The Road to Work is Paved with Good Intentions

This morning I did the mindfulness practice of RAIN, a mnemonic discussed by Michelle McDonald and Tara Brach, which I learned with my mindfulness instructor Yael Shy. It is used to help someone be present with their emotions.

It stands for:

R: Recognize

A: Allow

I: Investigate with Kindness

N: Non-Attachment/Nurture

Recognize is to name the emotion. Allow is to non-judgmentally observe it being present. Investigate is to identify the physical sensations associated with the emotion; to sit with and inquire about it. Non-attachment is to not over-identify with it: The emotion is in us, but it is not who we are. And Tara Brach’s Nurture version would be, “What do I need now to help with this difficult emotion?”

From practicing this morning, I sat with my anger for leaving my home later than usual today and having to rush to work. It helped the anger dissipate just to acknowledge it, instead of pushing it down and away like I often do.

Then a bit later I realized that I was really set up for failure. Because my very desire to succeed by getting to work early to set up the greeting area coffee, is what led me to rush during my commute.

My intentions of being a reliable employee, fueled (pun intended) my rushed commute.

And so, in the spirit of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a mindfulness-based therapy by Marsha Linehan, you can see the dialectic: the desire to succeed and do right at work AND the decision to rush and have a stressful commute.

All this inquiry made me feel a little less cruddy about myself.

And of course, there’s the planning for next time of how to rush less and live with more ease.

Happier Times: Flyin’ High on Stone Mountain

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