Bad Day or Renewal Opportunity?

All of us have bad days now and then. Some people have bad hair days and some have bad ADHD days. I’m best at preventing ADHD-related problems when I wake up each day and say to myself, “Today I have ADHD.” I didn’t do that last Monday, nor did I meditate in the morning. I’ve been off my game lately, and I blame it on my new puppy. It’s easy, and he doesn’t deny responsibility. 

Last week, I agreed to meet with someone who is starting a new support group for parents of ADHD kids. I was eager to help, and this mom is doing all the right things. I added the meeting to my schedule, but sadly, not immediately following our phone chat. I entered her name and “Starbucks” into my calendar. I vaguely recall discussing which of two Starbucks would be most convenient, both being about halfway between us. 

I crated my puppy at 8:45 a.m. on Monday and drove to Starbucks, pleased to be arriving on time at 9:05 a.m. for a nine o’clock meeting. I carried a copy of my book so Lisa could identify me. I saw only two women sitting alone, each of whom replied, “No, sorry. I’m not Lisa.” I asked an employee if he had recently served coffee to someone named Lisa. No he hadn’t.

Okay, I must have gone to the wrong Starbucks. The other was just five minutes away. Now I’m fifteen minutes late. Same story: “No, sorry. I’m not Lisa” and “No, I don’t recall serving anyone named Lisa.”

It took me ten minutes to find her phone number. At 9:30 I left a message of apology for my mistake. I told her voicemail box that I first went to the wrong Starbucks, which made me late to the correct one. I’m so sorry for inconveniencing you, I said.

An hour later, I received a return call from Lisa, gracious to say that maybe she was mistaken, but I doubted that. She doesn’t have ADHD. Turns out I was 48 hours early. We had scheduled the meeting for Wednesday, she said, and at the first Starbucks I had driven to.

I drove back home and took my pup to the park, then let him ride with me back to the wrong Starbucks where I had left my Red Sox cap. I’d called ahead, and yes, they had it. By the time I arrived home, Wilson was carsick and threw up on the passenger seat, adding another unplanned task to my growing list. I could hear the voice of an old Zen teacher: “Life’s like that sometimes.” 

Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin told his team last week, after Duke had pounded them in the first game of their series 18-5, “It’s just a loss…that’s all.” Vandy went on to beat Duke easily the next two games to continue their run in the college world series. My “bad day” last week was just one loss…one day…that’s all. 

This morning, like every morning, I have ADHD. I often tell my clients, “If you have ADHD, act like you know it!” I have vowed to resume doing that!  

So, I chose a guided meditation on my Insight Timer app yesterday morning, and began sitting quietly on my back porch. Just as I began, I heard lawnmowers coming around the corner of my house. Of course, it’s 7 a.m. on Monday! I had a choice in that moment: Radical acceptance or pushing back and attaching to my to rising frustration. I said to myself something a wise teacher once said to me, “Now you have something to work with.”

Mother Teresa said something like this: “If you want to learn to meditate, don’t go to a mountaintop in India, go to New York City.” In other words, practice mindfulness right where you are, in the middle of a mess. 

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