“Basically, I only really enjoy ten minutes of your class. Oh and the lying down bit at the end. So I guess that’s fifteen minutes tops. But the rest of it is pretty horrendous…”
Wowzers. I know it’s useful to have friends in your life who keep you ‘grounded’, but I don’t think the job description also includes “and give ego a good kicking”.
To be honest, Katharina (who said this to me) is one of my very bestest friends, and the comment was said in jest. Sort of. I think. Anyway – she wasn’t actually crying at the time so I think we’re fine.
But it did get me thinking.
On this basis, she (and I am pretty darn sure that she’s not the only one) finds only 15 minutes of my hour-long class pleasurable. Which is 25% of it. 25%! Not even half! Which means (even though I’m rubbish at maths I think I’ve got this…) 75% is uncomfortable, unpleasant, challenging, and just downright nasty.
When put like that, first of all I think that the girl deserves a medal for ever coming. But second, I realise that I know exactly what she means. I’d never thought to analyse it before, but my own practice is exactly the same. On a good day, I think I probably ‘enjoy’ maybe half of it at most.
And the same for when I go running. In fact that’s probably even less (to call what I do ‘running’ is an insult to the likes of Ms Radcliffe and Mr Coe – it’s more Shuffling With Purpose). Probably 20% is actually fun and those are the bits when I’m running down big hills or when I see a terrier wearing a bandana around its neck.
So then what about my days, weeks and months? How much of that am I really registering, and being present enough to enjoy? And I don’t mean forcing a rictus grin onto my face and bustling through telling everyone “I’m FINE”. I mean getting to the end of it and being able to think “blimey – there were bits of that which weren’t great, but you know what? There were some good bits too…”
Every night before I go to sleep I run through a list of all the things I’m grateful for. It’s a brilliant way to end the day, much more therapeutic than counting sheep, and makes me feel a bit smug because it’s probably something Oprah does. I lie there, being thankful for “friends, family, The Significant Other, the cat…” etc etc and whilst I am hugely grateful for each and every one of them, it can feel a bit like I’m on autopilot.
So maybe instead I should start thinking about the bits of my day that were good. Or at the very least not unpleasant. The bits that are the equivalent of Katharina’s 25%. I know I have them; sometimes I can get through a whole day without biting anyone on the Underground or pushing over any old ladies….
Once she’d stopped snarling, I asked Katharina why on earth she kept coming to my class. She knows me well enough to realise that allowing me to bend you is not a prerequisite for being in my life, and regardless of which I am very shallow and my friendship can be easily bought with good coffee and bad liquor. And vice versa. Anyway, she said it was because despite not enjoying the 75%, she always felt better at the end. There was some sort of satisfaction in not allowing the vast majority to get the better of her, and that made the fact that she had turned up for the good 25% all the more sweeter.
So I’m going to see if I can shift my bedtime musings away from my autopilot listing of things, and appreciate the stuff, events, and little interactions in my day that went well. Perhaps if I try really hard I can even be thankful for the 75% that wasn’t as much fun.
And then I’m going to get better friends.