were all in my mind, and really enjoy the present moment again.
As for the day at the animal sanctuary, as soon as I’d seen what was going on, and said “Hello!” to that part of me I know so well, I totally relaxed.
I tried not to spend too long in the scorching sun, and moved when it was convenient between frequent patches of shade beneath the trees, but in a calm, unconcerned way. And I really enjoyed these moments of peace alone in the shade, aware of the people, animals and nature around me, while I waited for the rest of the family to catch up again.