Yesterday was a bad day. I don’t say this often. I consider myself a generally optimistic guy.
But yesterday sucked.
It started with a $135 speeding ticket on my way to work. I got pulled over for going 40 on a 25 miles zone. This was right in front on my destination. Literally, I was just a few feet away from the parking lot. I must’ve been spacing out because I did not the see cop at all. He got me and I only noticed him when he was flashing lights behind me.
It didn’t help the fact that I didn’t really needed to go to work. I chose to go in order to take care of something that could’ve easily waited. If I had stayed home I wouldn’t have gotten the damn ticket!
Can’t predict the future, I guess.
Once at work I got the news I may get a pay cut in September. I teach Culinary Arts. The college is experiencing a drop in enrollment, meaning that some classes I used to teach may not run at all.
News like this are never good to hear. You never want to hear that you are loosing your job or that your salary may be cut in half. These are life changing circumstances. And it certainly didn’t help to hear this immediately after receiving a $135 ticket.
I took care of whatever it was I needed to take care of and split. I came home and delivered the news to my wife. I knew it would upset her, but we had to deal with this together. It’s easier to deal with bad news when you share them.
I also called my mom. That’s a default when shit hits the fan.
I knew I had to recover from this day. I had a headache. Coffee and beer weren’t helping.
Then, I remembered it was Monday. I go to the dojo on Mondays. I was in pretty bad shape so I took a 20 minute nap to help with the headache and re-set my brain.
Once I got to the dojo, I put on my GI (uniform), walked on the mat, and everything changed.
I was not pissed anymore. I was not afraid, or angry, or frustrated.
I was happy.
The dojo is and always had been my happy place. The place where my true self comes out. Thanks to Aikido training I was able to go through my high school and college years.
After training I drove home and I felt relieved. All the anxiety, worry, and fear have all been swept away by an hour and half of rolling and tumbling on the mat.
It is without question that physical activity calms the mind.
This is not news for me, I’ve always known the effect the dojo has on me. I just forgot about it and was reminded of it today.
Other times when going to the dojo is not an option for whatever reason, brushing calligraphy have had a similar effect on my emotions. All of a sudden, nothing really matters but the paper in front of me, the brush, and the ink. After spending an hour or two brushing, my mind is rejuvenated. Maybe this why Shodo is considered a meditative practice. It transforms you through the process.
Next time you feel spiraling out of control, or you get a bunch of bad news dumped on you, try doing a physical activity at the end of the day.
It truly is the only the way to end a bad day on a good note.