This is the only photo I took during the day today. (And Mrs. Crappy won’t be happy to see this one.)
It wasn’t for a lack of opportunities. On the surface, this was an amazing day, mostly because Mrs. Crappy had a rare Sunday off and I was able to spend the entire day with her: outdoor yoga, outdoor lunch, pool time and a party on the Mon Wharf with friends, cold beer and a few of our favorite food trucks.
But life is rarely that simple, right?
I know I’m not the only person who got really angry yesterday as I took in everything that happened in Virginia (I’m confident that I’m not betraying any standards of journalism ethics when I say I find white supremacists of any variety abhorrent). And although Mrs. Crappy and I had a terrific night by a backyard campfire last night, I woke up under the same dark clouds I allowed to build the day before.
And when I let those clouds to gather, they tend to hang around. I can’t say my shitty mood this morning was responsible for everything that happened today, but I think it’s probably tough to separate all of these things from the negative energy I was oozing this morning:
- Charlie knocking over a giant cup of cold brew coffee — full of sticky half and half — on the living room floor.
- Noticing a mouse that seemed to be in distress lying in our driveway.
- Noticing that the mouse had died in the same spot by the time we returned.
- Sort of losing my wallet as we tried to depart for the pool.
- Mrs. Crappy getting stung on the toe by a bee as we walked back to our umbrella after our first dip in the pool.
Was any of this a direct consequence of my shitty mood this morning? No. But:
Ashley, one of my two favorite yoga teachers, has been touching on the four yamas in the last month; they’re at the start of Patanjali’s eight limbs of the broader Yoga, and they serve as a guide for ethical conduct for those following the yogic path. The fourth yama is Brahmacharya, literally, behavior that leads to Brahman, or the highest divinity. Patanjali’s definition of Brahmacharya is pretty narrow and pretty specific to his time: Celibacy.
Yes, that’s since been reinterpreted. Ashley has talked about tailoring our actions towards the divine — definitely a goal worth pursuing. But an interpretation that is perhaps more accessible is this: The right use of energy.
And wow, that goes a long way towards explaining how today unfolded. I am a news guy; I was that way before I chose this as a profession. I’ll never be able to step away completely from what I see, read and cover — it’s part of who I am, and it always will be. And this weekend was tough. I’m a veteran and I think I’m pretty patriotic … and seeing this garbage happen in my country is deeply offensive, to the point where it feels like a physical wound.
But here’s the thing: it feels that way because I let it feel that way. When something like this happens — and, I’m afraid, it’s going to happen a lot in the next couple years — I’m always going to feel the way I felt this weekend, at least initially. After that impulse, though, I can control my reaction … and I didn’t do that today.
Not at first, anyway. When Kelly got stung, she shouted — and that sort of snapped me out of all of the other crap that had been cluttering my brain all day. We got her some ice (thanks to the kids at the Avonworth pool for their help) and pretty quickly she felt better enough to take a nap in the warm, late afternoon sun.
I knew later that my mental clouds had passed, when I realized that I had to walk back to my car to grab my regular glasses that I forgot to bring to the wharf party. If I’m in a bad mood, that’s the kind of dumb little thing that can spoil a day for me; this afternoon, it did not. I recognized that I was in a cool space, among friends, and the walk back to the parking garage was insignificant.
I need to find that more, because that’s the right use of energy.
I’m now at home. I’ve had a stunning bottle of beer.
I’ve hung out a bit with my cat.
And, thankfully, I didn’t let at shitty start to the day — and all of the weirdness that followed — get in the way of a great Sunday.